Sometimes God asks us to go on a wild ride and trust Him even when it’s hard. This has been my month. Although jumping back into fostering has been so positive and having the weight of these babies in our arms is priceless, the all too familiar out-of-control, scary, unknown aspect of foster care is back.
We have these words to people we meet who learn we are foster parents: “we treat each day as a gift,” “we are never guaranteed time with anyone but that doesn’t make us love them less,” “they are our babies while we have them,” “we fight for our kids who have no voice,” etc. On most days I truly believe these words, but not everyday is most days. Foster care is hard.
I’ve often heard fellow foster parents describe their time in foster care and it seems unanimous. When you go through training you’re presented with tons of different scenarios. You’re “prepared” by the end of training. You leave with your “we’re going to love on these sweet babies, unicorn, and roses” glasses on. I think everyone’s glasses come off at different times. Our first case was described as “very unique” (not that there is a normal anyways!) so our glasses came off quickly. We drove thousands of miles to appointments, spent, on average, 15 hours a week on the phone, 8 hours a week writing reports, 4 hours a week with social workers visiting our home, and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week loving on these babies. There were days when the brokenness of the system wore into my bones, and other days when I saw the system behave the way it was designed. It’s a broken world but on some days, the system seemed to benefit at least one person. Either way we love and love without bounds. We are NOT special. We aren’t different. God gave us the same hearts as anyone else but I believe He did place this particular desire on our hearts and now that we’ve been immersed in this foster care world, we have a responsibility here. There are days I don’t want that responsibility though. Days I want to throw in the towel. After our Baby J left, I lost a piece of my heart that will never return. That was the day this system failed this little boy. That was the day we witnessed injustice and our hands were tied because all we could do was pack up his things and kiss our baby goodbye. We hoped he wouldn’t forget us, told him we love him 100x over, and packed him up with the pictures we had taken over his time with us. The ache in my heart is here to stay. I can’t imagine it will ever go away. I miss his sweet hand press against my chest when he smiles at me. I miss him calling me mama. He has a smile that can light up the room. The weirdest part about all this? He’s not gone. He’s just gone from us.
I’m stubborn by nature. I like to prove people wrong, have no problem standing up for myself, and typically work best when I’m frustrated. This journey of foster care has broken me. It has changed me. It’s given me an element of compassion I couldn’t have gotten from anywhere else. It comes from this whole out-of-our-control experience. I may not understand the choices birth parents make but I love them in some weird way. I was all too prepared to hate them and instead find myself hating their actions, hating their circumstances, hating how it effects these babies, but overall, having some kind of love and compassion for them. There’s something about coming along side another human and trying to show them God’s love. After all, we are just as broken as they are. But I’ll tell you, I go to bed exhausted. I’ve never been an emotional person and I have more emotions than my mother now. Yikes!
Until next week… have a good weekend, sweet friends!