When you welcome a foster child into your home, you welcome in the chaos. You take in a child, but you also take on paperwork, court hearings, CPS/attorney/CASA visits, bio family visitation, required doctor and dentist appointments, all kinds of therapies, and new behavioral challenges. It can, and very likely will, add stress to your life and to your marriage.
Protect Your Marriage
The extra weight of caring for foster kids, many of them from very hard places, has the ability to break your marriage if you let it. In light of this, throughout your foster care journey, I encourage you to protect your marriage at all costs. You can’t do this without your spouse. Plus, strong, healthy marriages naturally yield better parenting. Below are a few simple ways to help maintain a healthy marriage while doing foster care.
This is number one! Pray, pray, pray. I’m not sure how I’d do this without prayer. Pray on your own and with your spouse. Communicate specific prayer requests to your family and friends. Pray and staying in the Word are essential.
I say it all the time – grace upon grace. Give yourself grace, give your spouse grace, give friends and family grace. Foster care is hard and heartbreaking, not only for you, but also those around you. Give everyone a little extra dose of grace.
Live in Community
This is so big, y’all. Foster care can be such a lonely place. Don’t allow yourself to be or feel isolated. Get in touch with other foster parents in the area or a local foster care support group. Allow your friends and family to enter into the foster care madness with you. I know it’s risky to be that vulnerable, but the payoff is HUGE. I can’t tell you how often we have said or thought, I don’t know how we would do this without [insert friend’s name here]. Our people are essential to our ability to keep doing this. They won’t know what to say or how to help automatically, so tell them exactly what you need and give them grace to figure it out.
If you’re going to do foster care, you can’t be one of those couples where the kids are mom’s job. It’s simply not going to work. Mom will be exhausted in every way possible, and the whole family will suffer as a result. You’ve got to do this foster care thing as partners (I’d venture to say it should be this way even if you don’t foster, but I digress). There’s so much added to your plate when you accept a foster child into your home – so much that you don’t and won’t even realize until you’re already doing it.
A New Chapter of Your Marriage
Foster care will open up a new chapter of your marriage. You will spend this season in battle – battling for these kids, praying without ceasing, being their voice, warring against anyone who doesn’t have their best interest at heart. It will take its toll, and if you don’t fiercely protect your marriage, it can end up a casualty of war. You will do this very hard thing better together. Divide and conquer. Allow each other space to grieve or rest when needed. Keep Christ at the center of your marriage and your ministry. A healthy marriage allows your home to be a place of healing for your children and a source of glory for your God.
Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise-Friendly Blog Network! We’re all posting on the topic of “marriage” today. Be sure to check out our BFBN Pinterest page for the rest of the posts and others! And if you’re not already following me on Pinterest, you can check out my Pinterest page here.
BFBN Marriage Posts
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: How to Divide Responsibilities in a Marriage
The Journey of Parenthood: 5 Way to Get Out of a Marriage Valley
Wiley Adventures: One Quick Trick for a Happier and Healthier Marriage
Mama’s Organized Chaos: What I Want My Daughter to Notice About Our Marriage
Team Cartwright: Communication and Grace: Two Keys to Building Up Your Marriage in Times of Stress
Twinning Babywise: Date Night Babysitting Swap How To
If you don’t already, be sure to follow me on Facebook! I share all my blog posts there, as well as any pictures, posts, and articles that I find helpful, interesting, or funny. If you’re interested in getting basically a play-by-play of our lives, you can follow me on Instagram!