My wife and I are foster parents. Yes, we have four biological sons of our own. Yes, we are probably crazy. We’ve had Baby G. since he was two days old (we can’t even foster a girl!). He’s our third placement since becoming foster parents and we’ve had him just over six months. Up until very recently, we had been told by many people within the system that we would be able to adopt him. Then a family member showed up asking for custody (you can read about some initial reactions to that news here). I get it: we signed up for foster-care and we knew that we might lose him, but it’s been difficult. Baby G has become part of our family.
It’s been an interesting process. I can honestly say that Kristi and I have a peace about the situation. It will suck if we lost him, but God is Good, Right and Perfect, and we can trust Him. The possibility of losing Baby G (we still don’t know what will happen) has prompted some soul-searching and initiated some serious questions about my family and particularly my role as a Daddy.
If you’ve seen Baby G’s smile, you know how precious it is. If you’ve heard his laugh, you know it can melt hearts. We’ve come to the conclusion that, even if we do lose Baby G, our “job” right now is to love the snot out of him, make sure his needs are more than met and enjoy him. And that’s the way it should be. That’s the way it should be with my other kids. But it took the possibility of losing our foster son to realize how easily I take my biological family for granted.
I have been reminded to ask: “What is my life?” because “I am a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). I have learned again to know that, even though I should get on them more about bedtime, to enjoy the sound of their chatter. I have been reminded that it’s a small thing to live with the clutter of five awesome boys. I have been reminded that my boys are more important than my possessions. I have learned to love them for who they are instead of being frustrated that they’re not who I want them to be. It’s OK when they’re loud. I have been taught again to eat, drink and be merry, because life is good. Sometimes loss is part of loving. It’s not easy but it doesn’t excuse us from loving.
Jesus has a special place for children and so should we. Not just the dry obligation of “doing what’s right” to care for children but to actually enjoy them because they won’t be children for long. Baby G has reminded me that the heart is truly more important than behavior. True, behaviors flow from the heart but I worry too much that too many parents focus on the behaviors rather than the heart. And I can’t focus on my family’s hearts without first focusing on my own. My relationship with God will determine what kind of Daddy I am.
Thank you, Baby G for teaching me.