We are Not Islands

Foster training classes are no joke. My husband and I are being prepared for so many things we never thought about, and there are still a few classes to go. One thing I am realizing is that so many things can be avoided if we just ask for help.

Us parents always feel like we have to do everything alone or else we must be failing. If we can’t do what needs to be done for our kids, what good are we? The thing is, none of us was meant to do life alone. If a parent has a drinking or drug problem, they may be too embarrassed to seek out assistance. If they are being abused physically or verbally, they may think they deserve it and just accept it instead of finding someone who will help them. When a parent loses a job, they can easily spiral by trying to do more than they can on their own.

Asking for help is the furthest thing from simple, so please don’t think I am trivializing situations. Serious problems happen all the time, and we are rarely prepared. Some situations start small and get bigger over time. It is easy to deny there is something wrong even when it can seem obvious to an outsider. It can feel like we have to do everything else first before reaching out to someone more qualified, and that is a shame.

Asking for help from family and friends lately has been so difficult for me. I never want to impose on a friendship, even though I would help them in a heartbeat. Isn’t it funny how we think that way? When I was recovering from my fall, I just wanted to keep to myself and heal, even when others offered dinners and grocery runs. This month we have had all kinds of childcare needs that have almost paralyzed me. It has been enough at times for me to want to say, “This fostering thing is too hard. There is too much to do, so let’s back out.” But when I have asked people for help, they have been gracious and excited. People want to jump in and get this out of the way so we can bring precious children into our home. I have really been humbled.

If we can move past our own misconceptions and accept our limitations, we can do so much together. Parenting is a partnership between the parents as well as the community. Unless we really live on a deserted island, there are people around who would be honored to help us with our needs. This can include childcare, job searches, loans, a listening ear, running errands, giving a ride, delivering meals, and just being there when someone has a problem they have no idea how to overcome. Not every issue is simple, but there are always simple ways to show someone they are seen and cared for so they can go tackle the big problems bravely.

If you have a situation you need help with, please reach out to someone. And if you know someone who you see struggling, by all means, offer whatever help you can. Together we can make this world better and safer for everyone. A little help from a friend goes a long way.

Linking with Holley Gerth

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2 thoughts on “We are Not Islands

  1. Praying that God will surround you with community, with help, with support, with love as you continue to head toward fostering. We weren’t meant to do life alone, were we.

    I know that there must be other foster parents around that are just WAITING for someone like you to walk into their lives.

    May we learn how to give and receive with grace.

    What a thought-provoking piece today, Sarah …

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