I must admit, I was dreading the classes. I mean come on, Saturdays are sacred and to give up the entire day to sit in a class, have group discussions with strangers and watch boring powerpoints that frankly portray ideal scenarios that everyone in the class knows are absolutely ridiculous, except for the presenter. Yea, a real fun event.
But, I was wrong. These folks were amazing!
Now, let me just get it out there....I'm not talking about ALL foster parents, I know there are "bad apples" in every group, and I'm certainly not talking about DCS, the court system or the laws controlling the lives of all the precious children represented in that room. No, I'm talking collectively about the group we got to glimpse into the lives of Saturday. They were amazing!
We were pleasantly surprised and humbled by these genuinely loving people who have said "yes" to the unexpected....regardless of where they are in their lives right now. Yes to children who have been dealt a life that means they have serious baggage at young ages. Yes to unpredictable schedules and even more unpredictable birth parents. Yes to giving up their quiet, together homes for busy, overflowing ones. Yes to the headaches of extended family in kinship placements. Yes to regular caseworker visits. Yes to loss of privacy. Yes to repeated heartaches. They say yes everyday with no promises of tomorrow. And you know what else, they keep saying yes. Over and over. With no guarantee that it all won't happen again. They put it out there knowing how bad it hurts when you pour your all into a particular situation that you have no control over the outcome of. They know how bad it hurts to try and help a child so badly scarred that they may never recover, to finally accept that sometimes you just have to let go. They know things they wish they never knew, and they still say yes.
Single mothers, giving up their quiet routines.
Already established families, some rather large, opening themselves and their children up to more.
And the "group" that was represented that probably penetrated my heart most deeply...and honestly surprised me by the number alone...the Great Grandparents. Yes, GREAT Grandparents. People in their late 70s (or better!) saying "yes" to their great grandchildren who had been brought into custody. People who care so deeply for these children and are truly seeking the best for them, even when it's hard and even when it hurts. They were amazing.
I honestly can't believe that we get to be considered part of this group.
We were humbled and our hearts challenged.
We were reminded of why on earth we ever said "yes" in the first place. And while I have most admittedly had the thought of "if I make it through this one, I'm done!"....well, let's just say NOTHING in the adventure of foster parenting is predictable. Nothing.
So thankful for reminders like this of how big our God is!