As the saying goes, some things in life are “for the birds” —worthless, pointless, or inconsequential. Many of these things are important to me, so let's talk about them.
Someone asked me today, “How’s it going being a foster parent?”
I kind of chuckled and looked out the window as I tried to think of something to say. Because of all days to be asked that question, today was not the right day.
After a moment, I turned back and said, “This is the hardest but also the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done.”
One year ago, I was stuck in a hospital bed with a PICC Line (permanent IV) coming out of my arm, a drain coming out of my stomach and way more questions than I had answers. I didn’t know the next several months would include multiple, painful and traumatic medical procedures. Or that I would be driving 14 miles every day for IV infusions. Or that I wouldn’t take an actual shower for close to five months. Or that I would experience a miraculous healing. Or that I’d be back in the hospital just a few months later with the same issue, the aforementioned healing seemingly not complete.
One year ago today, I thought it was another closed door. I thought our last viable option to build a family was no longer going to work out. I was writhing with anger. I was grasping onto whatever hope I could find. I started posting daily updates on Facebook and Instagram as a way to make the hope and grace tangible to myself.
And it was through these posts that this site came into being. My husband and I realized my writing needed to have a more official home. We realized we’d been given a story to share and this site was one way to be good shepherds of that story.
I have 3 babies.
One I carried within my womb but never got to meet.
One I carried within my heart but never got to meet.
One I have carried in my arms, in my heart, in my mind but did not come from me or my husband and will eventually return back home to his birth Mamma.
And this is foster care. It’s taking part in a broken system, doing what we can to make it better. It’s a roller coaster of uknowns and heartbreak. It’s curve balls being thrown at us from every direction. And it’s ultimately about self-sacrifice and self-progress, constantly learning about ourselves and learning how to change in order to bring about progress and grace.
I’m terrified. I’m terrified of opening my heart again. I’m terrified of what it will feel like on the chance he never makes it into my arms. He’ll be another notch on the rope of babies I knew and loved but never got to hold.
And then I’m forced to realize that this is exactly what I signed up for. Foster care is loving kids who aren’t ours. Foster care is going to battle for children we may never get to call our own. Foster care is loving and letting go. Foster care is sacrifice and obligation and hard.
I have seen many posts in the various foster parent groups I'm in on Facebook about how to prepare for placements, especially when you have a wide age-range. Preparing for such an expanse of ages and sizes is overwhelming and REALLY expensive and we simply wouldn't be able to afford buying and stocking up on brand new items. So I set out to find ways to get what we needed for as little money as possible.
I wanted to share the ways I have prepared in hopes that the resources I've found can, in some way, help you or spur you on to find similar resources.
My husband and I recently learned the baby boy we were hoping to bring home would, in fact, not be coming to us. It is a unique situation, even for foster care, and is too detailed and intense to post here. In the months we were given to hope and dream about him, we fell in love. I knew of him and loved him so much longer than I ever knew and carried my only biological child. We may never meet him or see him, but he became one of our own. This is a letter that flowed from the depths of my heart as I sat to process the outcome of our time with him.
In honor of the sappiest day of the year, Valentine's Day, I decided to repost an old entry I wrote over on my old blog two years ago. Enjoy the sap!
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. And I also believe that everything that happens to me is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to better myself. I had to learn these truths quickly once my health started on a rapid down spiral about years ago. I was being hit with one trauma, injury or illness after another. I sometimes felt like I wasn’t even being given time to catch my breath before the next challenge overwhelmed me.
There was a lot of opportunity for me to grow bitter. In fact, I spent a good year and a half depressed, angry and bitter. I had experienced a lot of loss, a lot of trauma, a lot of change. My life as I knew it had changed drastically and I longed for what it used to be, unwilling to grab hold of what I had been given and to make it worthwhile.
The husband and I have based our marriage on two values that we hold dear: hospitality and generosity.
When we first got married, that looked a lot like opening our door to our small group from church, or inviting people over for dinner.
I never, ever thought it’d look like foster care.
My infertile diagnosis was a hard pill to swallow. I had made motherhood an idol, something I pined after, something I aspired to. I was going to be a mom and I was going to be good at it!
And then it seemed like God stripped that away from me, from us. I was so angry with him. My life verse has always been,
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
What I saw happening was the exact opposite of His promise. And I was angry.
It took me years to be able to look back and see the indescribable beauty and blessing that came from that diagnosis.