Recently me and my wife have set out on the adventure of fostering. We heard many concerns. The one that stuck out to me was the concern for our hearts. The question would often be phased like.
“I don’t know if I would be able to let go of a child after, I had fallen in love with them.”
What has become very apparent to me with this first child is how fluid parenting is. When you have a baby, mommas have very real bonds established before the child sees daylight.
Fatherhood has a lot of that but it seemed to all happen for me over the first few days of Gideon’s life. Very quickly I had bonds of my own with my son, ones that were different from Nikki’s but just as strong. Then comes foster care. We knew what God had brought us through in the very hard pregnancies, in the early part of our marriage. Nikki’s child hood had been hard and there was a time when I did not have a friend with a married mom and Dad; I saw the pain that it caused.
So we jumped in as God directed and we became licensed to foster. Adding a random traumatized child to your home seems like a bad choice logically, considering there is very little chance to learn where they are really coming from and what kind of baggage is coming with them. Add him we did, knowing full and well that it may be very painful in the coming, and the going.
What surprised me here recently was an accidental slip of the tongue. I accidentally referred to Nikki as momma and I was met with a very quick correction.
“You are not my parents”.
It stuck deep in the flesh like a perfectly fired arrow. I apologized reassured him that we were not trying to replace his parents and took the time to to explain what mine and Nikki’s role was in his life. However, that night I had to ask myself was I not his dad?
I know that I am not. I know that he is a boy needing a home. I know that I am providing that home and protection while his world can be righted. However, if I am honest I forgot for a moment and when we are playing and having fun or going through the day all of us together, I forget then too. I don’t just play the part, I am the part.
Which is why I say parenting is fluid. in my experience it has easily flowed into this new relationship. What an odd thing that is. An odd beautiful mystery Christ has wove into the adult to child relationship.