Our foster son left us yesterday [on June 12, 2013].
It was a whirlwind from the anticipated moment we received the email and confirmation phone call from our agency that it was time to head to the Bronx medical office for his final physical to the emotionally-charged moment we handed him over to his new guardians in an overcrowded conference room at our agency. I was teary through those final, rushed, chaotic moments and now the apartment feels so much quieter, so still, without him here. PIE misses her companion and playmate, and both Mike and I woke this morning at 5am to find the crib at the foot of our bed empty.
Empty is a good way to describe how I feel.
Fostering has required everything. Everything. We’ve poured our hearts and energy into caring for this little boy, and for our first foster daughter, too. We’ve said “no,” to opportunities and to going out because either it’s been too difficult to get a background approved sitter, or we were too tired to get out the door. We’ve lived in chaos and built our family rhythm and weekly schedule around the foster kids’ visitation appointments. And while we hope that God may build our family through fostering, we’re also well aware of the privileged role we play in these children’s lives as stewards and care-takers, providing a safe, loving home for as long as they need the respite from whatever brokenness and chaos surrounds their family of origin.
It’s not easy. But it was the right thing for us to do at just the right time. And as this year has reaffirmed to me, sometimes walking by faith means following God down unexpected pathways. In January, that unexpected pathway included parenting three children under 10 months old.
Today I walked into my bedroom and it occurred to me that I had just done something I hadn’t been able to do for 6 months. Yes, I simply walked into my room whenever I wanted to. A baby has been napping and sleeping in there since January so even little daily routines like showering in my bathroom, drying my hair, getting dressed in my room, putting laundry away, making my bed, all of those “normal” tasks only had small windows of opportunity for completion before the room needed to be a silent haven for a little one.
We’re now just a family of 3, of 4 if you include our pug Frannie. It’s been six months since it’s been just us, and boy-oh-boy have I learned a ton about love, service, sacrifice, putting others’ needs ahead of my own, joy, delight and watching someone grow healthy and strong as a direct result of our love and care. Such demanding needs and such rewarding love.
I’m in a flurry of cleaning and sorting laundry and switching our wardrobes from winter wear to summer clothes. I have time for that now. My thoughts keep drifting to our foster son, hoping he’s laughing and adjusting well to his new home.
One of my daily prayers for PIE is that she’d grow up healthy, happy and hopeful. As I pray over her, I pray the same prayers for our foster son and foster daughter, those two precious children who now live in very different circumstances. May God’s kindness protect them, keeping them safe from harm and allowing their sweet personalities to flourish and find a home in Him. Though they won’t remember us, we won’t be same because of them.
Originally written on June 13, 2013, but not posted until August 8, 2013.