As I glance in the rearview mirror of my minivan, AKA “The Blue Shamoo,” I see the girls cracking each other up about something. The boys, well, they are attempting to hit each other across the seats. Just being real, folks!
I bark, “Kind hands!” for the millionth time and refocus on the road. And then my friend, Worry, takes a seat on my shoulder and my mind begins to spin.
Today, Worry has me asking all of the what-if questions that come with foster care. For those foster families out there, you might recognize this list.
What if they go home?
What if they don’t?
What if my bio kids resent this later?
What if they never attach?
What if family members never accept all of our kids?
What if they never call me Mom?
The list could go on and on. It is a list built on uncertainty and no control. It's a harsh reality of foster care.
Not sure about you guys, but I like a level of predictability. I like to daydream what our life will look like five or 10 years into the future. But, simply put, I have no idea.
Sometimes, I even start thinking, “I wouldn’t have to think about all of this if we weren’t a foster family.”
The reality is I would still be haunted by the what-ifs whether we were a foster family or not. It’s an unfortunate part of raising little people, biological or not. They are unpredictable. They are their own people and the older they get the more they make decisions independent of us.
They make mistakes; sometimes they make big ones. But, as parents, we don’t give up when it’s difficult or unpredictable. We lean in, hold them a little bit closer and pray. We pray a lot.
And on the days I cannot let go of the what-ifs, I gently remind myself that my husband and I warned our kids a long time ago, we can pay for college or future therapy, but not both. Yes, we really did say that to our kids and it elicited eye rolls and sighs.
You see, screwing up as a parent is a given whether it’s parenting biological kids or foster kids. So, since certainty is not part of this journey, we will just keep moving forward. We’ve at least got that part of the game plan handled!
Jenn Morris is a freelance writer, blogger and a mom of six (some biological, some foster). Learn more about her and our other bloggers here and check out all our foster care resources here. If you want to volunteer to help foster kids, see this list of opportunities.