My wife got this from her sister and I’m sure she’s not the first to think it either: When you are involved in foster care you rearrange rooms, especially bedrooms, a lot.
Over the last year and a half, the arrangements of our three available bedrooms have been:
Bedroom 1: Child’s room (bunk), guest room, nursery
Bedroom 2: Empty (no beds), child’s room (2 beds), child’s room (1 bed), empty (1 bed)
Bedroom 3: Guest room and storage, child’s room (3 beds), nursery, guest room, child’s room (2 beds)
Every change we have made has been to fit the number and need of the children with us in any given moment or to anticipate placements we thought we would receive. The change in the rooms, however, represent the reality that foster care involves a lot of change and upheaval.
Since the first goal of foster care is reunification, that means a particular child or sibling group will (likely) only be with you a short season. For us, so far, the shortest has been a month and a half, and the longest has been eight months. With each placement there are new faces, names, ages, stories, and personalities; not to mention families, involvement, schools, schedules, and caseworkers.
Sometimes, even, your house can sit mostly empty for a while, then you get a call, and in a matter of hours the number of children under your roof triples.
And what do you do? You learn to roll with the changes.
There is comfort in sameness, but foster care is not about comfort, it’s about being willing to upend chunks of your life for the kids who have had their whole lives turned upside down. You accept the chaos to walk with them through theirs.
So, here’s to constantly rearranging bedrooms.