Still, the Lord has always given us faith in His ability to provide. We've been to far away places and participated in amazing work around the world because of His provisions. I am so thankful that He gives us His vision for our lives and the strength to move forward even when it looks foolish to others.
There are many other things people think they need in order to foster or adopt children. Finances was one of our biggest, so we will start there.
|honestly, this is all you need, perhaps minus the stuff :)|
3. Maturity/wisdom. Again, you do not need to be older and uber mature in order to foster or adopt. Teenagers become parents all the time. Now, I'm not condoning that by any means, but just trying to show that anyone can become a parent. All that is required in parenting is a great amount of love, humility and a teachable heart. In raising my two boys, I've learned (and will probably continue to do so) that no matter how much you think you know about parenting, you actually don't. As well, parenting your bio kids does not automatically make you 100% ready to parent foster children. Each child is so different, but on top of that, children with disabilities and rough backgrounds are even more different.
4. A spouse! This is somewhat of a hot topic (why is that? do people honestly think it would do a child harm if they had A mommy instead of NO mommy???), but single people are allowed to foster/adopt and I think it's awesome. Emily, the co-founder of One Heart Family Ministries is a single mother to four adopted girls (all through the foster care system) and is currently fostering twin toddlers. She's got six children under her roof!!! I have been incredibly blessed to learn her story and see what it looks like to truly give your life to God. There were also three single women in our class who plan to foster. Seriously, the love and support they are eager to give these children is immeasurable. God calls ALL Christians to care for widows and orphans, not just married people, experienced parents, ministers or missionaries. ALL people. That certainly includes single people and I have no doubt that single people can bless and change the life of a foster child forever.
|Emily with her four adopted girls|
5. Older kids. Your bio kids do not have to be out of the house and no one says you have to stop growing your own family in order to foster. In fact, it's possibly better for there to be children in the home, giving a sense of safety and belonging to foster children. Safety concerns are real. Discuss these fears and talk through what age group might be best for your bio kids.
6. Any kids in general. Although it might be helpful, you do not need to have children in order to foster. You do not need to be an expert on parenting either and THANK GOD FOR THAT! I admired the child-less people in our class for stepping into this role with no experience in parenting. If you think about it, every first time parent is in this situation. Only difference is that they took part in making the child.
7. You have to be young. Our original plan was to adopt when our kids were older. We would try out all of our parenting techniques on our bio kids, pay for all of their counseling and then adopt once we were experts. I kid, but honestly, older people really do have an amazing opportunity to share their success and stability with kids in need. Although it's not required, older people do have more wisdom with experience and could possibly make the best foster parents ever! I pray that more people would consider using their retirement to care for the lost instead of playing golf every day. (or whatever else retired people do...ride boats? visit casinos? search for the perfect puffy paint Christmas sweatshirt? clearly i have no idea).
8. A degree in counseling. Like wisdom, it would be helpful if you got your degree in counseling or child psychology, but it is not required. Nothing can fully prepare you for the issues and situations you will deal with when it comes to fostering. Each story is so different! You should build a support group around yourself, though. Get to know other foster/adoptive families. Talk with them and gain wisdom and encouragement. Seek a counselor for your kids or yourselves!! There's no shame in recruiting help, in fact, it can only enrich your experience.
9. A plan. In fact, it's probably better if you don't have a plan, ha! Fostering and adopting is not like being pregnant. You have NO idea who will enter your house or when they will come. There is no 9 month waiting period with a due date (although the doula in me should note: due dates annoy me!! it should be due months as there is no way to accurately know exactly which day a baby will come and far too many moms and doctors obsess about this!).
10. You have to "have it all together". It seems that most Americans feel they need to have their life in order before they allow themselves to move on. Before getting married or having children, a man needs to have a solid job, own a house and drive a car that is less than 10 years old. Ha, we've broken all of those unspoken rules! We think that once our children get through a certain stage, the timing will be perfect. Once you've landed that dream job, then you can start the process. Don't get me wrong, timing is definitely important as you should be a in a healthy place to start fostering. BUT, Dan and I both know that children are a blessing, no matter how bad the timing is. You get through it and move on. Don't make too many excuses, waiting for your life to settle down. Move forward, take the plunge and pray for guidance.
Now for a quick list of things you DO need:
-A support group whether that be family, church, friends, etc.
-Bed for each child (notice I did not say a room for each child)
-A vehicle to transport them (hence our "new" van!)
-A vision for these children. One that goes beyond yourself.
Yup, it's that simple.