Tuesday, June 29, 2010

FWL Episode 01 - The Calm Before The Storm

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Hi. My name is Dan and I'm about to become a foster parent! Come along for the ride. My goal in creating this blog and podcast is to share my experiences so that others can get a glimpse of what it's like to be a foster parent. If you're thinking about becoming a foster parent, I hope this will be an encouragement and a tool for you in making your decision. Don't have time to read? Don't like to read? Download the mp3 and listen on your commute, listen with the player provided on this page as you read the blog post, or listen with others. Hopefully it will inspire some thoughts on foster parenting, or some great dialogue between you and your significant other. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about bringing foster children into our home, but I'm also very excited.

When my wife and I first started talking about becoming foster parents, I went to the web to try and find stories of foster parents and foster children. I wanted to know what their experiences were like so that I could get a picture of what it might be like. The fear of the unknown was looming over me. That little voice inside my head keeps whispering, "What are you getting yourself into? This won't be easy, just stick to what you're doing now." I combat that with the thought that even if I can impact one child's life in a positive way, help them learn to bond, give them hope, or just provide a safe place for them to grow, then isn't that so much better than being comfortable? It's not going to be easy, I love being comfortable. In fact I'd go so far as to say that an idol I struggle with is comfort. It's the American way, but it's not the biblical way. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I never like driving anywhere unless I know exactly how to get there. I love routine, knowing exactly what's coming. I never like attempting things unless I know I can succeed in them. I don't know how I'll do as a foster parent, but the only way to find out is to try. Still, it's very hard for me. Luckily my amazing wife is very much a doer, and she thrives in chaos and diving into things head first. She goes into situations with the confidence that she'll figure it out. I'm learning this confidence, and she's learning that sometimes it's better to stop and think about it before diving in head first. we make a good team.

I don't want fear to rule my life, I want God Almighty to. So rather than give into my fear that foster parenting will be scary and crazy, I'm going to say let's do this! After all, God can work best in me when I'm broken. Then I can get out of his way with my pride and fear and let him work through me. I hope that becoming a foster parent will help me to continue my ongoing quest to slay selfishness and fear in my life. Marriage and parenthood have already helped tremendously, but I could definitely use more in my life to help me with these goals. Living for comfort out of fear is not going to get me there. I give you this verse from the ESV translation of the bible, on I need to read continually.

James 2:2-11

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Awesome. God's word can speak to these issues so much better than I can. Now to address the idea behind the title of this first blog post and podcast episode. Although my wife and I have participated in a lot of training in the last few weeks, right now life is still pretty much the same as it's always been, and we're just waiting and wondering. Wondering what it will be like when we're in the thick of it. We've taken the P.R.I.D.E. training classes from two commendable ladies with a classroom full of other foster parents to be. We've had the home study done, giving our excellent foster care licenser our life story and letting her inspect our house. We've done an all day C.P.R. and First Aid training class at the hospital downtown. But we're still just waiting.

We've heard a lot of stories, but what is it really like on a day to day basis? With childcare, I think training and research are great tools, and can be very important, but a lot of it is truly learned in hands on situations. What will that be like? There was no instruction manual for our son when we brought him home from the hospital, and while there is much literature on how to handle children with different needs, every child is different. One book that stands out as a recommendation among foster parents I've heard about is Love and Logic. Here is a link to their web site: http://www.loveandlogic.com/. If you follow the link you'll find their website with a lot of great content, even a podcast. I haven't read the book yet, but I'm planning on it. Once I finish it, I'll post about it, and the website looks great too so I'll be posting about it as well. While I'm on the subject, another podcast about being foster parents you should check out is the Foster Parenting Podcast, found here: http://fosterpodcast.com/. I've really been enjoying it, a husband and wife share their experiences as foster parents, and it's one of the main influences for this blog and podcast. I'm only on episode 19 and I've already learned a lot; and they're up to 81 episodes as I write this. Ok, back to the theme of this post, the calm before the storm.

As much as we can try and prepare ourselves for foster care, right now it's just waiting for that first phone call. Waiting for that first time you meet a foster child. The first time you bring them home. What it will be like after you've had them for a week, a month. What it may be like to have to say goodbye to them as they are reunified with their parent's or family once they've been in your home for a long time and you have bonded with them. We heard that many children are little angels for a while when they first come into your home, but then they begin to act out after they've been there for a while. What will that be like? So many questions, and all we can do is wait. Well, while you're waiting I hope you can find something useful and valuable out of the experiences I'm going to share, and for those of you who are already foster parents, please leave comments sharing your wealth of wisdom; I could sure use it. My next blog post should be after we've taken in our first foster child. I'm very excited for that to finally happen, and as stressful as it may be, hopefully we'll be positively impacting the life of another human being. This is our purpose in becoming foster parents. I'll leave you with this verse from the ESV translation of the bible.

James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


Music Used - "Endless Love" by Jackie Chan & Kim Hee-Seon


  1. Dan, great job on your first podcast, and thanks for the shout out! We're excited to hear more of your story. And we'll put in a plug for you on our show once you have three or four episodes up for people to check out. Can't wait to see how God uses your home.

    T & W

  2. Wow, thank you so much! The next episode will be out early this week, within a day or two. We've had a little guy placed with us now for four days, lot's to share for the next episode! Thank you for your show, it's been very inspiring, and has helped me to be more confident in my decision with my wife to become foster parents. As I said, you guys are an inspiration and thank you for the great work you're doing for those kids. God smiles down on you guys, it's no easy job. Thanks for the comment, it's so cool to have one from you guys, humbling and awesome! :)

  3. Dan,

    I just found you blog/podcast from the comments on FPP. My husband and I have guest hosted a few episodes recently. We have just been foster parents a few months; we are already on our second placement of two kiddos. I cannot wait to hear more about your experience.


  4. Awesome, thank you so much! It's amazing to have an audience after 1 episode! :) Especially one whom I have tons of respect for. I can't wait to hear your guy's story. I'm getting up in the later 30s for FPP episodes right now. I'll be there soon! Thanks for the comments!

  5. I've been following the FPP for over a year (off and on...) I'll have to go back and catch up to listen you yours too. We've been licensed in the state of Idaho for a little over a year. We're on placement #4 (not including the respite kids here and there...) and we're praying #4...stays! :)

  6. Oh...and random...I just looked at your profile...we're practically neighbors! We're in Hayden.

  7. Stephanie,

    Thanks for the comment. I started The Foster Parenting Podcast around 2 months ago, and just finished their latest episode today. Being all caught up means I have to wait for the next episode :(

    I'm thrilled that you're going to go back and listen to my past episodes. I hope it is encouraging and inspiring to you. On placement number four eh? A little farther along than us, that's great! We still haven't had a child go home except one placement we had for 3 days, I know that will be hard and hopefully a heartfelt future episode about the experience. Best of luck with number four placement staying, I'll shoot out a quick prayer for you as soon as I post this comment. And hey, wow, we are very close. I live in Spokane, but work in Coeur d'Alene, so I drive through your town twice a weekday. Small world! :)

    Thank you so much for commenting!

  8. Thanks for the prayer!
    Our first baby we had for 5 days, then a four year old for 3 weeks, then another baby for 5 days and now our little guy whom we've had for almost 6 months. Our six month court date is next week. Right now the recommendation from DHW and CASA is for baby to stay where he is...unless the judge throws a kink in it, that's what we're expecting. Idaho law just changed in the last couple of years...a child has to be in care for 15 out of 22 months (either in a row or broken up) and then they start termination....we shall see...it's complicated (aren't they all!?)

    Yikes that a commute-at least you're driving the opposite direction of the major traffic. We did the commute for awhile too and finally just said forget this and moved into Idaho. My husband works for the city of CDA...crazy small world!

  9. Wow, that's a lot of varied placement lengths. They are all complicated aren't they? Hope you guys get to give the little guy a forever home. I love the commute because I use it to consume mass amounts of podcasts and audiobooks :) Thank you so much for your comments, I really appreciate it.

  10. Hello Dan - You are a God sent. I am in the mist of listening to the very first episode. You explaining yourself and your wife - are identical to my husband and I. We are certified foster adopt parents and had our first child placed with us last year and she left us in June of 2010 to be reunified with her family. We have taken some time off as I gave birth to my second son in March 2010. We are feeling the need out in the world and especially here in Los Angeles. We are looking to get back into parenting children through fostercare. Thank you for putting these podcast out.

  11. Hi a_smile, thanks for the great comment! I'm so glad you found the podcast, I hope it's worth your time and you get something out of it! Sounds like you had that child for a while, I bet it was hard to see them go. Thanks for doing foster care, you're a hero!