When a person first considers becoming a foster parent, one of their first thoughts is “How will I feel when a child I have loved as my own leaves my home?” It’s a natural response, and lots of times people won’t understand how we could set ourselves up for so much potential hurt. Foster care is a calling and we can’t let fear of the unknown stop us from answering the call and fulfilling our purpose.
“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
Our first placement was three years ago. A newborn baby boy that I was absolutely smitten with from the second I saw his tiny face sleeping in a car seat at the DCS office.
We had been waiting for “the call” for weeks and that day had finally arrived. We loved him completely from day one and very soon he was growing and thriving. Updates about his case were few and far between and the nagging fears of him leaving were always in the back of our minds. We ended up loving that precious boy for the first 5 ½ months of his life before he left us to live with a wonderful adoptive family who had already adopted his biological sibling. The day we packed him up to take him to his new home was full of tears and mixed emotions. We didn’t know how we would go on, yet we were overjoyed at how The Lord had grown their family. This little guy was always meant to be theirs, and we were so very blessed to be a part of his story.
Healing our hearts after his goodbye was hard. Hard is an understatement, actually. Thankfully his family was so very understanding and has always encouraged us to remain in his life. We are blessed to be a part of his village and watch him grow up!
Our first experience with foster care was a great one overall, and made it easier to continue down the path. There have been 8 goodbyes since then. Most have been good moves for the children and their families, and we have remained in touch to some degree. No matter the situation, we always send a piece of our hearts with them. There is definitely grief involved in foster care, sometimes lots of it. We eventually make that call to a caseworker saying we’re ready to do it again for one reason: The children in the foster care system are worth it. They’re worth the grief that we may go through. They’re worth our potential heartbreak to make sure they have a warm bed, a full belly and to know that they are cherished. We are all regular parents who get attached to children easily, even though we know we will likely tell them goodbye. Why? Because they’re worth it!
If you’re considering foster care, don’t let the possibility of hard goodbyes scare you away. You can do it. None of us are strong enough on our own, but The Lord will give you the strength you need.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29
If you’re already a foster parent I want to say thank you. Thank you for all the little lives you’ve touched. Thank you for all the times you’ve said yes to placement workers calling to find a safe place for a child or family in crisis. Thank you for the countless I love you’s you’ve spoken to children who maybe haven’t heard those words from someone who meant them before. Thank you for pointing them to Jesus. Thank you for living out the gospel. You’re making a difference and YOU are a treasure!
“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:5
Keep loving my friends, love is never wasted.