On a day in November, just shy of her first birthday, our foster baby’s great aunt came to our house to take baby home. It was quick, but not painless.
Our hearts were broken, just like we knew they would be. But they are steadily mending, like we knew they would, too. Baby’s aunt has called to tell us she is doing well, and she even sent some pictures. This does our hearts tremendous good. But…it is still difficult to think about loving a child again who isn’t legally mine, because my heart doesn’t know the difference. A friend expressed it well, when she said her heart needed a switch.
As I have processed the why’s of engaging the broken foster care system, I have come up with the following:
We live in a broken world, of which the foster care system is a part. God calls us to be his restorative agents of the broken things. We are not equipped to do this emotionally, physically or mentally. But He equips us. He loves us and these kids. Our hope is in Him, not the system. When we pray over these precious children we are stewards of for a short (or sometimes longer) time, we believe our Father hears us, and is already working in their lives. Furthermore, we are unable to love the moms and dads of these kids on our own. But God gives us love and compassion for them, too. I am amazed to see God changing my heart as I pray for our baby’s biological parents – that I feel grief for them, and hope God restores their lives, too.
As we all know, when we think we are sacrificing and helping someone else, God is usually helping us more than we could imagine. When baby departed, she left expanded hearts in all our family members (and church members, too). My kids, who didn’t necessarily love babies, loved her. And we are all better for it.
Even though we don’t consider ourselves racist, we have had to admit we don’t understand what it is like to be a minority. When my husband walked into a gym with a lovely brown baby to watch our daughter’s volleyball games, he felt the heavy weight of stares. And it made him even more protective and loving towards that baby to know she would grow up feeling those stares sometimes, too.
Finally, baby’s caseworker wrote me about baby’s adjustment to her new home:
I am so glad that baby had the care that you and your family gave to her…..a big part of the reason that she has adjusted as well as she apparently has is because your family gave her a very stable, loving, nurturing nine and a half months of care. She was, and remains, a very well adjusted little girl which has enabled her to make a smooth transition to where she is now.
When we left your house with baby, the aunt was feeling horrible because she saw how hard it was for baby to leave your family. She said “you know this is a little bit right but it’s also a little bit wrong.” And I don’t think she could have said anything more true.
Someday I may publish her picture, so you can see the little person who changed our lives. But for now, be certain she is not a faceless statistic. She is known and loved.