As I've mentioned before, we are in the process of receiving our foster care license. We attended the training, we have our home study, and we've gathered reference letters from our friends. Now there's just one thing left to do: the dreaded "Statement of Guardianship Form."
Before getting into it, I have to give a disclaimer that the Guardianship Form is not required by the state when DPHHS is the one licensing you. However, we are being licensed by Sacred Portion Children's Outreach in Bozeman, and they DO require it. Just to clarify.
Anyway, the Guardianship Form must be filled out and notarized by whoever it is we select for the tremendous and terrifying responsibility of taking custody of our children if something were to happen to both Andy and I. Yikes. It's not something I like to think about. But I'm being forced to.
So how do you decide whom you would want to have raise your children if you were to die? How do you imagine a world where you are gone and your kids are placed in someone else's hands? How do you know which situation would be best for them when you're not there? Each state is different, but in the state of Montana, if you and your spouse die without leaving any kind of Statement of Guardianship, the state determines your children's guardian. Yikes again.
This is an incredibly difficult conversation to have with your spouse. It's an incredibly difficult problem to consider from any angle. And this is what we've been struggling through in our family lately. A couple years ago, we thought we knew the answer to this question, but since then our lives and the lives of our previously named guardians have changed dramatically, forcing us to reassess. So now what?
As I laid awake the other night fretting over this issue, an interesting thought occurred to me: I'm not that great of a parent. So, what if I don't die? Am I giving as much thought and prayer to what will happen to my kids if I stick around as I am to what will happen to them if I don't? If I'm worried about who would take care of them if I died, shouldn't I be even more worried about how well I will take care of them if I live?
Don't get me wrong here. Choosing a guardian is an extremely important decision that makes me seize up just thinking about it. But choosing to parent well is an even more important decision. Plus, at the end of the day, God alone is in control of the future. He will love and take care of my children better than anyone, regardless of who I choose as their guardians. Now THAT'S something to stay awake at night pondering!
So instead of worrying so much about who would take care of my kids in an unlikely event, maybe I should be more concerned about being a better mom. Double yikes with a holy smokes on top.