The Goodness of Fostering (& the not-so good)
2:38am wake up call
“Hello, Mrs. Harris? I am calling on behalf of social services.”
“Uhhh…” Foggy, heart beginning to thump against my chest, I finished, “Yes, uhhh... this is she.”
“We have two brothers, a one year old and a two year old, that just came into care. They were taken from ______ county due to _______. Would you be able to take them in tonight?” I’ll have to leave the details blank for now. I promise I will share the full story if and when it’s our story to share. The where and why will have to kindly bow out for now.
Let’s rewind to several weeks before this call. We had the AMAZING opportunity to foster two other little boys- a four month old and three year old. We were told during their short time with us that they would be available to adopt and asked us to consider it. Our hearts were already won over by these two boys. It was a no-brainer. Soon after this, a family member stepped up and the boys were reunited. Although this was in their best interest, we were left heartbroken.
The fostering world is an interesting one. It’s full of uncertainties. No one seems to know anything about anything when the children come into care. At no fault of their own, lots of times, there is little information to give. Then, you have foster parents like us, that invest their time, heart, and energy into something with so many possible outcomes. Many times, the foster family is left with more questions than answers and an aching hole in their heart with only the face of a child; a distant memory now. Oh, trust me, I question all of this. ALL. The. Time. But then I think of all the good that does come with foster care... all the little things that happen every day that make it worthwhile. Things like, watching a child’s appearance physically change over the course of a couple days. Things like, watching them begin to trust a little more each day as they begin to willingly wrap their tiny arms around our necks at bedtime. It’s watching them learn new words- well, in our case, any words at all! (More on that one day). It’s watching them put their hands together during prayer time as they begin to discover a God that loves them. A God we can only hope and believe they will come to know personally one day. A God they can say with confidence changed the course of their lives that one time long ago. There’s so much more than just all the bad we hear.
So why do I share the bad with the good? Because it’s important to talk about the “stuff” behind the pretty pictures posted on social media. There’s a raw reality of what goes on deep inside when the world says, “You have such a big heart. I could never do that.” Or, “We need more people like you in the world.” The truth is, I can’t do it. Not alone, at least. I am not a super, abnormally strong person. We are a family that committed to sticking it out despite the bad. We dug our heels in at the beginning of this journey and determined ourselves to raise children in His kingdom. No matter the cost. Yes, we would love to make our home a permanent one for one or two of these little souls, but we also understand that there may be some that come through that may not stay. But, what if we can play a small role in the lives of the ones that just pass through? What if those that have walked through our door get to know a Savior that is so interested in them despite where they came from or what they’ve been through? And what if they do stay? Just think of all the goodness. So is it worth the risk of heartbreak for those few lives? Yes. Yes, it is.
You may hear me talk some more about fostering and adoption in the coming weeks and months. I encourage you to read them all the way through. Don’t shy away from something you think you can never do. Life can be funny sometimes. I am aware this post may be for just one person. And that’s okay. But that one person that says yes can change the trajectory of one little life. And that, my friend, is a pretty big deal.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit."