It is said that during World War II that Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, found it almost impossible to sleep. He was never able to clear his mind of worries until he adopted these five words as his motto, “One step enough for me.” They are taken from an old hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light… Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see. The distant scene; one step enough for me.”
“Easy” is not a word I would use for our fostering journey.
As a foster parent, there are events you might not understand, things that keep you guessing, wondering and worrying. Things seem to happen all at once or they drag on for what seems like forever. We would love to have a crystal ball that gives us a clear understanding, calms our fears and ends our worrying. But that crystal ball does not exist, so we will have to settle for what God provides each of us… a simple lamp to our feet.
Worrying produces only stress. It robs today of its joy and drains the strength for tomorrow. It never gets you any closer to a solution. It’s easy to say, “Don’t worry,” but it is much harder to live by. Many times it requires you to live through something and learn from it.
For the three and a half years it took to us to adopt our daughter Lucy, I worried, fought, stressed and made myself sick with migraines the entire last year to adoption. I can tell you I quickly put a plan in place to change my ways after that. That method of overstressing would not work for the next seven years and 15 children!
“Alone” is not a word I would use either.
I learned to lean on my fellow foster friends for advice, a shoulder to cry on, a high-five or to simply vent. I became actively involved in our agency’s Foster Parent Advisory Council, attended meetings for Connecting Bridges (the local foster parent association), spoke as an ambassador, sat on panels and spoke at trainings. I did this to stay connected, educated and aware. Knowledge and understanding seem to lessen the wondering, questioning and worrying.
Finally, and most importantly in my life, I relied on my faith in God’s plan for our family and each child He brought to us. I gradually became OK with that simple lamp to guide just a single step at a time. It didn’t happen overnight, it wasn’t simple, and it involved the help and support of others. But it is now the only way I will do this! So, fellow foster parents, for now, just concentrate on a step at a time … one step at a time is just fine!!
WE ARE A COMMUNITY! WE WALK THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER!