Thursday, March 16, 2017

First Lessons

We just finished having our first foster child stay with us for a few days, and I really want to share some thoughts and lesson from the time, without compromising this child's privacy and anonymity... so I will be as vague as possible, while still expressing the lessons from my perspective.

I'm sure I learned more in the past three days from this child than he ever will have learned from us.

For one, adolescent children are exhausting.  
We had to feed him a well-balanced meal -- EVERY NIGHT.  
Sure, we can throw meals together for our three picky toddlers (hot dogs, oranges and mac and cheese are often crowd-pleasers), and then Hubby and I frequently collapse into bed exhausted with half a dinner or food left over from the kids... but having an adolescent male was completely different.  We actually had a family well-balanced meal on the table around 7pm every night -- and it was exhausting.  The dishes we went through in the past three days were easily three times the dishes I usually go through with the kids.  I thought babies were tiring... and they are, but wow, middle-schoolers are tiring too.

I realized that my children are so incredibly trusting and full of love for anyone and everyone they meet. This child had not been here two hours and Tracey had already decided that he was her new best friend.  It took about 24 hours, about both Howard and Caroline came to love him and often competed for chances to be held by him.  I will share, hesitantly that I was nervous about how loving and accepting my children were in such a short period of time.  While I hope it helped him to feel welcome, we might need to work on a little Stranger Danger for the future.

While this child was with us, I began to have an sligth understanding for how little control he has over his life.  He has no choice over with whom he lives, what his room is like, what his meals are like, what his routine is like, what a family's expectations are of him, or... in the case of our house, how many children are vying for his attention... I have no idea what it is like to have so little control in life.

Then, there was the very unexpected emotion of saying goodbye.  He was only with us three days.  Three very stressful and exhausting days... but then he was gone -- off to another family, to see how well that placement works.  And I want to cry watching him leave -- telling my children that he's going home, when I know he has not had a true HOME for years.  What must that be like for a child?

Please keep praying for this sweet, sweet young man... and so many other like him  Thank you so much to the dear friends who surrounded us in prayer the past three days.  

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