We started out, like many couples, looking into foster care after severe (secondary) infertility. Our dreams of having a large family had been crushed by the heavy weight infertility can bring. We wanted more children. We wanted our son to have siblings. We had very self-centered motives.
So we looked into all avenues of adoption. We quickly ruled out international. We considered domestic infant adoption, though the cost was prohibitive or at least made us consider doing IVF first. We explored foster-to-adopt programs through our state and though the financial impact was substantially less, we struggled with how the revolving door of foster care would impact our family. Eventually, after talking with various friends who’d pursued adoption, primarily through foster care, we decided to become a licensed foster/adopt home through the state – willing to take legal risk placements but only “once or twice” before we turned to straight adoption.
Our lives and hearts have been changed.
Our foster care license was approved two years ago (today!). It took 19 more days before were notified and 7 more before a sweet boy and girl came through our door. I remember I’d chosen to stay home from work for a day adjust and find daycare, doctors, etc. I remember sitting there at dinner that night with an empty plate, having not made enough dinner for 5 as I was used to cooking for 3, thinking about how there was no way I could go back to work. I was in love with these children – all of them. It was apparent that caring for these children, whether I birthed them or not, was a great calling and wonderful blessing.
I did go back to work but arranged to work from home so I could transport the kids to visits. It wasn’t long before I met my first “birth family” – mom, dad, grandparents, and more. I was able to calm their fears and encourage them. I was able to tell them that their children were safe and well-cared for and loved in our home. I was able to see how much they loved their children and yet struggle with certain demons. By the end of that visit I knew we’d not only been called to care for children who needed a home, short- or long-term but also to minister to families who were struggling and needed help. By the end of that visit the parents had chosen to keep their children with us instead of moving to relatives. What an honor!
Those kiddos left after 8 weeks to move in with their grandparents and later moved into a different adoptive home. We too have moved on – in the past 2 years we’ve fostered 10 children and were privileged to adopt our beautiful daughter. We’ve had a wide variety of kids. And many, many memories. We’ve seen children reunified successfully and parents who lost custody. We’ve seen relatives step in to help and some show tough love. We’ve seen heartache and misery but also great joy and celebration.
One of the most popular things foster parents hear from those who’ve not walked in our shoes is something along the lines of “I couldn’t do that. It would be too hard to love them and let them go”. Having once been in those shoes, having said those same words, I now stand here with a radically different worldview knowing without a shadow of a doubt that though it may be hard it is well worth every sleepless night and every shed tear. We love children and families who need extra love and support. We help mentor others who think they might want to foster or adopt. We are a real-life example of a normal family doing something the world sees as extraordinary.
Sometimes we step back and ask ourselves – what if we too had said no?
What was/is your hesitation to opening your home to foster children? Join this great conversation on Facebook!
Marie (a.k.a Mie) is primary blogger at LettingGoOfMie where she writes about her journey through life as a wife, mama, foster mama, employee in corporate America, and Ph.D. student. She’s given birth to a boy, adopted a girl, and along with her husband has fostered 9 other children in 2 years. Life has taught her that it can be more than ever imagined, if she’d only learn to let go of herself and trust her Creator…