805. The number absolutely astounds me.

Our foster daughters have been with us for 805 days.

This foster journey has taken us up hills and down through valleys. Through it all, I imagined we would know where their case was headed by now.

But unfortunately, we are dealing with uncertainty. We still don’t have a concrete idea of whether the girls will be reunited with a parent/sibling or if we will head toward adoption.

How to Deal with Uncertainty - shown in pic: Woman with hair up facing away, looking out into a blurry field background

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The unpredictability of it all could definitely drive a person crazy. Taking care of a child’s every need, bonding over life experiences, and tucking them in every night for over 2 years has bonded us tightly to each other. They are my children through and through.

Yet, they may leave.

I believe that the same God who lovingly made the birds of the air and the flowers of the field knows our fears. The same God who knows the number of hairs on my head, is not somehow unaware of my sweet girls and their situation. He is very aware.

I place my hope, my trust in God, that His will is better than my own.

That doesn’t mean these sweet girls will stay with us. It doesn’t mean they will leave. It means that God is in control of our future.

I trust that God will take care of our girls. Not that their lives or our lives will always be easy or full of happiness. God never guaranteed His people a life of happiness. Rather, I trust that God will be with us in all things, bring us comfort in our trials, and be with our little ones as they grow.

Dale Carnegie

My husband had a Dale Carnegie training several years ago. When he tries to compliment me into doing something, I can recognize that I am being “Dale Carnegie-d.” We often joke about Dale’s ingenious tactics. Dale has some great advice for dealing with uncertainty. In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” he says that in stressful situations you need ask yourself:

1) What can I do about it and what can’t I do about it?

2) Come up with the absolute worst case scenario.

3) Now get to work. Improve the worst case scenario in a logical manner.

For us, as foster parents, it doesn’t do any good for us to wring our hands daily about losing the girls. (And in the same vein of thought, you can’t let the worry of loss keep you from fostering.)

We know that ultimately all we can do is love on the girls, care for their needs, keep precise records, keep caseworkers and CASA workers informed about the situations and behaviors we deal with, and realize that after we have done our part, it’s in God’s hands.

Pictured:  my family (husband, 3 kids, and myself) walking away from camera holding hands

Our worst case scenario is that the girls leave and that my husband and I and our 2 biological kids are devastated. But…there are ways that we can improve upon that worst case scenario.

1) Recognize there will be some warning

I take comfort in the thought that there will be some warning to this loss. We can prepare our children (and ourselves) to say goodbye. It would be highly unlikely that we would not have warning before they left to live with a parent/sibling. In the past, we did have 2 foster children who left within an hour after we got a phone call. So, that certainly does happen in foster care. However, with our current case, it would be unlikely.

2) Acknowledge Success

If the girls do return to a biological parent, there will be the hope for the future that comes with reunification. A life has been changed. A biological parent made the choice to get their life back on track. We have to acknowledge this success as an amazing thing. As a Christian, I believe people can truly change their lives, and turn their hearts to God. Yes, there is always the temptation to be skeptical… “did they really change?” But, ultimately, God is in control. He knows their hearts and His plan is better than mine.

I have to admit to you, I started this article a LONG time ago. I open it up every 100 days or so…add to the ever increasing number of days the girls have been with us and write a little bit more. Then, I drop it for another few months. It’s because I find writing about foster care hard. Because, let’s be honest, foster care is hard.

How to deal with uncertainty in foster care (shown: baby hand on top of large adult hand)

So, how do we deal with uncertainty in Foster Care?

Rely on God. Lean on Him. Do what you can, both physically and mentally to prepare for the worst case scenario. But, in the end, it’s a matter of faith. You have to let go.

There is always a loss in foster care. Either the foster parent loses the child or the bio parent loses the child. Someone loses. Can you endure the possibility of loss so that a child can be safe and loved for the time that they are with you?

We’ve been fostering for 6 years and I still have to ask myself that question constantly.

It’s not easy. The way is paved with uncertainty. But the God who led his people through the wilderness to Canaan is the same God who is with you. The God who listened to Jehoshaphat in his distress and protected the people of Judah is listening. (2 Chronicles 20)

God is with you. If you seek God, and seek to do His will, He will be with you….even in the uncertainties of life.

Other Articles you Might Enjoy:

How to Instill Faith in Your Child

Fostering with Biological Children

The Form: A Little Parenting Humor

Considering Foster care?  Real talk from a foster mom in the trenches  (shown mom, dad, kissing little baby girl)