"A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness." - Mother Teresa
One of the phrases foster parents hear most often is "I couldn't do it, I'd get to attached." This week has been a tough one in our home. The little girl we've loved as our own for the last year and a half has begun transitioning home to her biological family. We have kissed her boo boos, celebrated her firsts and snuggled her each night. She owns a piece of my heart. If you go into foster care guarding your heart, you're doing it wrong, because attachment is kind of the point.
Research shows that children who do not securely attach to a caregiver in the first two years of life struggle to function in normal life as an adult. Children need families. I don't for one minute believe our family is perfect, but we're loving, we're available, and we know God has called us to this. In an ideal world, a child would remain with their biological family forever, but that isn't always possible.
When parents cannot provide a secure, safe and loving environment for their children, foster parents are called to fill in those gaps. We step in, we get attached, we advocate as best we can, we cry tears of joy, sadness, grief, frustration and exhaustion, we love them as though they've grown in our womb, we hope and dream and pray for them and for their biological families and while it may hurt terribly when they leave, we hope and pray that reunification is a safe and healthy option for them. We sign up HOPING to say good bye. Healthy, positive reunification is ALWAYS the goal.
In the next month we will have to let go, I hope our love, tears, snuggles, meetings, prayers, and sleepless nights were enough. I pray that the time we've poured into her will matter in the grand scheme of things, I hope that we have given her the gift of being able to trust others, to know that she is loved, to know that God has never for one moment left her, my heart is already breaking. I am struggling with the idea of walking into her room and not seeing her giant smile light up that bright pink room. My heart sinks as I have already begun packing her things.
This baby has been in our home since June of 2014 and by Christmas her absence is sure to steal the breath from my lungs. The system is broken. I am not sure that the decisions that have been made in this case are the best, but I know that I have done EVERYTHING I can to advocate for this little girl, I have crossed every t and dotted every i. I have loved her with my whole heart and I love her biological parents. I pray for them and for their reunification to be a positive new beginning for their family.
In the end I know that we serve a God who loves this little one more than I ever could, He is sovereign and I find great peace in knowing those facts. While the system is broken, He is not. He is a loving God, and a God of second chances, His grace and mercy have carried us this far and will continue to carry us through the days to come. Tears will fall, and every one of them has been hard earned, she is worth those tears. If I had cowered away from the pain of losing her, I never would have known the joy of loving her, and she is worth it. EVERY child is worth it. So while not everyone is called to foster children, the "I'd get too attached" excuse, doesn't fly with me. Attaching is the point. There is great purpose in that pain, if you think you would get too attached, maybe you should consider fostering, because that is what these kids need.