Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thoughts from a broken heart...

When God led us to foster, Steve and I thought that doing respite would be best for us.  Both of us have elderly parents in other states and we needed some flexibility to just go if we needed to.  As we went through our training, we found out that this was actually one of their biggest needs.

What is respite?

When a foster family needs to leave town or needs a break for any reason, they must find a certified home to place their foster child in.  Family/friends can not watch them while you are gone.  So, it can be a struggle.  If you can't take your foster child with you, for what ever reason, and you can't find a certified home for them to go to...then you can't go.

I have kept 3 babies now for respite and have learned a few things....

**I had no idea what God was actually calling me to until I was IN it
** I didn't realize my heart could love so many children so FULLY...like they were mine.
**I didn't realize how completely overwhelmed I would be by the honor to pray over them each day.
** I didn't realize how fully engaged my whole family would be.  I knew I would be doing the bulk of the care, but what a blessing to see each member of my family engage and literally fall in love with baby J.
**I didn't realize that in providing just respite, my heart would hurt so badly when they left and my arms would feel so empty.

It hurts.

For the benefit of foster parents around you, I need to give you some advice...
..advice I wish I had been given before God called me to this...
 ..because I have said these very words....

Please, please when talking to a foster mom NEVER say...
"oh wow..I couldn't do it.  I just couldn't give them up" 

Though you don't mean it...
...what you are saying is "it must not be as hard for you because you are doing it."  Saying that completely minimizes the pain that foster parents go through each and every time they have to let go of a child they have loved as their own.

If it doesn't hurt when you let them go....then you haven't loved them fully.
And they deserve to be FULLY loved.

God calls us to be willing to sacrifice for Him.  
Not just serve Him out of our convenience.

And the only way that we (foster moms) get through the pain of letting go of a child, whether we've had them for 10 days or 2 years, is through Christ. Knowing we are obediently doing what He called us to do.  Knowing that the love and security we provide these children far out weighs the hurt we are going to feel in the end.

But it still hurts.
a lot.

So, please pray for the foster families around you.
Maybe even pray openly and ask God if He is calling YOU to these children.
 
And next time a foster mom you know has to give up a child.....
....give her a hug.  
Tell her you are praying for her.
Just recognize her pain and know it's not in any way easy.
 
Today, my heart is hurting and my arms feel empty. 
 
But I wouldn't trade it.

 
 
 
 


13 comments:

Mocha with Linda said...

Love. This.

Hugs.

LuAnn said...

I knew you both and the kids would put your whole heart in it. I have said it before - what a blessing you will be to these children.

Cathy said...

Praying for you Sara.

rita said...

Beautifully said.
No greater love...than to lay down one's life...
Bless you, friend!

Donna Mosley said...

Great post. Thank you for understanding what we went through for our 15 years of fostering 48 children, (adopting 5 of those), and the many, many others we kept for respite so our foster family friends could go on vacation. You nailed it on the hurt we feel when a child leaves. We still wonder what became of the kids we had and pray for those children as well as their families - birth and adopted. Thank you for giving your time to the children and families that need you so much now.

Donna

StephieAnne said...

So well written...Love and prayers to you!

The Bug said...

Well said. I'll save my hug for when I see you (hopefully) in August :)

Rebecca Jo said...

Oh mercy... I can't even imagine how hard it would be to hand these precious ones back over...

takes strength that can ONLY come from him...
you are truly serving our Savior!

The Sneaky Mommy said...

Thank you for writing this! Our best friends are in the waiting process of giving back a little foster baby girl that they had hoped (and been assured) to adopt. It's heartbreaking!

Karin said...

This is such a great post. Thank you for sharing your heart. Hugs!

Lynne said...

Thank you for sharing your perspective on foster parenting. I think people mean well and it reminded me of friends reaction to my sister and her family when they lost their daughter at the age of 24. She died from cancer and people would come up and share with my sister that in time the hurt would lesson and she was no longer in pain and in a better place. It just made me shake my head because any parent that has lost a child never forgets or loses the hurt, they just continue to try and get thru it. I don't think people understand the impact of words and the trail of hurt it may leave behind, even though it is truly unintentional and they may mean well.

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

Thank you for this reminder. Sometimes we all say stuff that we mean one way...but can be taken many ways. I will continue to pray for you and all the other foster parents out there. I think what you do is amazing...and selfless.

Angie said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. It's wonderful to have an "inside" perspective and although I don't know any foster moms at this time, I will tuck away your wisdom to use when they cross my path. :)