So, multiple times this week I have been asked why Justin and I don’t adopt kids that we foster. While we have many friends who have adopted, which is such an amazing thing, it’s just not where our heart is. As foster parents, especially to teens, we are not traditional parents- we are mentors, counselors, teachers, advice givers. For some kids, we are the stepping stone to finding their “forever family”, for some the place of healing on their way back home, for some a small piece of their big picture. We have days in which we really don’t like our kids, but rely on the love that God has given us to pour into them. We have days of breakthroughs and great joy. We have days in which we feel more like professionals than parents- strategizing, analyzing, documenting, etc. I mean what parent keeps behavior logs on their children or write down events that preceded all 15 meltdowns of the day. It’s kinda weird, but it’s what our kids need. It’s what we need too- God has put (at least in me- I can’t speak for Justin) a scientific mind that craves to discover what makes our kids tick and then go with it, whether it’s martial arts, talking in one of my many personas, animal care, or even screaming along to some Lincoln Park (E’s favorite). It is so fulfilling to find the thing that works to calm them, to increase their confidence, to connect, or to get them to actually talk to you- it’s a part of what God has made me to do. I hope that in the years to come many children will pass through our lives and maybe some will even come back to visit as a part of our “unofficial”, “no paperwork required” forever family.