Some days I want to be a ballerina. Other days a cowgirl. Or motivational speaker. Or astronaut.
And then one day I wanted to be a foster mom. It really is as simple as that. One day I’d never considered it; and the next day I was absolutely certain it’s what I wanted to be. Such is the way with “callings”, I suppose. First it isn’t. Then it just is.
I immediately emailed my husband in the middle of the workday with this declaration. This is a quirk of our blissfully successful marriage. I often write better than I talk, and this also saves the confusion of me trying to interpret his expressive eyebrows when first discussing important topics.
Several emails and a discussion or two later, we found ourselves doing online research.
Several weeks and a decision or two later, we found ourselves enrolled in a 10-week training course.
Several months, 33.75 hours of class time, five home studies, and a four-inch-thick stack of paperwork later, we found ourselves waiting for final approval of our foster license.
And that is where you find us, friends. A
perfectly relatively “normal” family of four, ready to take on a fifth for reasons that continue to baffle us, even as we know for sure that this is what we are meant to do. We have two biological children; our daughter is 10, and our son is 8. My husband and I both work full time. We take awesome vacations, run ragged between baseball and dance practice, go to church, and eat almost every meal out on the weekends (but rarely on school nights). We do our best each day to keep up with laundry and homework — sometimes failing at one or both. It was a typical middle class existence actually — happy, healthy, just cruisin’ along.
But these days we are in a frenzy of preparation! Both kids have new bunk beds; we’ve upgraded our kitchen table to a six-seater; we’ve installed fire extinguishers and medicine cabinet locks to meet state licensing requirements; we’ve even had a health inspector come measure the temperature of our refrigerator. Over the last six months, we’ve answered a myriad of questions that range from seemingly irrelevant minutiae to the extremely personal.
Every step of the way, we just keep buying into the next step. We decided from the start that it had to be a unanimous decision amongst the four of us — each with the equal power to call the whole thing off. We decided we didn’t have to commit to this for life. The very nature of foster care is temporary, which frankly was part of its appeal. So we simply commit to the next step. And we’ll fully commit to that first child. Come hell or high water, we’re all-in on this kid…whoever they are. Our home and our hearts are open and prepared for any gender, any race, and any age between 5 – 9 (I’m not open to changing diapers or prepared for teenagers!).
The future is riddled with uncertainty and awash in the unknown. We might follow the journey with one child and determine it’s just not the right lifestyle for us after all. Or we may look back 20 years and 35 foster children later and marvel at what a busy, happy home we had! As our story unfolds, I plan to share with you the comedy and tragedy of the whole affair. After all, what could be more dramatic than following an unexpected calling?
So, what are YOU called to do? Are you embarrassed or afraid to admit that there’s something in your heart you know you’re born to do? I’m challenging you to take a step: make a phone call, Google some guidance, or start that (maybe awkward) conversation with your family to get the ball rolling! And be sure to keep Orlando Moms Blog posted along the way. We can live our adventures together!