Living in Fear
There are days where there are obstacles in your life that seem insurmountable. Yesterday was the first day where I actually questioned, can I continue to be a licensed foster parent and be heartbroken when a referral call for a baby or child doesn't go the direction you hoped it would. Yesterday was the first day, I truly questioned this process and whether I was cut out for it, or strong enough to be a foster and adoptive parent. There you have it folks, a moment of truth, of brutal honesty that hurts to write out. I am ok admitting to this moment of weakness because I know it's simply not true. Never in a million years did I see Mike and I going down this specific path to parenthood. But here we are, and it's been a beautifully scary, overwhelming and eye opening journey that have changed us as human beings.
Truth be told when Mike and I first became licensed as foster parents, we had no idea how to fully process taking a referral call from our agency. Imagine picking up a phone call and your heart starts beating 100 miles per minute, you start sweating while you listen to the details of the call, and 100 emotions, thoughts and feelings start running through your mind. Honestly, nothing in life prepares you for that FIRST phone call. Nothing prepares you for any referral call you receive. You can take all of the training classes, read blogs and follow other foster parent journeys and have 100 conversations with social workers or other resource families, but nothing prepares you for "the call." Mentally you think you can prepare yourself for this process. But, you just can't. Every referral call is unique and different with it's own questions, challenges, information and history.
I was in the car the other day driving home from an emotional day spent with friends, when a social worker from Children and Families First called with a referral for a baby. I couldn't believe my eyes as the call came through because earlier in the day I had had a brief thought of "what if today we got a referral call?" It felt too serendipitous to be true. As soon as we started to talk and exchange questions I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted Mike and I to jump in and give this baby all of the love and attention they needed to thrive. It was really a euphoric feeling, to have no questions on whether we wanted to help and to not be scared of the information we learned about this particular case. Even as we learned hard information about this case, knowing caring for this baby might lead to long road of therapies ahead, we still wanted to pursue this child joining our family.
As it turns out, it wasn't our time for a child to join our family. And that's life, and there's nothing we can do to change that. To say the least it hurts, but we also know that whatever happens with referral calls, it's in the best interest of the child. That's a tough fact to swallow, because in your mind, you think your family will be the best fit for a baby or child. It's hard not to care about a referral call, a situation, or a baby or child you've never held or touched. You learn so little in this process, you take a leap of faith and pursue an opportunity, and slowly your heart starts to care so damn much. I'm realizing in this process, as a foster mom and hopefully adoptive mom, that I need to continue to desensitize myself to this process. That doesn't mean I shouldn't care, because I'm a caring person by nature. It just means we can't get too attached until we finally have a child in our home. The idea of my heart breaking each time a call doesn't work out is not something I can continue to do in the way I've been handling my emotions. Part of this process, is almost learning a new way of coping and dealing with raw and real human emotions. It's almost like growing up and finding a new way of handling the overwhelming amount of emotions that come with being a foster parent.
There is no right way, or wrong way to handle this journey. As husband and wife, Mike and I handle our emotions very differently, but we're on the same page when it comes to this process. We want to change a child's life or children's lives. We want to make an impact with other resource families. While this referral call didn't work out for us, I know we will continue to do good in the community. We will continue to talk about our feelings, ask for help, ask for support. We know that when the right call comes through we have an ARMY of amazing family, friends and resource families that will help us get everything we need in place.
So for now, the point of this blog post is simply to ask you all, in whatever journey you are on, to not be afraid. Don't be afraid of the unknowns. Of your feelings. Of failing. Don't be afraid to make an impact or share a story that someone else might relate to. Life is too short to live in fear.