Thursday, February 5, 2015

Foster Parenting and Marriage

It has been a while since I have felt I had anything much to write.  Most days by the time I get a few minutes where I could write, I am so depleted and exhausted that I feel I don't have anything left to give.  Writing helps me focus.  It helps me concentrate on the beauty within the difficulty and I need to carve that time out to make that happen.

As I sat down today and thought hard about what my greatest blessings are, I overwhelmingly could not stop thinking about Howard.  We have been married for going on fourteen years now.  I remember reading statistics about how the loss of a child affects a marriage and the divorce rate for those couples is significant.  Most stresses do have a negative affect on a marriage and after losing two children, a cancer diagnosis and just the every day stresses of life, we continue on the roller coaster of foster care which is kind of a definition of stress in and of itself.  

Like any relationship our marriage has had its ups and downs for sure and we've had our share of arguments and dry spells, but I can tell you that while foster care and adoption do add stress to our marriage, they have also solidified it in a way I am not sure would be possible otherwise.  Each day I watch this man love these six children.  He loves each of them with a reckless abandon, knowing we aren't promised another day with any of them.

Three of these children share his DNA, and three of them do not and when it comes to loving them...there is no difference.  Watching my husband selflessly love children born to other parents, some of whom we will only love for a short time, has been such a powerful force in our marriage.  I stand in awe of the testimony he is living out.  He adores each of these sweet blessings and for the time they are with us, they are his own.  He celebrates their every milestone and sets such an amazing example.

I've never known a better husband or father than this one right here.  He is loving and firm and constant, he is always available and slow to anger.  He is even tempered and rational when I am not.  He is the yin to my yang.  He is an encourager and a teacher. His arms are a safe place for each of these sweet babies and for me.  He always puts us before himself and is continually trying to help lighten my load in any way he can.

This current foster care case we are involved in is a tough has been stressful and has wreaked havoc on our lives, and each time I want to throw in the towel, he gently reminds me why we do what we do, he directs my eyes back to our Father who has called us to do this.  All children deserve a stable and loving place to be.

Foster care is so hard, but so is life and it is all worth it.  I can easily see how foster care could cause a great deal of wear and tear on a marriage, but for me I am grateful that the changes it has caused in mine are ones of strength and beauty.  I mean there really is nothing sexier than a man loving his babies...especially ones that don't share his genetics, right?  ;)

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