It was November 3rd. She arrived to me in the social worker's arms in nothing but pink sweatpants and a blanket reeking of smoke, her eyes peeping out from under her wayward curls. The bottom of her feet were so black with dirt it looked like she had played outside barefoot for a million years. At 16 months old, you don't really care about that.
"I couldn't do it. I couldn't let them go."
"Better you than me, my heart would be ripped in two if they went home."
Not a lot of people understood my willingness to take a chance of loving a foster child who might leave one day, but I dived in with all my heart.
That little girl with the curly hair stayed for over a year, eventually calling my husband and me, 'Mommy and Daddy'. She got used to being bathed everyday. Her blanket had been washed. She now refused to leave the house without a hairbow holding back her curls. But, even after living with us several months, as we played at the park one day she dropped to the ground and tried to hide as she heard a police siren. She had seen and heard a lot in her almost two years and we couldn't wash that away.
And then the call came. Our time was over. We loved her like she was ours but she wasn't. And yes, our hearts were broken and I think in ways hers was too.
Thankfully, we did see her again. Our foster daughter came back to live with us at age 6. She knew more than any child should and once again, she was sent back to where she came from after a year. My youngest son forever told everyone he used to have a sister, but she ran away. He knew the truth, but the run away part made a more dramatic story. (And he LOVES to make me look like a crazy lady).
We had let our foster license lapse by the time she was put into foster care the third time but kept up with her situation as much as we could. She is now a sweet, beautiful soon to be teenager and, despite not always living in ideal situations, she has grown into a strong person who makes wise decisions.
My plan was to adopt her and be hers forever, but sometimes my plan and God's plan are different. I have to think that those years she was with us provided a glimpse of a normal life and maybe that was all our part was supposed to be. God's plan for me was to give me two wonderful, VERY mischievous boys and I thank God they're mine.
Do you feel led to foster? Your heart may never be the same but I can tell you, it will mend.
Or is there a different plan calling you that makes you feel uncomfortable? But it keeps nagging you? There are so many small ways to serve others that may be on your heart that isn't as big of a commitment as fostering but still.....it's inconvenient, it's time consuming, it's UNCOMFORTABLE.
Do it anyway.
You'll get as much of a blessing as the person you are serving.
How do you foster a child without falling in love?
And that's okay.