Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fosterhood: Too Attached


Two months ago we met a baby in a hospital.

She had been in the NICU going through withdrawal from all of the drugs she had been exposed to in the womb, but once she was through the worst of it, we were able to take her home.
We have all been totally smitten with this beautiful little girl and have adored every day and sleepless night that we've had with her. We've prayed for her every day, that God would fiercely protect her and that she would come to know Him someday. 
And we prayed that she could be a part of our forever family.

But in the foster system, nothing is for certain and anything can change in an instant. 
A relative of hers came out of the woodwork and wanted to have her. They cleared the background checks and that was that.

Yesterday her social worker came to get her. She left and I probably won't ever see her again.

And as I packed away bins of baby stuff and moved an empty bassinet out of my room, my heart was broken from disappointment. Because I love that baby girl like one of my own. And more than anything, I wanted to be her mom.

~~~

People say to me all the time "Oh I could never do foster care, I would get way too attached!"
And what I always gently say is this:

The point is to get too attached.

You SHOULD get too attached.

What these kids need, what ANY OF US need, is for someone to love us with everything in them to the point where it actually hurts. Becoming a foster parent is basically signing up to be that someone for children who desperately need it.
If I could make the decision over again, to say yes or no to taking in this baby who we all fell in love with and who made our hearts hurt like this, I still wouldn't change a thing.

These kids in the foster system, and their parents who are broken and hurting, are made in the image of God and are so, so valuable.

I've shed many tears over this little girl, for fear for her future and sadness that I'll always miss her and that I won't get the memories I thought I would with her. 
Because she is valuable and worth crying tears over.

I've shed many tears over her mother, for what she's already been through so early in life and just imagining the pain of being a post-partum addict out on the streets.
Because she is valuable and worth crying tears over.

And then I think If I care this much about them, how much MORE does God, their maker, care for them? 

As much as I wanted this baby girl to grow up in our home, where I knew she would have a mother who loved her and an amazing dad who would be loving and protective... God will always be a better parent to her than Luke and I could ever dream of being. And unlike us, He will ALWAYS be with her, no matter whose home she is in.

We're trusting God in this, even though it's so hard. It's one of those really confusing times in life where it's so easy and natural to wonder what His plan in this is. How could this be what is best? But faith wouldn't be faith if we could see everything in front of us and knew how it was all going to turn out. 
We are leaning on truths like Romans 8:28 while we wrestle with the uncertainty. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

This will work together for good. And for a purpose. And God's glory will shine brightly in it.

~~~

Being a foster parent isn't just about being willing to share your time and money, it is just as much about being willing to share your heart and soul.
It's beautiful and painful and will wreck your life.
But I truly believe that it wrecks our lives for the better.

When we are giving each one of these kids a piece of our own heart, it is basically an exchange- we hurt more so that they can hurt a little less. 
And there is nothing that represents God and His love for us more than that. He IS that one who has loved us so much that it actually hurt.
There is no one who has shed these tears or felt this pain more than Him, who gave up HIS OWN SON to bleed out and die for us, so that we could be His children too.

We NEED Him for this job, because it's only when our heart is so overflowing with His love and His grace and His strength that we are able to share it with others, let alone hurting kids and broken families.
We love because He first loved us.
And we hope because He has promised to redeem all of it.

Luke and I are both so incredibly thankful that we got these past couple months with this beautiful baby girl. We gave her up knowing that she has had such a good start to life (in spite of her initial rough circumstances), being held and fed and changed and sang to and prayed for and loved on. 
It can be easy to take for granted how developmentally important all of those basic ways of nurturing are, until you've been around kids who didn't get that as babies.

~~~

I woke up this morning, after my first night in two months of not having to get up for feedings.
I stayed in bed for a while, snuggling with my kids and staring at the wall that I want to paint.
When I got up and looked around my weirdly empty house, I felt a peace that I wasn't expecting to feel instead of sadness.
I poured myself a cup of coffee and helped August get some cereal.

It's going to be a good day.


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