Week two of ten

We're approaching week three of our ten week training to be licensed foster parents. It's been an overwhelming two weeks. In fact, on my way home from our last meeting, I cried my eyes out. I cried for the biological kids we'll never have, I cried for the little boy we lost in August, I cried for the thousands of kids in our state who experience the trauma of being removed from their homes for whatever reason. I cried because I don't know how a ten week course will prepare us to be foster parents or adoptive parents. I cried because of the overwhelming amount of paperwork we still have to fill out before our meeting on Tuesday. It was a blurry drive home.

This week we read horrifying case studies of kids that simply heartbreaking, and then we were given 15 minutes to analyze and write up what we felt these kids need based on their history. I felt almost paralyzed as the rest of my group began chatting and assessing their needs. I just read the four sentence profiles over and over again and thought to myself, How the hell am I supposed to figure what these kids need in 15 minutes?! How will I ever be ready to be a foster parent?! 

I know this isn't a real-life scenario; we'll have a little longer than 15 minutes to figure out how to meet a kid's needs. But it will be high pressure like this scenario. And how does a person even prepare for this? How can a 10 week course prepare me to parent a child who potentially has several layers of trauma? The class left my head spinning, my heart racing, and the questions scrolling through my mind. I didn't sleep well that night.

In the last few days, we've chipped away at some of the paperwork. In addition to background checks, health forms,  and miscellaneous release forms, we each had to answer a packet of questions about our family history and personal life. Because I'm a writer, this quickly turned into four single-spaced typed pages of responses. We still haven't had time to sit down and fill out the packet about our relationship or write a letter to potential biological families and foster children. That's our task for tomorrow; it's daunting to say the least. Once we submit this paperwork, then we'll move onto the family consultations (I think that's what they call them), where they inspect our home (ours might be a little delayed since we won't be able to move into our new home...yes...I said NEW HOME!...until May 23rd) and then interview us. I think we have at least three of these meetings...

It's been a long week. I think stress gave me the flu; I had a fever from Wednesday night until Thursday night and just felt miserable for 24 hours. Nate and I want so badly to be parents. It's been awhile since I last asked God why He has us going about it in such a non-traditional, uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful way...but in the last five days, this question has spilled out. Tonight as I wrestled with our infertility and failed attempt at adoption, I felt led to this verse:

So to keep me [Paul] from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." --2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

I haven't yet been able to boast about my weakness or trials, and I definitely haven't learned to take pleasure in these troubles, but the bolded lines bring me great comfort. Though it's painful to submit entirely to God's will for our family (which means letting go of the fear, the doubt, and the pain of infertility), I'm glad that I can rely on God's grace and power to hold me up when I'm weak. I'm exhausted right now, but I'm looking forward to what God's going to teach us and bring us along the way. 

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