How Being A Foster Parent Has Changed My Life

Tonight, there is a three and a half-year-old little girl sleeping soundly in this house. She arrived three and a half years ago–a tiny, beautiful princess. The call came, and as I sat at my desk at work, I could hardly contain my excitement. A girl?! A princess?! We had been waiting so long for a little lady to dress in all the tutus we had accumulated over the years of infertility and loss. It couldn’t be true, could it?! Oh, it was. It was as true as can be as I walked into that hospital nursery, and they placed her gorgeous self in my waiting arms. Being a foster parent changed my life.

I held her, and I knew this was what God had created me to do. He had created me to love babies…to love all the babies. The ones born to me, the ones adopted by me, and the ones with parents who had some difficult roads.

As I held her I prayed and I asked Him to hold her parents, to ease their burden, to comfort their hearts. It would be a prayer that would continue for three and a half years and on. My love for her was instant, and I became very protective of her. I knew that from that moment, in that hospital, that I would do whatever necessary to keep her safe and loved for the rest of her life. God allowed me the privilege of loving one that I would have to fight for and nothing in my life has been as easy or as difficult as the road that followed. Foster care will change your life.

Being a foster parent will change your life.

We took her home that weekend and showed her off to our family and friends. She was showered with oohs and aahs, dressed up, and pranced around like the queen of her own kingdom that she was. Life got crazy with an 18-month-old boy and a new princess, but we made it work. After about six months we started to feel like we weren’t just surviving, but actually living and loving every second. Foster care will change your life.

One-hour weekly visits with bio mom and bio dad were the norm, and we all slid into them fairly unscathed. We managed to get along quite well and eventually began to text back and forth daily. Her bio mom loved getting all the pictures of our adventures, and I loved sending them and making her smile. She had a rough life, and to walk this journey how God created me to, I needed to show her much grace and mercy, just as I had been shown.

I asked questions, she gave me advice on how to do her hair, she walked her out to our car and put her in her seat after every visit. She bought her clothes and snacks and loved her well. We loved her, but we also knew that her chances of reunifying were very slim. Always in the forefront of our mind was the fact that we were in charge of advocating for this baby’s best. Foster care will change your life.

Foster care will change your life.

We moved through a year quickly and our prayer was always that God’s will would be done, but He knew what we wanted. We wanted this baby to be our baby, our forever princess. There were whispers and discussions in high places in regards to a relative out of state–some family member that may want to adopt this baby. What? It had been a year. Where did they come from? Where have they been? What are you talking about? We are her family. She loves us. We love her. This cannot really be, can it? It most definitely was, and we began to understand more about a system that is so devastatingly backward. We hit our knees in prayer and with more tears than one journey should ever hold. Foster care will change your life.

Our decision to fight was not an easy one. Well, I should say it was easy and difficult at the same time. When we looked at her–her beautiful smile, her hilarious giggle, her unstable walk, her crazy hair, her sassy attitude–it was the easiest decision in the world to make. The instability of a system that is not a family made it very difficult. Foster care classes didn’t quite prepare us for this point–the point when they want to take your baby away from you and send her to a stranger. A stranger to you and a stranger to her. How could we possibly walk through something like this? Foster care will change your life.

We continued to walk through the fire as our lawyer and her guardian ad litem worked their magic all around us. God–that Guy who told us she would be one we would fight for–He pulled some miracles here and there also. We walked through monthly visits across the country and watched as our baby girl tried to make sense of it all. Why would we ship her off to a place she wasn’t used to? She came back angry and showed it through meltdown after meltdown. As she got older her behavior changed from anger to sadness; she would return and hug the walls of her room and tell them she missed them. It was heartbreaking to watch. The effects of a system gone terribly wrong. Foster care will change your life.

We weren’t going down without a fight.

After years of a back and forth system, a decision was finally made, and it was to move our daughter away from the only family she had ever known, for almost three full years of her life. That day I fell on my knees, for the millionth time, and cried in the middle of my kitchen floor as my three children ran circles around me. They had no idea the devastation that had just been declared. In that moment, I realized one thing…it wasn’t over until God said it was over. She was still in our home. She was dancing, she was singing, she was smiling, she was still home. We weren’t going down without a fight. Foster care will change your life.

There was one month between the call that blew up our world and the call that put it all back together. Do systems change their minds? Do they make a final decision and change it? Go back and re-evaluate. Can someone’s words make them take another look? Have you ever had so much hope in the unseen? Had so much faith in what God can do? Loved a child so much that you would fight until it BROKE you in all the ways that someone can be broken? April 7th will be a day we will remember forever–the day that God made sure the system knew that He was bigger than they were. Your daughter, the one you fought for, the one you have loved, the one you have cherished, the one you have stood up for, advocated for and screamed loud for…she’s yours. Forever. I hit my knees, again. Foster care will change your life.

Being a foster parent will change your life, friends, in all the ways that a life can be changed. Get ready because you have no idea what is coming…Foster care will change your life.