I love that title, it’s borrowed from a dear friend in Oklahoma (with some Bonus Boys) — and ironically fit with a blog post festering in my mind lately.
Being a foster parent can be a lot to swallow at times. Gosh, even really thinking of yourself as a parent is a challenge. For folks who have babies, they have months to prep and ease into parenthood. And it’s still overwhelming then too! But sometimes I wrestle with acknowledging myself as a parent. I fear others would receive me viewing myself as a Dad, without birth kids yet, as cheapening their parenthood. So sometimes I shy away from really thinking of myself as a Dad.
But the reality is, that’s not true or fair (to myself or the kids). When you are up several times a night, when the whole family gets sick one after another in a week, when the 1-year old is getting 3 teeth in one day (and hasn’t really learned how to soothe or be comforted), when you have baby gates everywhere, when everything is baby proofed, when you have changed 3 diapers (on one kid) before leaving the house at 7am, when you have to think 8 steps ahead to avoid unnecessary 2-year old meltdowns… you’re a Dad.
When your back hurts inexplicably (but you know why…), you’re a Dad. When you get just as sick as the kids were & you have to power through, you’re a Dad. When you worry about coughs & congestion, and spend an absurd amount of your money on medicine to help, you’re a Dad. When you are gently hold your hand on your nearly asleep baby girl, praying that God will help her grow up strong, brave & true — you are a Father. It doesn’t matter if you had 9 months (or years) of preparation for the baby — or if like us, you had 3-4 hours of warning before everything changed.
I may not be my children’s birth father, but I am their father. My kids may have been a Friday morning surprise in February, but that doesn’t change our love for them and our hope that they can remain forever. God has entrusted us with these precious children (and difficult children, let’s be real…) — and we are called to love them completely and accept them fully, just as God loves us. The expectation is no different from parents who have given birth to children. God loves these kids SO much more than we possibly could — and we are just His hands and feet to protect them, love them, guide them, shepherd them, make them laugh & love them.
That afternoon when the kids came home, we became parents. It’s not always easy to remember, sometimes it still feels like it’s a dream we had — but it’s true — we are parents.
Instant parenthood is still parenthood —
and foster parents are indeed, parents — Moms & Dads.
In all the overwhelming and fast change we have had, and keep having — a few verses come to mind often during the chaos & quiet. I suspect they come to mind as a prompt from the Spirit to listen and ponder — I should listen more. This is one of the verses that comes to mind most often:
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!”
— Lamentations 3:22-23 CSB