Over four years of fostering, we’ve learned a thing or two. Nearly always the hard way.
One lesson we’ve gotten wrong more than I care to admit reminds me of our first dear foster daughter. When frustrated or annoyed at someone (usually us), she would remark that “You do too much.”
While her definition never fully made sense to me, something else finally has.
We literally do too much.
We would fill a Saturday with a trip to the pool then lunch, haircuts, friends over, dinner, out for ice cream…
Each activity with expectations for attitudes and behaviors.
In 2015, five days after having a new placement, we drove 10 hours to North Carolina to celebrate Christmas with my family.
These kids were already trying to process being separated from their biological parents and living with strangers in a new home with new rules. Adding more new people and places didn’t help.
But it’s not as easy as simply stopping.
Some things can certainly be trimmed back or cut out. But others give pause.
Like Christmas. Our annual New Year’s Party. Or a long-scheduled vacation.
Canceling means canceling on friends and family and on ourselves. Which is okay sometimes, but sometimes it’s not.
And so once again, we’re back to that nasty word “balance.” Which really just means tension.
Striving to discern what’s most important when. And remembering grace when we don’t get it right.
Or even when we do.
Because most of the time we don’t know whether we got it right or didn’t. Whether we should have stretched and said “yes” to that call for a teen mom needing respite this weekend when we had already said “yes” to visit family. Or whether our “no” this time makes our “yes” better next time.