Have you ever been absolutely sure of something only to find out you were wrong? Have you had a sense that you knew something was right…or going to happen… and then it isn’t, or didn’t! What do you do with that disorienting state?
There is a lot of information out there for us to process. From it we form opinions about our world and how it operates. We make assumptions about how that will unfold and set our course accordingly. Sometimes it plays out exactly how we thought it would. Sometimes it doesn’t!
So how do you deal with the disappointment and disorientation when something you were sure about doesn’t happen the way you thought?
Hope is necessary for us as humans to engage with the broken world we live in! We all hope that the weather will be nice, that the day will go well, that the pandemic will eventually be over…
Some hope for a raise, a lottery win, a miracle in their health or finances…
We all need to look ahead with hope for a better future no matter what that looks like.
In the world of Foster Care that seems particularly fragile.
As kids are brought into care the hope is that with supports their parent will pull things back together and the kids will return to them. We chose to hope for the Other Mother the best possible outcome. Time and effort is put into trying to help this happen. Sometimes that hope leads to disappointment… for both parent and child. The reality in the world of addictions and mental health is that there are many who don’t win the battle for freedom.
When the initial plan doesn’t work out the hope is that extended family will be willing and able to step in and welcome the kids back into the family dynamic. Relationships are explored and time is spent to see if this is the way forward for everyone. Sometimes family is not in a position that lets them take on the extra responsibility. Life is complicated and abruptly adding extra kids is daunting. This is often a fragile hope and a scary one for kids to explore! Taking the risk to get to know extended family and hope they will choose to step in while bracing themselves for disappointment.
The hope for a permanent home for these kids, that will provide for them a future of security and love, then turns to other sources. A Foster Home is never meant to be a permanent home. You prepare to love and nurture for a season and then let go. The relationship might last forever but the responsibility isn’t meant to. The hope is adoption, permanent guardian ship or what… how do we even know what to hope for.
As an adult I look at all this and feel confounded by the complexity and difficulty of this journey. How do children navigate these waters? What do they see as they look ahead?
It never occurred to me growing up that my world would be anything other than being raised in a family that loved me. Even when tough times rocked the world I grew up in I never worried about having a place to call home. I didn’t have to “hope” for love and security. I had it. It seems that is how it should be.
This is what every child wants, and should have. This is what children in Foster Care face… hoping for something that should have been theirs in the first place.
How many times will they dare to hope for something in the face of disappointments.
My prayer is that we will give them a hope that lasts!
In the midst of the mess