When Gregg and I got married we joked that we either wanted no kids or four kids. We have been stalled at three for 3.5 years now and waiting to figure out what our next move would be.
When Eisley was born she came home to a 3.5 yr old sister and 1.5 yr old brother and I jumped into a whirlwind couple years of taking care of babies and toddlers. There are so many fun, sweet and fulfilling parts of raising babies. You can endure the most epic two year old meltdown and five minutes later have that same two year old grab your face with those tiny chubby hands and look at you with the sweetest smile and all frustrations of that meltdown just fly away. I have always been pretty open about the hard parts of being a mom to three really young kids. For the most part of those first years I felt like I was just surviving. As much as I wanted a fourth child, I just knew I was at capacity.
About a year ago I started to feel things shift a little. Our kids were getting older, more independent and developing friendships with each other. I wasn't getting up at night anymore and could have conversations with all the kids about what they needed and wanted. I was finally at a place where I wasn't feeling overwhelmed on a daily basis. Now, that's not to say I don't have times when I feel overwhelmed (Eisley makes sure I am never too confident, ha) but it's not the norm like it was three years.
Six years ago Gregg and I went through foster care training in Texas but as the training wrapped up, we just knew the timing wasn't right for us and we never moved forward with it. Since that time, I have always felt that foster care was something we were meant to do. It has always weighed heavy on our hearts and I have spent years praying that God would just let us know when the time was right and that He would put Gregg and I on the same page. About a month ago, Gregg brought it up again and we decided that the time is now.
So, we began the training process again this week. We have to complete 11, 3 hr our training sessions on Tue/Thu evenings that will wrap up right before Easter. Once that training is complete we *should* have our paperwork complete to submit for licensing and potentially be ready for a child in May. That is soon but we feel ready. At this point, our goal is to foster babies (under 1.5 yrs old) and not necessarily to adopt. Of course, that could change depending on the situation but for now, we are going into this process hoping to provide a stable home for families in transition.
We have told the kids that we could have a baby living with us in the next few months and they are pretty excited. The training is time consuming and we had planned on needing to hire babysitters for our kids on Tuesday and Thursday evenings while we go to the classes but have been SO encouraged by the family and friends who have volunteered to take care of our kids so we don't have to hire out help. That has been a huge relief to us and we are so very grateful.
I do want to say this, Gregg and I are not going into this with a blind eye to the difficulty and heartache that potentially awaits us. I think that we are walking into this with as realistic of expectations as possible for people who have never experienced being a part of the foster care system ourselves. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to share what we are doing is because I know that we will need support, prayer, wisdom and encouragement from those that have done this before us.
So, here we go, working on baby number four just in a different kind of way!