Monday, August 4, 2014

A different kind of journey

When my husband and I decided to become foster parents, our goal was to stand in the gap.  We'd help keep kids safe while parents got their act together.  And then we'd pack the kiddos up to head back to mom or dad. 

Our reality has been so much more personal.

"L" is our 4th foster baby.  He's 5 months old and we've had him since he was just 4 weeks.  I've been the recipient of his first smile, his first giggle.  I watched him roll over for the first time; I've videotaped his expressions and his first meal.  I take all of the usual photos and keep a baby journal.  His face lights up with a special smile that he saves for us.  I wonder, does he smile that way for his mom?

Falling in love with a child to whom you have no claim is a tricky thing.  To care for him properly, we must love him.  To love him means someday grieving as he goes back home.  No one wants to have their hearts shattered, but as we often hear in the fostering world, we're not doing our jobs if our hearts aren't breaking.

The other day I was folding L's laundry.  I thought ahead to the next size and wondered what I'd need to buy.  Pajamas?  Shorts?  I do this naturally with my own kids, but with L, it's different.  It's a very odd thing to make future plans for a child not your own.  Will he even still be here?  We have no idea, and that's not the point.

For now, for today, there's only L.  A tiny baby who needs everything from us that he ought to get from his own, food, clothing, safety.  Especially love.  For without love, he can't grow into the person God intends him to be. 

We are parents.  We are foster parents.  I thought the two would be mostly the same.  I had no idea that fostering was an entirely different kind of journey.


  1. What a tender article. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wow thank you for sharing this! You are my hero:)