Honestly, there are days where I question my foster mom status. Does what I do even make a difference? I’ll never be enough to save the world. There is so much brokenness. And sometimes, the needs of a foster child are so much greater than what I’m equipped for.
Honestly, I love being a foster mom. I definitely feel that I’m better equipped to care for infants as long term placements but we’ve LOVED the older kids we’ve done respite for as well. At this time, we feel that God has called us to this walk but it’s been so much harder than I ever imagined.
We Said Yes For One Month
Just twenty-eight days ago, we said yes again. It was a yes to a short term sibling placement. I was told it would be two or three weeks max. Since I know how the county works, we said we’d give them a month. While we typically don’t put a timeline on placements, we’ve discovered that children too close to our 3 1/2 year old daughter’s age just don’t work. Lucy ends up struggling too great during those placements. So we’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t sacrifice one child to try to help another.
They Arrived The Same Day
Usually, we’ll get a call and the child/children may not come till the next day. This gives us time to prepare. But this time, the kids arrived just a couple hours later. An adorable and moody little (almost) 2 year old girl and feisty but sweet 4 year old boy. (Of course, this is on top of our own five children as well as our other foster baby.) But no worry. This is great. “We got this!”
Other than the younger throwing tantrums almost constantly, we had a good solid week of what is referred to as “The Honeymoon Period”. Issues were few and far between, sans the tantrums. All was going (fairly) well.
What Did I Get Myself In To
Once settled in, behaviors arose. Honestly, in our own kids as much as our newest family members! It’s an adjustment for everyone. The boys have to share their room, toys, and even clothes (since the kids didn’t come with much of anything). Our youngest daughter is feeling lost in the commotion and became extra clingy. Honestly….it was rough. The “What Did I Get Myself Into” phase sets in.
FYI: Turns out, from talking with other foster parents, it’s normal. So if you’re also a foster parent, don’t feel too bad if you have those same thoughts. I used to beat myself up about it until I realized that almost everyone goes through it.
Some Days Are Good, Some Days Are Bad
As we trekked through the month, we definitely had some great days. A big family trip with our octo-squad of kids to the Children’s Museum. We had library days, gym days, and even went sledding. Honestly, we tried to pack as many good experiences and fun times into this month as we know the kids haven’t seem much happiness in their short lives. Yes, there were hard times too. But we tried to not focus on the negatives and just give as much love as possible.
The table was a bit fuller and life was busy for this month. Since I’ve always wanted a big family, though, it didn’t bother me. Seeing these kids flourish with stability and love made it 100% worth it!
They Loved Church
One thing we quickly discovered is that the kids loved going to church with us. They were able to attend Sunday School and make friends their ages. We pray before our meals and at bedtime and 4 year old, V, was the first to remind everyone each time. He’d sit and wait the entire time I’d be setting the table asking when we could pray. Sometimes, he’d even ask if we could pray twice! I loved being able to share God’s love with these two kiddos as they seemed to relish in it.
The Awaited Call
I got the call yesterday afternoon. The social worker said an aunt was approved and they were ready to move the kids. She wanted to come get them immediately! However, we were leaving the house in 10 minutes for music lessons. And since she had plans later that afternoon, the move was postponed till the next morning. Honestly, I was glad. While I think my entire family was ready to get back to normal, I didn’t want the kids to feel like we were kicking them out.
So this gave me time to talk to V and let him know what was happening in the morning. It broke my heart as he started crying and said he didn’t want to leave. That he loved us and he didn’t want to go to his aunt’s house.
A New Day
Well, as life goes. Morning came. The kids seemed cheerful enough but it was definitely heavy on V’s mind as he’d sporadically ask me questions about having to leave. The social worker pulled in about 8:30 and V accompanied me to the door to let her in. He pretended to be shy as my husband and I tried to help him feel comfortable with her. It seemed to be going well until it was time to go. V began to cry and say he didn’t want to go. It was SO hard to see him go through this.
I Love You
As my husband and I buckled the kids into their social worker’s car, I tearfully asked the social worker to give his aunt my number. Then, little V looked both of us in our eyes and told us each that he loved us. While he’d said it to me and I to him throughout the month, it was the first time he said it to my husband.
Life Isn’t Fair
So as we both walked away from that car, shoulders slumped. I can’t help but feel like the system is failing. I know we were able to provide a safe, stable home for one month that was beneficial for these kids. But now they have moved again. And not necessarily for the last time. So much for such a little person to go through. I can’t help but feel broken today. I’ll be hugging my own kids a bit tighter and snuggling our remaining foster babe a little closer. Life just isn’t fair.
To learn more about our foster care journey, experiences, and thoughts, check out my other 5 posts on this topic: