Thriving in Temporary

I like to use the phrase “for now” to talk about our foster placement. He’s ours “for now.” I’m his Mama “for now.” We’re a family of four “for now.” I can see how this makes other people squeamish at times. It sounds so scary, so unknown. I am often pestered with questions like - What’s going to happen? Do you get to keep him? How will you feel if he goes back?

The reality of foster care is that it’s often temporary. The goal is to reunify these children with their parents or their biological family. Even if someday that foster baby becomes your forever baby, you have to keep your thinking in a temporary head space while loving them with a forever mindset.

Yeah. You heard that right. Go forth and be a superhero.

The temporary of foster care creates a great tension if you allow it. But with a little perspective shifting, I’m starting to get comfortable with temporary and learning to live my life with joy, even when the future is completely unknown.

Permanence is the illusion of control

Permanence makes us feel like we’re in control. Temporary makes us feel like we are out of control. Of course, we are out of control. Fostering will certainly remind us of that on a daily basis. I have found that the only way I can survive this fact is to throw myself on the One who IS in control. The One who promised that His ways are better-His plans more perfect-His adventures more breathtaking than I could ever possibly imagine. When I truly embrace this truth, it’s easier to see the twists and turns of foster care through the lens of God at work.

In the beginning of our situation, all I could think of was permanence. I prayed fervently for God to change people’s hearts, but really I was praying that I would get what I so deeply desired-another child of my own. But, prayer has a funny way of working on us in ways we don’t always anticipate. My heart began to change as I saw the situation through God’s eyes. Permanence was not the answer anymore-transformation was. Transformation allows room for God to work with who He wants, in the timing He wants, in the ways He wants. Releasing my desire for control to the only One who is in control ended up being the key to walking through the chaos.

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life
How about love?
Measure in love
Seasons of love”

Seasons of Loss or Seasons of Love

I’m going to get very theological here. There’s a song from Rent called “Seasons of Love.” I was listening to this the other day while having a very-not-cool dance party in my kitchen, and the lyrics struck me.

There seems to be a misnomer that in order for love to be real, it has to be forever. But there are seasons to our lives, including our relationships. Foster care is a season of love. There’s also loss, but mostly there’s love. I am facing the reality of temporary right now.  It can be agonizing to untangle your heart strings from that of a smiling, drooling, completely dependent baby that you have embraced as your own. But the other day, I looked at our Little One laughing with my daughter, and I was overwhelmed with an unexpected emotion.

Gratitude.

I could have missed this. I could have missed this joy. This laughter. This love. If I had given in to the fear of temporary, I could have missed this enormous, life-altering experience.

What a privilege, to love this child and his birth parents. What a privilege.


About the Author: Rachael is first and foremost on an adventure with Jesus. She is also a wife of 10 years, mom to 5-year old Alice, and foster mama to any child God brings through the door. Her other roles include being a reluctant pastor's wife, regular Bible teacher, and occasional retreat speaker. She enjoys weekend getaways, canceling plans, taking on projects she may not complete, wine tasting, and avoiding kids birthday parties.

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Rachael G.