I was totally against it. Not against fostering as a whole, but specifically fostering for our family. My husband and I had our 3 kids in 3 years and I was sure I would go crazy if we had more. I had a scary picture in my head of what foster kids were like: lice filled hair, rotted teeth and just being little terrors. It was not a good visual. Our church started to talk about the foster care crisis in Arizona from the pulpit. My husband is a pastor and he delivered numerous messages at multiple churches and felt convicted that we needed to dive in. He wanted to “practice what he preached”. Not me. I wasn’t the one delivering the messages. I felt no obligation to sign up for foster care. My kids were 2, 4, and 5 at the time. This doesn’t mean the messages weren’t good or effective in recruiting new foster parents. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law felt God tugging on their hearts to foster. I thought they were crazy (and probably voiced it). Although, we did want to walk alongside them as they journeyed on this unknown road. We babysat often and that was our contribution to the foster system, helping those who were already directly involved in it.
As time went on another close friend started to foster, and then another. My kids go to preschool with the kids of a friend who is deeply involved and passionate about fostering. Each morning I would see her and chat while we dropped off backpacks and water bottles. She would tell me stories about all sorts of things- statistics (which were too big to comprehend), personal stories of her own foster kids, kids staying in emergency placement centers because there were no homes, etc. This was her life, her heart, her passion/mission field. I remember her telling me that it takes about 7 touches (interactions) with foster kids/families to tug on one’s heart and join the “party”. Nope not me. I calculated the “touches” I had come across and I was around 3-4 with still no intentions of joining the party. Phew.
Fast forward a few months to when I went on a trip to Israel with my church. While we were there God started changing my heart. I was not expecting that since I was happy with my life. My husband and kids were great! I had no desire for change. Well, on that trip I remember God telling me in the quietness of my heart that if he asked me to do something, no matter how difficult it was, that I needed to do it. A bunch of random ideas came through my head, but I just pushed them aside. I agreed to obey God, though I wondered what he had in store.
We returned home from our trip and I knew there was something different about me but I wasn’t sure what it was. People often asked, “What happened in Israel? You seem different!” My response was a truthful “I don’t know! Apparently something because a handful of people have commented on it.”
I ran into my passionate friend at preschool again. We chatted day after day for a week about foster care and the gigantic need for more involvement. She bleeds compassion for children in need. One time while she was talking, God and I started having a side conversation:
Me: “lalalalalalalala I’m not listening to you God!”
The next day at school she told me about a caseworker who she loves. Even though her caseload is full and she works tirelessly to find homes for these kids, each night after a long day at work, she goes to the Emergency Placement Center and rocks a 3 year old to sleep and puts her down each night because she has no home to go to. What? Are you kidding me? She works hard all day finding homes, placing children, meeting with families, etc. and then goes to the shelter to rock a kid to sleep? I was floored. Tears filled my eyes, and then a quiet, gentle voice in my heart said “Really Lindsay? You can’t open your home and put a child to bed at the end of the day?” I made it to my car and then I lost it. My world was shaken. Of course I could put a child down for bed at the end of the day… I just didn’t want to! God captured my heart in a way I did not expect, or want for that matter. Sadness and compassion swept over me. I talked to my husband at dinner that night and told him everything. I was finally ready to foster. He was shocked… and excited!
I have been on a two and a half year journey from the time I first heard about fostering until now. During this time I have come across some darling little ones! I have come to realize that all kids are just kids. And kids need love, stability, hugs, and sometimes chocolate chip cookies. I can provide all those things, and more. I am excited to move from supporting other foster families, to becoming a foster family.
Future Foster Mom