Living in Tension

Foster and adoptive parents need community. I’ve written about that before. But this afternoon, at our monthly foster and adoption support group, I realized that we must live in tension with something that is the polar opposite of community: space. Both are essential for our health.

Those that have chosen the foster care and adoption world have answered a divine calling to care for the orphans; the fatherless and motherless of our society. For those of us that foster, our civic responsibly is to come alongside the biological parents and strive toward reunification when possible.

Regardless of the track, regardless of the situation, it’s going to have plenty of hard moments.

We need community because it’s a hard burden to bear. We need space to work through the intricacies of each situation. We need community to provide support and encouragement.

We need space to allow our children to heal and recover. We need community to surround us with resources. We need space to allow those resources to work.

Sometimes, finding balance in that tension is hard.

In 2019, we learned the value of both. And, we learned that finding that both space and community are equally necessary. If there’s one thing that is important to those coming alongside those fostering and adopting children, its that there is a critical need to encourage community and a need to encourage space.

Around the table tonight, there were some tough stories. Years of waiting. Gut-wrenching decisions. Judicial injustice at the expense of children. Raw honesty. But also, beautiful tapestries of families created through tragedy. Testimonies of healing through stability and permanency.

There’s often a moment in our week when we’re either dealing with a high, exciting moment or when the issues are raging. For me, there’s often the decision point of when to reach out to community or to rest in the space to privately deal with the things (or celebrations) at hand.

I know from others that support those on the foster/adoptive journey, there is also a tension of when to get involved and offer support or advice and when its best to step back and let things play out.

We’re so blessed to be surrounded by many who support our family in numerous ways. We’re thankful we have had help at an arm’s reach and also for quiet moments to work things out. We’re excited to be in a place with much more wisdom and experience than a year ago to share with others walking this path.

Embrace community with all you have. Embrace the space to be a family, working through issues, with all you have. Both are essential to this calling we’ve all answered.

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