Family

On Foster Parenting

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How do you find the words to express the bucket, avalanche, tornado, volcano of emotions that goes with being a foster parent?  Especially one whose end goal is to adopt?

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I mean… can you find the words to convey that when the child is placed with you it’s terrifying?  And is that meager word terrifying enough to describe the well of emotion and memory that is associated with, finally, having a baby in your home?

Let alone two.

Two precious babies with wide big eyes, scared faces, bad dreams, delays, and the sweetest smiles, greatest cackles, and a connection that develops almost immediately to let you know that you could love these babies so much.

But the whole time there is this anchor on your heart that lets you know that if you love them so much and if they go home, it will hurt so very, very, very much.

But at the same time, you know you could love them forever.  See them grow and laugh and learn and find happiness and know that those experiences will fulfill so many of the dreams you have and then have to accept that though that could be–it is not to be.

That though you could  be their mother.

But.  You.  Aren’t.

And that as you see their real mother get better; you see something beautiful and amazing, and it’s an honor to be a part of it.  Even as your dreams are yet unfulfilled, but now you get this newer well of tragedy.

The tragedy of having to love and lose.

And, you have to admit that their leaving you is for the best.

And then as you spend your first weekend off from having the kids in your home for six months, and you remember what it was like to have the freedom of doing as you want and filling your life with fluff, you remember that it is fluff.

That this is what you want:

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But you want a baby who will stay with you.  And even though you never, ever would push the first two foster kids out, that you no more regret bringing the home and loving them than you regret your life, that you, in fact, cherish every moment a little bit more.  Because every moment is now one that is dripping out of a drying up well.  That the time will come when they won’t come back any more.  That the time will come when the slide you bought for BoyBlue will be abandoned in your living room, the books will remain on the shelves, you’ll clean the carpets and they’ll stay clean for weeks instead of days.

And it’s tragic.

And magical.

And beautiful

And when they leave you, it’ll be for the best.

Even though it hurts.

And if that wasn’t enough.  The state calls you again.  And they say, we’d like to place another child with you, that we’re full up, and you have a spot and in the coming week we’ll be placing children in the middle of the night.  Can we call you?

Dear God in Heaven, have I the strength to do this again?  Even as I am still cherishing the last dying moments with my first babies?

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Sorry for the vent.  But honestly, I’m riding a crazy train of how do I have the faith to carry on and trust that Heavenly Father will place temporary babies with me only long enough for me to not entirely lose my shit and that eventually, one won’t go home.  And though that will be a tragedy–for me, it will be a miracle   Just like right now, the tragedy is mine and the miracle is that family of my babies.

~Amanda

ps i’ll go back to the book fluff soon.  i only have so many heartfelt posts within me, and generally they are big bursts of emotion that i have to get out, so i can go back to buying milk, making mac and cheese, playing chase, doing my job, finishing my book and trying, so hard, to not spend all my time crying

pps I said yes.  I said they could call me.  And right now, I’m trying to trust that like with so much else in my life.  My friends, my family, even my dogs–that were clearly gifts to me from God I will make it through.  Whether the next baby stays with me just long enough to teach me to love a little deeper or whether they stay with me forever.  but if you have babies of your own, i hope that you cherish your moments–limited or not.

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4 thoughts on “On Foster Parenting”

  1. As an adoptive parent and a sibling to brother and sister who have and want to adopt. I do understand the emotional roller coaster ride you are on. I admire you and your attitude toward this incredible work. There is a book you should read. Sue and I have been reading it and it has really opened our minds and hearts to how the Lord works. Visions of Glory by John Pontius.

    An awesome read.

  2. Bravo. I admire your courage. That’s what it is, you know. Courage to love when you know loss is around the next corner. Because you know that you are making a difference for all of these precious babies that didn’t ask for this. So, well done. I know you will be given the strength that you need to handle what comes knocking on your door. (oh, and, if the strength that you need is the temporary kind that comes from a can of Dr Pepper all you have to do is call…I make deliveries!)

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