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The Privilege of Being Foster Parents

(This is the GREAT agency we work with.)

Being a Foster Parent surfaces so many emotions that are so difficult to describe. There are joys and sorrows, fears and great hope…sometimes on a daily or even hourly basis.

Tonight I sit here on our couch in a relatively quiet home. My husband, older son, and his friend are all at the gym. My little son is in bed, after three attempts. My daughter, conquering her Algebra II lesson over at the table while singing quietly and our littlest, our Foster Baby, is right here next to me on the couch. He doesn’t like to be alone in the bedroom to sleep, so here he sleeps for a while while I type. And, for this brief moment I am thankful for the time to process and sift through some of my thoughts.

Our littlest (our 2nd Foster Baby) has been with us for 7 weeks tomorrow and I couldn’t love him more. He deserves a mom who loves him like she gave birth to him and a family who loves him like he is a permanent part of them. So that is what we do. And, really, it isn’t very hard…when we lay our fears and self aside. You can tell that he loves us too. He smiles and coos and you can see him relish time being the center of attention in our arms. And, really, this is our daily life. Loving this dear little one…so many joys and so much hope. Even now, he stirred and all it took to calm him was my hand on his back. He is now resting quietly, even with his eyes open, he is still and calm. He knows he is safe and loved. We live life with him one day at a time…not knowing if and when it will come to an end. But, we knew this when we signed up to sacrificially love this dear little one who needs us desperately. And, really, I believe that God knew we needed him too.

So, part of loving him as my own is also sacrificially loving his birth mom and helping her to come to a place where she could again raise her son. I write this through tears. I choose the pacifier that his birth Mom bought for him so he will use it when she visits him. I set the ones I bought him aside so he will favor the others. I bring the blanket his birth mom bought him when I take him to visit. I leave the ones I bought him at home. I answer the phone when she calls and offer to let her talk to her son so he will recognize her voice when he sees her. I bring her photos of him so that when she doesn’t feel strong enough to do the right thing, maybe a glimpse at her son will help her to. Again, we live this life one day at a time.

James 1:27 says this, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” For at least a time, this little one is orphaned. We are so privileged to have the joy of giving him a home, even though the time may be brief.

The other privilege we have? We have the privilege of waiting on the Lord. We wait to see what tomorrow holds. We wait to gain strength to keep a soft heart and to love completely. We wait knowing that God will give us the strength if loving completely means returning him to his birth mom or another relative. We also wait knowing that if that day comes (and we do pray for whatever God’s best is!), God will comfort our broken hearts. He promises. In Psalm 34:18 He reminds us that He is close to the brokenhearted. Psalm 147:3 says that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. And, 1 Peter 4:19 “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

We have the joy of knowing that God is faithful to His Word and it will come to pass. He will comfort us and we can trust Him.

So, tonight as I enjoy the little baby sounds coming from right next to me, I can have joy knowing that God knows the future. I can have joy knowing that God loves our littlest one more than we ever could and that He loves our littlest one’s birth mom too. He can heal her and draw her near to Himself so she can be a mom that will lead this dear one to Christ. And, I can have joy knowing that even if we get to raise him to adulthood, God will then be our strength as well.

This is God’s story…we am so grateful to have a part in it. Now, that is a privilege!

P.S. As I type this, I also have the joy of knowing that we have the privilege of adopting our first foster baby on Thursday! He has been with us for 19 months…since he was 1 week old. We are thrilled and humbled!

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