It seems a little strange to equate foster care with a love story. After all, we hear about children languishing in care, being tossed around from home to home, being abused and neglected by foster parents who wanted a state check. Where's the love in that? Even if you have a more realistic view on foster care, everyone knows that a child in care has been abused or neglected somehow. So how can foster care be our love story? Incredibly, we have found so much love through this experience and I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you.
We fell in love with each other. Foster care is an incredibly demanding force that whips you up, down, and all around and dictates most facets of your life. My husband has seen me at my worst- literally crumbled on the kitchen floor trying to remember to breathe in between sobs and swear words. He's also seen me at my best, when he walked through the door after work and I was holding our 1st son, who had just come 2hrs before. I have seen him through times of fierce anger that only comes to a father when someone puts his child in danger, and I have witnessed him practice "How old are you?", "two" 20,000 times so our son had it down before his birthday party. We loved each other before foster care, but now we have grown up together in such a way that we are one, now more than ever. We know that no matter how much we share of our love story, only the other really understands.
We fell in love with God. Jesus loves foster care. He personally commanded Christians to care for the fatherless. Brandon and I spent a lot of time praying about expanding our family- about three and a half years (or 42 cycles if you speak TTC). I hit a point in my faith before foster care where I felt that I had laid it all in His hands. I had nothing left to give. I had nothing left to pray. In hindsight I can see so clearly that every hardship and disappointment has prepared me for foster care. I heard someone compare living through trials as seeing a cross stitch quilt from the backside. It looks crazy and ugly. When it's done, though, and you turn it around, suddenly all the chaos makes sense and it comes together to make something beautiful. I bring a quality of care to the table that is only learned through having needed care in the past. I have seen Jesus stand in the gap between me and my children when I was powerless to help them. I am in love with my Jesus, and foster care is the tangible evidence of His love for me.
We fell in love with our children. OBVIOUSLY!! We've had 3 children in the past 2yrs. They came to us at 10 days old, 18mo, and 1 week old. They are the most perfect children anyone has ever met. Just when I'm sure my heart is filled to capacity, I fall deeper in love with them.
We fell in love with their families. Here's the shocker. I never even considered it, much less expected to love our kids' biofamilies. These people have all made at least one poor choice. They haven't always been nice to us. Without them our children would not exist, and that instantly makes them superstars in our love story. Everything we love in our children is biologically connected to these strangers, who suddenly become family. We don't always like them. I wouldn't have chosen a social relationship with them outside of foster care. Suddenly though, it's really important to me that they stay well- that they have food, clothes, and housing. My kids will never be properly cared for if their parents haven't been given every chance at life.