Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Two nights ago I woke up at 2AM and could not fall back asleep. I tossed and turned and worried and thought about how one phone call could change the entire course of our lives. In those dark hours, I finally understood what it was like to be a parent...and we aren't even parents yet. I understood the excitement, the fear, the unknowns and every other feeling any parent goes through over the course of parenthood. I finally understood those inexplicable feelings.
For those of you that know Mike and I (or Meej and Beej our nicknames for each other) - we're just two normal people, married, working from home during a world wide pandemic and navigating the ups and downs of every day life as best we can. We both work two jobs, and when we have time work on house projects or spend time with family and friends. We are goofy down to our core, love our cats like none other and in general have a very weird and goofy relationship - that's us in a nutshell.
In December of 2019 we decided to fill out an application for a local nonprofit organization to start the process of becoming certified to foster/adopt here in Delaware. I vividly remember crying as we filled out the application, overcome with so many feelings within myself that I needed to make peace with. I wondered if we were making the right decision to start our family by fostering or adoption. I worried what people would think, how many questions we could get asked going through this process and generally questioned everything about life in that moment. I looked at Mike while tears streamed down my face and said "What if we miss having a child that is part us, or a combination of us, or looks like us?" Mike simply said "Beej, no matter how a child comes to us, don't you think they will inherit the best parts of us? Our quarks, funniness, weird habits and everything...that they won't be a part of us, even though they don't look like us?"
I understood in that moment, that this is what we had to do. We had to finish the application. We had to turn it in and we had to wait to be approved. I knew in that moment that this is how I and we as a couple wanted to start our family. And in that moment, I was at peace with whatever I was struggling with internally. Here we are, 12 months later. We're open as a resource family in Delaware and we are able to accept phone calls on infants and children that are looking for their forever homes . We completed all of the in person, online and then virtual training. Enter a worldwide pandemic in the middle of this process, home inspections, family assessments and even preparing a room for a child - it was a lot to accomplish. But we did it. When we were able to review our family assessment that our social worker drafted for us, I cried several times while reading it. Somehow our social worker had taken in all of our thoughts on our individual families, traditions, values and more and wrote a beautiful assessment of Mike and I as couple and how we would be a good fit in the resource parent community.
Fast forward to two nights ago when I was tossing and turning, unable to sleep. We have received a few calls from the organization we are certified through over the last few months. I can't get into details of what these phone calls entail but we are in the "season of waiting." And let me tell you, this is not an easy season. We have little to no information to go off of when we receive these phone calls, and we already care so much about a child or children that could potentially join our home...and we've never even met these children. That's the strange part about this roller coaster of a season called waiting. We have to wait for all of the puzzle pieces to come together and ultimately the decision for this child or children, to be welcomed into a home that is the best environment and familial fit. This season of waiting is TOUGH. Fostering a child or children that may never be adopted by our family, knowing that most children are reunited with their biological family, knowing a lot about the foster care system here in Delaware, it's tough. It's probably tougher on me than it is for Mike, because he's much more simple and practical than I am. I am the the more emotional person in the relationship and I like to plan. There is nothing we can do to plan in this process. We have to let the universe decide when a child will be welcomed in our home, and we have to wait. And wonder, and hope. And every other feeling in between - we have to wait and go about our daily lives like nothing has changed. But everything has changed. We've changed as individuals, as a couple, as husband and wife. I'd like to think we are more aware of this crazy world around us, that we are not in control of this process. And that this roller coaster of emotions we are riding, eventually we will get off the ride. Our family will settle and what we wish for, which is a healthy child or children to grow our family, that it will happen at the right time in our lives. It's is the strangest feeling to care about children that you've never even met, that may never even join your home. It is so strange to care about situations that you barely have any information on.
Really going through the fostering process, from being approved to waiting, you learn to simplify. You learn to simplify your thoughts, your feelings, your resiliency towards situations. Most days are just normal days for us. But in the back of our minds, our lives could change in a matter of hours or even days. We walk past the room in our house that we have set aside and lightly decorated for a child, and we wait. We wait for that right phone call. We wait for that moment when we finally become a foster mom and dad. We wait for the day that our little family grows just a little bit more. We wait for the day when we finally become parents. We are in the season of waiting.