As the time grows nearer to truly beginning this fostering journey I found myself beginning to get somewhat stressed about what is the ‘right’ decision to make when it comes to welcoming a child into my house. I began to really want a younger child (as in under 18 months). A younger child is so much more in my experience and comfort zone. A younger child would make it easier to finish my Masters. A younger child would be easier to parent for my first experience at fostering. And I was feeling so torn, trying to work out if this was just the selfish me talking, or if was a practical and sensible decision.
I think a part of it was also the fact that one of my friends has just had a baby and, being honest here, that makes me want one too. My friends, who love and support me totally, were encouraging me that it was ok to think I should take a younger child, and perhaps God was telling me that it was the road I should be taking. I think my friends care for me, and they want to protect me, so it’s natural for them to want this to be as easy a journey as possible. But in the middle of all the thoughts was the nagging feeling that I was being selfish. I didn’t get into fostering so that I could have my own child. I got into because I wanted to be a part of making the system better, because I believe I can offer stability, because I believe in social responsibility, because as a social worker, and someone who is quite informed about parenting children from hurt background I believe that I have the skills to help children to heal, and because I believe that that is what God wants me to do.
And so I finally did what I should have done so much earlier. I prayed. Now I know that not all of you believe in God, and so perhaps you won’t understand this. And that’s ok, but I do believe in Him and gain more strength from Him than sometime even I can imagine. And so I prayed. And now I feel peace. I started looking at my motivations again, at why I am doing this, and felt reassured once again in God’s purpose for my life. I’m not in the journey for myself. I can’t know what each child will bring. I can’t know how easy or difficult it will be to complete my studies. And I can’t limit myself or a child based on my own desires for things to be easy. So I am once again content with my chosen age bracket, which is 0-6, in keeping with the age of child I would be parenting naturally and the age of children that my peers are currently parenting. I don’t know if the phone call will be for a newborn or a kindergartener, but I feel that when the call comes I will be able to separate selfishness from sense and make a decision that is in the best interest of this child. I feel at peace.