This evening it’s all about the Mary Poppins soundtrack (though I’ve moved onto Paddington now) and making a presentation to give to our church family about fostering. Wild Friday night.
Another day, another load of stuff to process. I spent about 45 minutes on the phone to the foster carer who has the kids last night. She is incredible in terms of what she’s done – used to be a dental nurse, now a teacher, has fostered over 300 kids and often takes trips to Afghanistan to return children to their parents. You know, as you do.
She was able to tell me more about the kids’ case, but also what they’re like. What they’re interested in, how they’ve reacted to certain things in the house, like fruit and toothbrushes. She gave me confidence that as a carer I can advocate for these kids – if they need to move to a local school, I can push for that. As their foster carer, I am their advocate. I’m not sure I’ll ever have her boldness, but I hope that a steely determination and persistence will grow over time!
Today also involved a chat with the kids’ social worker (poor woman having to do that job, I don’t envy her). They’d just been to court and got the order they needed for the kids not to go home for now. Obviously in fostering, working towards reunification has to be the goal, so that’s where we are for now whilst things are worked out with regards to the long term options. She lives nearby as well, so if she stays on the case, she’ll be able to pop by easily enough.
I think the reality of actually fostering is starting to set in. As well as doing the day-to-day care in terms of feeding them, getting them ready for school, doing homework, reading stories and playing games, there’s just this whole other level of things that I feel totally unprepared for. They’ll need a high level of nurture and very structured parenting that focuses on filling in all the gaps from their early childhood with regards to emotional needs. Most kids in care are well below their chronological age when it comes to emotional development. I’m suddenly realising that I am feeling thoroughly unequipped to do this task.
I guess it’s like starting a new job, which is what I’m doing I suppose. You know as the start date draws closer and you begin to wonder what you’ll actually need to be doing at work. What will an average day look like? How long will it take me to settle into it? What if I literally have no idea what to do and they realise they hired the wrong person? PANIC.
Ok, so I’m not panicking (somehow!). Maybe because it still feels a long way off. I know that with fostering, until you start there is no way you can be prepared for it. There will be an element of learning on the job. However, that’s not to say there’s nothing I can be doing right now. I have books I can read, there’s a wealth of resources online, and plenty of foster carers to connect with. Our most important resource though needs to be prayer. Even if we may feel that it doesn’t bear much fruit (probably cos we just don’t do it!), the power of prayer cannot be underestimated. As we go into this, we must be relying on God and remembering this verse (which I want to get printed beautifully to hang up somewhere!):
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12v9
Boom. May God’s grace be what sustains us; not our own efforts, knowledge or experience (not that these aren’t good, important things, but they’ll only go so far). His grace alone is sufficient.