Along with love, patience, faithfulness and the other fruits of the Spirit, foster parents need another important “fruit” in their lives: flexibility. My husband and I had taken our two biological sons to the zoo one Saturday in August a few years ago when we got our first foster placement call. It had been a long, fun day, the kind that leaves you happy but exhausted. Boy, did our plans for that evening change! I didn’t sleep much. Unexpectedly, we were making phone calls and moving furniture around because we were getting not one, but two babies!
You’ve gotta be flexible when you are told that birth family visits will be Tuesday night. No, wait, Wednesday morning. Sorry, didn’t Cathy tell you they got moved to Sunday afternoon? You’re early, they start at 3:30 not 2:00.
Beyond the immediacy of the little annoyances like changing schedules and waiting (oh, the endless sitting around in waiting rooms!) a big challenge in foster parenting is the overarching unknown of life. Most people live their life with a general idea of what the next six months will look like. Not foster parents! It’s April and someone just asked me if we had summer vacation plans. I said that we will probably leave for a week in June or July, but we had to wait to book because we weren’t sure how many rooms we’d need. [Insert blank stare.] Most people have 9 months to plan for a new family addition, but ours is unknown.