My husband and I have chosen a path to grow our family that is probably the most challenging one out there, foster care. Those two words alone make many people cringe. There’s a stigma with foster children and the foster care process that causes people to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to an entire world of possibility. Each case is different, but all follow a similar path— reunification with the birth family. Many families never consider fostering because of the heartbreak that is sure to be experienced.
We know the heartbreak. When we said goodbye to a child we were almost certain would become our forever daughter, our hearts shattered. As we grieved and searched for other options, we took a six month break from fostering. During this time, we were approved to adopt privately through several agencies and had become confident in our decision to abandon fostering all together.
But God had other plans. Trusting Him with our longing, we decided to continue fostering, called our social worker, and told her to place us back on the call list for potential placements. Our phone started ringing immediately.
To date, we’ve loved, cared for, and poured into more than 20 children, and we’ve let them all go, except for the two children we are currently raising. So many people question how we are able to love and let go. We hear over and over again, “How do you do it? I would get too attached.” I began to think, 'Is too attached even a thing?' The truth is, it’s difficult to foster well if you don’t allow yourself to become too attached. Every child deserves having someone willing to become too attached. Every child is worth at least a thousand heartbreaks. If we won’t place ourselves in the place to be broken for them, who will?
I’ve often said, “Fostering is a journey of faith unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.” Without a secure faith and trust in Jesus, we would not even attempt fostering, especially given our end goal of adoption.
We’ve also seen such significant transformations in many of these children. That alone pushes us to say, “Yes,” when those calls come in. Watching undernourished and dehydrated children grow and become healthy is so rewarding. Experiencing a hug from a child who’s been so abused that their normal reaction to adults is to cower and tremble is indescribable. Connecting with those same children the first time they’re brave enough to make eye contact is breathtaking. Hearing a child that was born to another woman call me, “Mama,” is extremely humbling.
For Christmas, I received my favorite and most treasured gift ever—a beautiful tree with all of the children’s names we’ve cared for so far. There’s a quote under the tree that sums it all up perfectly, “A moment in our arms, forever in our hearts.” Each child leaves a permanent imprint on our hearts, and we pray, most of all, they will learn to walk in the love of Christ which was poured over them every moment they were ours.
Originally published in 2018.
UPDATE! Our family’s four-year journey in foster care has taken us through a wilderness of dark and winding paths. Today, we finally feel as though we are emerging - we see light. Recently we testified before two judges, vowing to adopt the two children we have loved and cared for since their birth. Our son turned two in May and our daughter is 18 months old. They’ve both only known us as their parents and each other as siblings. Unlike many of the children we have cared for, they don’t have any idea of the circumstances that brought them to us or the people within the judicial system making decisions that will affect their futures.
I was in no way prepared for the wave of emotions that would engulf me as I held my breath, listening to a judge make her ruling to terminate the parental rights of one of our children. There was a mix of intense sadness for biological parents, relief for the child, and peace for our family. Sad for these parents who will never see their children grow, smile, laugh... Relief for our child because, though this termination means one side of his life is ending, the rest of his life stands before him, beaming with hope of an amazing future.
Hope, a feeling I’ve stuffed down deep for a long time. I’ve allowed the presence of fear to squash any ounce of hope right out of my soul. In that courtroom, white-knuckled and afraid to exhale, God reminded me that He is in control, regardless of the outcome. Placing my hope in His sovereignty gives me security.
Our forever family is closer to completion than ever before. For that, and the journey that brought us here, we are so very thankful.
is a foster mom who enjoys all things Southern, i.e. a glass of sweet tea served up with a good book on a porch swing. She resides in Blythewood, SC with her husband, the two foster babies pictured, and a third newborn addition since this article was written.