Hey, Brian here, also known as Daddy. Maggie (and various visitors) have requested that I share the Man's perspective on fostering, so I wanted to do a series of "guest" posts. I put "guests" in quotations because, while this is technically my family's blog, it's really Maggie's. I want to start from the beginning, before Jae and Zee, before X-man, before the girls, back when my life was "normal".
At the beginning of 2008, we were living a great, normal American life. We celebrated our first anniversary a week after closing on our first home. I was really enjoying my first job, and Maggie was winning employee of the month awards at her social work job. Life was easy, and I really liked that! About a month after we moved in to our house, we traveled to Dallas with a group of young adults from our church to the Passion conference. While we were there, a pastor named Francis Chan told a story during one of his talks about a woman in East Asia who had rescued over 100 children from brothels and taken them in, fed them and found them homes. Towards the end of the story, after talking about how many lives this woman had changed, he related it to the American dream (you know, owning a house, accumulating wealth, etc.) and asked "Would you rather wake up in twenty years to your big, beautifully decorated living room, or wake up knowing you've helped change the lives of dozens of children?"
Now we had talked even before we got married about how we would "someday" foster or adopt. But to me "someday" meant a long time away. "Someday" was after we had kids of our own and they were older. "Someday" was something other than "right now". But all signs were pointing to the fact that we were clearly being called to foster "right now" God had taken away all of our excuses (Not enough space? We had just purchased a 4 BR home. Not old enough? 1 Timothy 4:12. Not enough money? Matthew 6:25.), and the Passion conference was just the kick in the butt we needed to get it in gear.
Okay, so by now I had realized that this is something that we're supposed to do. But I still didn't want to do it. To me, it was a scary thing: I had never been a father, what if I wasn't good at it? I had never met a foster child, what if I couldn't love them? I had heard about what some of these kids go through, what if I just wasn't cut out to deal with it? And on top of all of that I really liked the life I already had. Why go out of my way to make myself uncomfortable? I was thinking about all of these things during my first day back at work after the Passion conference, trying to convince myself that this was the right thing to do, and that we should just do it. But without me knowing beforehand, Maggie that same day had already signed us up for classes! Now wives, I don't recommend that you do this! Maggie knows me pretty well and figured I just needed that last nudge in the right direction.
So that's how we started the training, but what about all of those fears I had? I asked a few of my good friends to pray for my heart, that God would change my heart and prepare me for being a foster dad. And while I did begin to feel peace about it, most of my fears didn't go away before we started fostering (I'll talk more about their resolution in my next post). And I guess that's the point. We're called as believers to be obedient in whatever God has for us. And while some fears are legitimate and we're called to be discerning, I knew that fostering is what God was calling us to do, so my own misgivings shouldn't matter. If your family is feeling God's call to foster or adopt, I challenge you to be obedient: the God who gave this self-centered man a heart for foster children will be faithful to his promises!
In my next post I'll talk about some of the fears I had about being a foster dad, and how many of them disappeared when we got our first placement. Please email and let us know if there are any specific questions you would like to have answered from a Daddy perspective.