This weekend is Mother’s Day weekend, so it feels pretty ironic that I am writing a post about feeling like a failure when it comes to mothering.
The timing was not planned.
I admitted here right off the bat that we were struggling ever since Cece was placed in our home. Our struggles were much more with ourselves than with her but for a number of reasons the placement was not a good fit and yesterday she ended up moving on to a different foster home at our request.
This was not a simple decision.
It was the right decision for our family but I still feel guilty.
I feel like I failed her.
But, having her here was really affecting our family, we didn’t want to take two placements after our time with Buzz and Woody but because we struggle with saying no we did anyway.
So, she moved to a different family. We still have little R2 and for the foreseeable future we plan on sticking with just one foster child at a time.
I really don’t know what else to write, I’m still processing a lot of this but wanted to share this part of our foster care journey here for now while it is fresh.
About two weeks ago I got a call from our social worker asking if we would be willing to accept another foster care placement. According to her they were planning on shutting down some emergency homes due to COVID-19.
We agreed to have kids presented to us and we could decide on an individual basis if we would say yes to a placement or not.
Later that week we got a call about a seven month old boy that we ended up saying no to. Mostly because he was not a great sleeper and lately R2 has been having some sleeping issues, and the only room we have for foster kids involves them sharing a room. (And if the babies aren’t sleeping, than I’m not sleeping and that’s not good for anyone in the house!)
Then last week we got a call about a six month old girl.
We do feel like taking just one foster care placement of one child works best for our family (and it helps if they are as easy as R2) but I thought with COVID going on and my complete lack of responsibilities and expectations outside the home, this would be an okay time to take another placement.
We were told this girl (who we’re calling Cece) sleeps well, so we said yes.
Guys, it’s been ten years since I had a baby this age! I totally forgot how this stage works and I realized we have none of the stuff needed for this age.
She didn’t come with any kind of schedule written down (and she came to us from a place that could have done that), they didn’t say when she last ate or napped and she didn’t even come with a bottle! (Thankfully I found a bottle in R2’s stuff that he’s not using because I’m trying to keep the trips out of the home to the minimum right now.)
Currently neither of the two littles are napping well during the day at all. And the little napping they are doing does not overlap. On the positive side they have both slept through the night 50% of the nights she’s been with us.
R2 and Cece are a year a part and this is closer in age than I’ve ever done before. And I’ve never had two in diapers at the same time (I changed six poopy diapers today alone!). Cece can’t sit yet and is pretty much only happy if she is standing, I hear she likes the jolly jumper, we’ve got one ordered and it should be here in a few days, but for now my back is killing me trying to hold her while she jumps. Oh, and have I mentioned that R2 still doesn’t walk and he’s jealous of all the attention Cece is getting?
Honestly, I’m overwhelmed.
Also honestly, it doesn’t take much.
I feel bad saying this because I feel like it’s taboo for women to say but I am just not a baby person. I’ve probably only volunteered to hold people’s babies like five times in my life.
If you are wondering why a person like me is fostering, don’t worry, I’m wondering it too.
For years I struggled to find ways to serve that worked with my gifts but in the last couple of years I’ve come to realize that one of my spiritual gifts (and Jared’s too) is/are service. I am willing to fill in when there is a need, even if it is not something I am super qualified for. It’s why I do a lot of things that I do.
I don’t think it’s bad to serve in areas that don’t come easily, I think we can have seasons of huge growth when we do so, but I also think it is a lot easier to get burned out when doing so for extended periods of time (ask me how I know).
There are lots of reasons I don’t want to admit that fostering is hard for me. And it mostly comes down to my pride. I have friends that have way more kids than me and foster on top of it and they don’t seem to struggle nearly as much as I do. I often mentally think If they can handle XYZ, why can’t I handle just Z that I have on my plate?
But God hasn’t made us all the same, we don’t all have the same limits, the same gifts, the same amount of patience, etc. We are all unique creations, and that is something to be thankful for, not something to get down about.
In this short adventure of fostering I have often wondered why we are doing this. Why did we take action when I so many people who are much more gifted and qualified for this role?
And now with this pandemic going through the world and so many people are finding themselves with more time on their hands, I’m wondering, why did we say yes? Why does it feel like we always choose the hard (for us) path?
I know God has a purpose behind this all, and it may end up being something obvious down the road and it may not, and I know I have to be okay with that.
I definitely know this journey has already driven me to pray in ways I wouldn’t have even thought about before. I am praying for children, for birth mothers, for social workers and for more people in my life to take action and become foster parents.
Our province is in desperate need for foster parents, when I was looking up stats last summer I read that there were something like 5,000-6,000 kids in care in the province and just over 500 foster homes. That averages to TEN KIDS A HOME! Obviously they aren’t all in homes and that’s incredibly sad (but also understandable, because there is no way we’re taking another eight kids on). So, I’m praying for more people to open up their homes, because if we can do this, pretty much anybody can.
This got a little long winded for a post that was just supposed to say that we have a new placement but I’ve got lots of thoughts and feelings on the subject and it feels good to share some of them.
If you have been thinking about being a foster parent and serving the hurting in your city in that way I would highly recommend getting in touch with social services and seeing how you can get more information. I don’t know what our local social services are doing now in regards to approving foster homes during COVID but I’m afraid they’ll lose a few homes during this time and if they aren’t training and approving new ones they are going to be in an even tighter spot than they already are.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m surprised and probably shouldn’t ask for a favor, but I will anyway, will you take some time to pray for us today? And if you’ve thought about fostering at all, pray for that as well.