"Abbi's Message" is written from the perspective of a teenager whose family decided to step boldly into the world of foster care.
Any kind of change from our day to day lives affects us either physically or mentally, sometimes even both. We have a certain homeostasis that we try to maintain. Our body avoids certain kinds of change on an everyday basis without us thinking about it usually. The human body is most healthy and comfortable at a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and does not prefer temperatures other than that one very much. That’s why it tries to fight against the discomfort that comes with differing temperatures. Our body attempts to retain heat if it becomes too cold, or we may sweat (super gross but according to my Google research, very necessary) in order to cool itself down to the preferred temperature. Our body temperature is not the only way our body avoids drastic change and tries to stick to its comfort zone.
We also often mentally struggle or take time to adjust to new situations. Whenever I step out of my comfort zone, about 1000 alarms go off in my head telling me to turn back as soon as I can and escape the scary, unfamiliar situation as soon as possible. Knowing this about myself, I figured the same was true for my foster sisters.
When they arrived, my family immediately strived to make them as comfortable and at home as possible, knowing how scary big changes can be. At first baking cookies and making their room as welcoming as possible seemed like a success in this. We wanted everything to be just right. However, after a short time, some challenges became apparent as their need for homeostasis kicked in. I can’t even imagine how difficult that was for them. Slowly but surely, with some resistance, change began to happen and become more real. Trying to be compassionate, we wanted to make the change as smooth and comfortable as possible, but that is not always possible.
Some days it felt like our family couldn’t do everything or meet every need perfectly. On these days, we felt like we only did “enough”. We didn’t want to do the bare minimum or just “enough”. We wanted to give this everything we could.
Now that I think about it, those days that left us feeling inadequate may have been exactly the way God designed it. If we could meet all of their needs every time, they wouldn’t see a need for God and we certainly wouldn’t either. And the Creator of homeostasis Himself knew they needed those days of “less of us” to have time to adapt to their rapidly changing new world. It was probably on those days, when we felt like failures because we were tired or busy, that they were feeling like they had moments to relax and adapt to a new normal.