“A child is always worth the process and more valuable than the costs. Always.” Jason Johnson
These are the words that I keep coming back to on an emotional day like today. Most recently, I wrote and told everyone that we were officially licensed and just waiting for a call. Well, last week we got our first call! My husband and I had gone to see a movie together that morning, came back, ate lunch and were just hanging out when the phone rang. “We have two potential placements for you.” WHAT?! Two?! I was freaking out..literally jumping up and down as I was talking to the woman from the Home Finding Unit.
To summarize: we were either going to potentially take in one child that day, or two children on Monday (today). We were THRILLED. The worker told us she would call us in two hours to let us know. We immediately started cleaning, putting the car seat in the car, and bringing up bins of clothes from the basement (shout out to my mom because it is SO helpful that everything is sorted and labeled). Exactly two hours later she called back.. we weren’t getting the child. A family member stepped in. Okay. Emotional.. But not much time to process as we were told to start preparing to take in two children the next week.
After the phone call, I was left to start dreaming about taking in these two kids. I pictured playing outside together, going on walks with them and our puppy, introducing them to all our family. I knew it might not happen – I tried to not let myself get too excited, but I couldn’t help it. We knew that things in foster care can change in an instant. We didn’t go overboard with preparing, we felt ready and our home was ready. We bought a few things but mostly decided to wait and see. We knew we would hear by 1:00. I was driving home from tutoring and my phone rang around 12:15. It was a quick phone call: We were not getting these children because they are going to live with a family member. There aren’t any other children that need a placement right now.
Tears. Lots of them. I haven’t cried so hard in a LONG time. A friend of mine who is also a recent foster parent told me that attachment to these children starts with the phone call. I didn’t understand it when she said it.. I mean, I could imagine, but we hadn’t gotten any calls yet. But man, was she right. How could I have felt so attached to two children that I knew nothing about? I didn’t even know their names. I let myself cry. My husband and I talked.. And it was hard to talk about how if I was this sad before meeting a child, how am I going to be when we have a child in our home and then they return to family? The most pathetic moment I think I had was saying through the tears, “But I bought sidewalk chalk and bubbles..”
I’ve been describing it as a roller coaster of emotions. And it really is. One minute, I’m excited because we are licensed and will get to love kids and make a difference in their lives. The next moment, I’m heartbroken because my excitement stems from someone else’s loss. While I am eager to receive and love a child, there’s a family out there dealing with brokenness and the loss of their child. There’s nothing exciting about that. When I hear of a placement, I want them to come to our home – but does that mean I’m rooting against their family? It doesn’t always feel right. And yes I am sad when they don’t come, but believe me when I say I am also happy that all of these kids had family step up for them. Foster care is a MESS. And we are not even completely in it yet. Every day I question how to react, how to feel, what to hope for. I’m doing my best to continually pray this: Lord, let Your will be done.
I know that God IS in control. I know that He already knows which children will come through our home and which children will not. I know that it’s in His timing and not mine. But even though I KNOW all of that, it’s still hard to feel it sometimes.
“A child is always worth the process and more valuable than the costs. Always.”
That sums it up. Going through this roller coaster of emotions is worth it, because children are being protected and fought for. And when I do eventually take care of a child and have to give them up, I’ll be okay. Because a child’s life will have been forever changed, and a family member will have been given the supports they needed to succeed and get a second chance.
Foster care has broken me already. But it’s also pushed me to the Lord more than I could have imagined.