TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A NEEDY FOSTER MOM
It was a “perfect storm”. I got the flu, my husband was on a business trip; my “go to” friends were busy and my care team leader was in the process of an unexpected adoption. I thought I could push through, but the fever would not break.
I was facing a real dilemma. I could not afford to get an infant who had already detoxed in the ICU, sick. And my available children were running out of steam. It was heart warming and sad at the same time to hear my two sons try to coordinate care of their infant baby foster brother in the middle of the night. “YOU change his diaper and I’ll make the bottle! No YOU change his diaper because I am staying up for the 3am feeding.”
I sat in my bed and texted friends to “pray”. But really I was hinting for help. Why I couldn’t be direct, is beyond me. Maybe it’s that foster “pressure” to show I am stronger than the average “mom”. Maybe it’s because I am a seasoned mom. (Whatever that means.) Regardless, I felt things could get really out of control if I didn’t’ get my little one out of the “germ” zone as soon as possible. My cousin, another “seasoned mom” who lived 700 miles away texted, “you need to ask for help and I am going to pray you do it now.”
I sucked up my pride and texted a new friend I met at the Foster Tea, “Deanna, can you help me?” My “tea friend” swooped in and worked the foster mom “chain” to ensure I got respite care. The James family came to the rescue. The great thing about Bethany is that she picked up on my unspoken need for assurance. We hardly knew each other but she came to my house with a “sister” heart… and extra clothes. (Yes, I was behind on laundry). “It’s a blessing,” She said. “He’s easy!” she swore, as she sent smiley pictures of her kids holding him.
Another “tea friend” insisted I call a medical friend that was on her care team. “This is a stretch,” I thought. “She’s a busy young mom with a demanding job.” Maybe I should just stick it out. But again, I resisted pride and texted. “I feel terrible and I can’t get out of bed.” My sweet friend treated me like her mother. She put aside her busy schedule and called me back. She worked with me over the phone until we I had a prescription and recovery strategy in place. She even checked in on me between her rounds. “How’s my patient?”
I do hate feeling needy, but just like “grace” cannot exist without brokenness, “care” cannot exist without “needs”. Although I prefer to be on the other side of care, it only reminded me that my foster kids prefer to be on the other side of brokenness.
At the end of the “crisis” I had a deep abiding love for my “tea friends”! Not only this but I had renewed confidence that God cared about me personally in the process of my caring for foster kids whom He loved so dearly. Also I have come to respect the benefits of “neediness”. If my neediness helps me to relate to the foster kids world, where crisis disconnects them from their family; then it would stand to follow that humbleness helps me to relate to God’s world, where grace connects us, as family.