What is it?
When you are a foster family, every year you are required to complete training hours (we are required to complete 12) , have an updated walk through of the house and update your family’s paperwork. In short, it is an annual check in to decide if you are going to continue on the foster journey or not. If you decide not to re-certify, you can lo longer receive foster kiddos in you home. And then later, if you wanted to start fostering again, you would have to start from the very beginning with all of the trainings, interviews, and paperwork. For families who have kiddos in their home, it tends to be a no brainer. But for us who currently don’t have any foster kiddos in our home, it’d be really easy to let time pass and not renew our certification. The reason this is a hot topic for us is because our recertification date is coming up quick. Those required training hours always seem so doable until you leave them til the last minute – ha! But in the last few months we’ve talked about this a good amount and wanted to invite you into some of our internal processing, and update you on where we are at as a family.
Our Plan for Future Fostering
First off, yes we are going to re-certify to remain a foster family. There is such a desperate need for foster homes, especially here in California, and Zach and I really feel called to loving kiddos from hard places. We know that God is not done with us and the foster care system just yet. Once you are aware of an issue, and the people who are hurting, it’s hard to go back to “normal life.” And yet, we also are aware of our family’s needs. Our family is in a season of unknowns and busyness, and our boys are young and their needs are demanding during this season of life.
For a while, I really struggled feeling like I needed to say yes to fostering immediately, again. But in my heart I knew I needed to say no for a season; for my family’s sake. I felt weak and inadequate that I couldn’t serve more children in our home, but at the same time I felt completely overwhelmed by the idea. And while I reflected on this and prayed, I realized these conflicting thoughts were coming from a place of discontent between what society was saying, and what God was saying. Society is constantly telling us to do more, take on more, & live in a constant state of craziness. And only then, you are doing enough. But I’ve come to realize that those thoughts are lies. That life causes exhaustion, tension in marriages, and lack of patience just to name a few. Now please don’t misunderstand me- I am not giving permission to be lazy. We are called to do our very best to work hard, and serve others well. But I don’t feel like it’s said enough that it is okay to say no. It doesn’t make you weak, a bad person, or selfish. Another thing to take into consideration is that everyone has their own limits. One person might be able to take on way more than another, and THAT IS OKAY. We have to be honest with where we are at and what more we can do – otherwise, we burn out. For Zach and I, at least for the rest of the year, we know we are not in a place to say yes. Like I said before, there are factors in our current season that are unknown, and our boys need us at our best as we parent through this current season.
I think it’s common to assume that once an adoption is finalized, life becomes easy and peachy. Adoption is beautiful and messy, and it’s an honor to be an adoptive parent. However, to have an adoption, there has to first be trauma. Adoptive kids need a safe place and willing parents to face that trauma with them to begin the healing process. We are just at the beginning of this with Mason, and we want to make sure he’s ready before we take in another child.
To sum things up, yes we will continue to be a certified foster family, but we will not be jumping back in just yet. We are trusting on God’s timing, and His grace when we do say yes once again. In the meantime, we will keep our certification up, and come alongside other foster families as much as we can. And we hope even in this “pause”, we can continue to raise awareness and be an advocate for all involved in the foster care system.