I have four children. This is a lot, did you know?
Let's be honest here. There are many times that the volume level in my house rivals a jet engine at takeoff. Often, my day consists of triage-ing the needs of my four children and deciding which screaming child, which bickering pair of kids, which gigantic mess needs my attention first. There are very few things that I avoid so strenuously as I do as a trip to the grocery store (or heaven forbid, Wal-Mart!) with my herd of children. At least once a
After finally getting pregnant with Max, I swore up and down that we were done, all the time knowing that we were supposed to have at least one more. Then Ian snuck in, completely unexpectedly, and when he was born, we finally felt whole, complete.
For a little while.
There's a long story behind the removal of my birth-control-of-choice, but all you really need to know (trust me) is that in the months since my fail-safe, don't-even-have-to-think-about-it birth control method has been gone, I've been filled with the unmistakable knowledge that our family isn't complete. I've tried to deny it. I've looked around at our chaos and wondered what I could possibly be thinking. I finally got up the courage to mention it to my husband, expecting that he would tell me that I was crazy insane.
Except then he didn't.
(This is hard for me to even write about, because I fully expect that virtually everyone who reads this will think me totally insane. I think I'm totally insane, if that makes you feel any better. One of the reasons I've been so absent from this blog for so long is because I haven't had the courage to sit down and write about it for fear of ridicule and people telling me that I've completely gone off the deep end. Trust me, it's not anything I don't know.)
We know there's a girl that needs to join our family, and we feel her absence from our family keenly. There have been many times in the past few months that I've been making dinner while Abby practices upstairs, Ashlynn practices downstairs and the two little boys are playing literally at my feet, and I look around, panicking because I don't know where the baby is. It always takes me a minute to realize that there's no baby. When we're out and about and I do the kid head count, I frequently have to remind myself that I have only four kids, not five, and don't need to go running around like a crazy lady because I've lost a kid that doesn't exist. (Further proof that I've lost it: when I typed that last sentence, I typed "only five kids." See, told ya.) My husband has had similar experiences.
But it gets better. Tom and I equally as convinced that this baby is not coming from us. This has been hard for me. While I don't love being pregnant, I love little babies, and would gladly cuddle a newborn daily for the rest of forever. But we've known since shortly after we were married that someday we would do foster care and/or adopt a child, and we can't deny any more that this is the right time to pursue it.
There are many reasons why we shouldn't do this, chief among them being that I already have an entire herd of children, two of which I'm homeschooling, and a whopping 22 violin students. I've been immersing myself in foster care and adoption blogs, and I've learned that above all, foster care can be incredibly unpredictable, which scares the daylights out of my control freak self. I'm worried about how it may change the dynamics of my family, and how it may affect my girls if we have a disrupted placement. I'm worried about the chaos that may result from suddenly adding a new member to the family, and how we'll manage everything that comes with a foster placement.
But for as many reasons as there are not to do it, there are reasons why we should. While I joke about how crazy our house is, there is a lot of fun here. Good food, lots of music, many laughs, much love. I am not afraid of special medical needs, and I know that we have many blessings to share.
We're meeting with someone from Utah Foster Care Thursday night. We have a million questions. We're nervous, we're probably a little naive, we're more than a little green behind the ears. Yes, we may be a little crazy. But above all, we're excited to follow this path and see where we end up.
Any tips? Anyone have experiences doing foster care? We'd love to hear from you.