We are done with the paperwork. For now. The crib is ready. The dresser drawers are empty. We’ve been through the training yet feel grossly underprepared.
How do I prepare for a child? More baffling—how do I prepare for a child of an unknown age and gender from an unknown situation arriving on an unknown date? And how do I approach caring for this child for an unknown period of time?
I suppose I don’t.
I like to think I was prepared to welcome our biological children. Yet they all had unknown issues and were born into unexpected life situations. We never met two of them. And I still struggle to parent our children well.
Currently, my eldest is in the habit of provoking her siblings, talking back, denying wrongdoing in…well…anything, and glaring at me when corrected. My middle child throws herself into screaming fits when she is not the first: first through the door, first with her shoes on, first to get buckled, first to put rice on her plate. My youngest will scream, fight, ignore, hit…or just sing very loudly for extraordinary lengths of time.
And yet my eldest has pressed through a visual disability and now works independently on schoolwork before 7am every morning. She relates beautifully to animals, makes sweet gifts for her friends, and is diligent in housework. My middle child is bright, happy, driven, patient, and has an incredible imagination. My youngest has an uncanny ear for music, a great sense of humor, a creative mind, and is sweet and affectionate.
These things are true. All at the same time.
So, yes, I am afraid. I am afraid that all those horror stories people like to share about fostering and adopting are true. I am afraid my kids will have “issues.” I’m afraid I don’t have what it takes to care well for my children—biological, foster, or adopted. I am afraid when you ask me, “Are they all yours?”—that I won’t feel the “Yes” that is the necessary response. “They are all mine. For as long as I am given to parent them.” (Is the answer not the same for foster, adoptive, and biological children?)
But I have not been given a spirit of fear.* Or so I am told.
Not fear, but power and love and self-control. I certainly feel the lack.
My kids will have issues. So will I. Yet He remains sovereign.
I must receive that reminder to “fan into flame the gift of God”—which is His Spirit.** His Spirit of power, love, and self-control. When the state of Georgia opens our home in coming days, perhaps the people in our home will be more open as well….
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:18-21
*2 Tim 1:7
**2 Tim 1:6