All the single carers, put your hands up!

Julie shares from her experiences as a single foster carer.

My first few years of fostering, I only told a few people, mainly because I needed time to get my head around the whirlwind of it all. Yet, over the past few years I've been shouting it from the roof tops, not to put the spotlight on me but to point it on the children who still need a home.

One of the conversations I've been having a lot has been about how you can foster as a single carer - and sometimes about whether it's even possible! So, let's address this and bust this myth once and for all...

Yes. Yes, you can foster if you are single.

Here are of a few of the comments that people have said to me over the years...

"Wouldn't you be better off waiting until you were married?"

Probably. But unfortunately there is no straight forward formula to life. I didn't want to wait on the sidelines when, really, I wanted to be on the field. Life is short and the need is fierce. So, for me, I didn't want to wait because I didn't want to get caught up in the "I will wait until I'm married... I'll wait to we have our own kids... I'll wait until they're grown up...."

Whilst all these things are valid reasons, I was afraid there would always be an 'and then' and in the meantime, children are waiting.

"Can you manage it on your own?"

No, I absolutely cannot.

And with the added bonus of having never mothered a child before to add into the mix, I had to overcome my own feeling of being incompetent, which never really fully dissolves. It's always there lurking in the background but I just take it with me for the ride. The difference is that although it may come with me, it doesn't stop me.

But no one can do it on their own. I am not an exception because I am doing this as a single carer. We all need our village. Let's be realistic about this, you need an AMAZING support network as a carer. The next phone call I make after agreeing a placement is to my family, because they play their role in this too.

"Don't you need parenting experience?"

It might certainly help, but it's not imperative. Am I the most qualified or experienced? Heck no. I am loitering around the parenting door whilst others have burst there way through. Doubts come like fireflies, distracting my eyes to look off course... Some come like thunderbolts, lighting up the sky with “WHO ARE KIDDING? YOU CAN'T DO THIS!’

In the sinking sand of insecurities I needed the solid ground of a promise, and so David became my best friend. Hand in hand he helped me walk though those doubts because he had experienced it too. He wasn’t the tallest or the strongest - and let’s face it, in an interview for the position of warrior, it would be a resounding “we’ll call you” (1 Samuel 17:33)

YET...

When God is in it, we need not doubt. We focus on His strength rather than our weakness. It's not just for us to read about how BIG he is, but for our lives to be a beaming testament of the magnitude of it. To live this out, fully and wildly, this is the adventure.

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves;for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.1 Samuel 17:47

God doesn't need me to be the best (thank goodness), and sometimes the fear of us not being the best can keep us from saying the yes. Yet it's all God asks for. In our obedient 'yes', He equips us for the path.

"I know you have a heart for this, but won't this stop you from meeting someone?"

I serve a big God, of unimaginable cosmic proportions and bigger still. He is not confined to the ways and means of our culture. My role is this is to be obedient and let God be God.

What is so lovely is at this life stage, children and young people have my complete undivided attention, and because of the trauma they have suffered this is an incredible resource. There is time and attention that I can give in this season that is utterly unique.

"Don't you miss going out with your friends?"

I still can! It's just about managing time.

But really, I just love being part of life for the young people who come and stay with me. There is just so much JOY! There is no greater privilege than introducing love to a child who may never have experienced it. It is magical.

Fostering has been one of the greatest way of helping me understand God's love for me. He doesn't judge me for my past or stick a label on me that boxes me in for life. Instead, He welcomes me in and allows me to feast at His table. What a privilege to receive this - and what a privilege to be able to offer this to others.

Author:
Julie (Village Faith)


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