Tell us a little about yourself.
“Howdy! I’m Chrystal… mom of three boys and one foster daughter (ages 12, 10, 4 and 1) and wife to my forever sweetheart. We live in the quiet suburbs of Austin, TX and my greatest passions are motherhood, natural/healthy living, and chasing Jesus around in the hard and broken places where He’s easiest to find.”
How long have you been a foster parent and how many kiddos have you fostered?
“We decided to jump into the wild world of foster care in 2013 and had our first placement in our arms within two weeks of being licensed in April of 2014. She was 8 months old when she came to us and we’ve had the privilege of loving on her for the past eight months and watching her grow into a bright busy little toddler. Our future with her is still uncertain and we count each day with her in our home as a gift that we were never promised. We’ve also been blessed to be able to form a beautiful relationship with her birth mom and help love her through this impossibly difficult time in her life.”
What made you want to become a foster mom?
“Honestly, I’ve always been the person who has said to other foster parents ‘I’m so thankful there are people like you in this world… I could never do that.’ I feared I would get ‘too attached’ and wouldn’t be able to live through loving a child as our own then handing him or her back. Thankfully, God shook some sense into me in 2013 and made me see that He would be the One bearing the load—I just needed to follow. So we chose to take the leap and haven’t regretted a single minute of it. It’s been hard and painful and exhausting but has also brought so much joy into our lives, and grown our family in ways that we could never have imagined. Often hard, always worth it.”
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a mama of fosters?
“The days when I let the ‘what ifs’ eat me alive. Foster care is overflowing with ‘what ifs’ and unknowns and uncertainty. It can be a scary place for people like me who are fans of safety, security and predictability. This is where God has really worked on my heart the most and taught me to let go. We have so little control over the various twists and turns which is such an amazing exercise in trust and perspective.”
What’s the most rewarding part of being a foster mama?
“There are so many rewards, it’s hard to choose just one. I’d say it’s a tie between the growth I’ve experienced in my walk with the Lord and the immeasurable honor of being able to pour love into a child through her darkest hour. And then there are the snuggles and giggles and baby rolls and celebrating of milestones that are pretty darn fun, too!”
What’s your best piece of advice for new foster parents?
“Build a support system, reach out, ask for help. Foster care can feel like you’re on the world’s craziest roller coaster and meanwhile everyone around you is on a simple merry-go-round. Find others who are on the crazy coaster (or who have been on it before) and ask them to hold your hand to remind you you’re not riding alone.
And one other thing that I wish someone had told me as we were stepping into this:
Don’t be afraid to get too attached. Love all in. Hand grace out like it’s candy. Don’t let fear rob you of this incredible privilege. If your heart gets broken (and chances are it will, regardless of the outcome), God will be there to mend it back together, piece by piece. These children deserve to feel as though someone will mourn them if they leave. These families deserve to feel like there’s someone out there who believes that they are worthy of redemption. God calls each of us to trust Him with our hearts and you may just realize how attached and dedicated He is to you in the process.”