“I would love to foster, but I don’t think I could ever let the kids go.”
“I don’t know how you let them go.”
“I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t send them on.”
We hear stuff like this ALL the time. A friend said to me yesterday that someone said to her that she didn’t know how we can let the kids go, and my friend was mad. Mad that it implies that we are heartless people, mad that it implies that we don’t care, that it implies that we can just have kids come in and go, with no feelings whatsoever.
It so isn’t true. We grieve. Our hearts break. There are tears for a long time after someone leaves us. It is so hard, so very very hard.
But, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t necessary. Fostering is hard, yes, so many parts of it are hard, but that doesn’t make it not worthwhile. Doesn’t make us cold and heartless for being able to let them go. God doesn’t only ask us to do the easy things.
Yesterday we said goodbye to a wee little thing that had been with us for 7 months. We’d been through a lot with this little girl. Two, almost three, hospital visits for respiratory issues. Lots and lots of access. Typical baby stuff.
We watched her grow from this wee little thing who just laid on the floor, to the terror that she is today. Crawling like a maniac, getting into things, bullying the other little girl we have now. We got to see her personality develop like crazy.
Sleepless nights, feedings, diapers, we did all of that. We loved her like she was our own, while always remembering that we would one day have to let her go.
And let her go we did. It took five weeks to transition her back to her parents. Parents who Ja and I both like very much, parents who themselves had a crappy start in life, spending most of it in foster care themselves. Parents who are trying very hard to be the parents that the toad needs them to be.
My anxiety level grew as we got closer to the “official” date to have her go home.
Zi, at one point during the transition, commented that she wished Toad was just gone. Because then the pain could stop.
Eph said yesterday that it’s so hard, but it’s totally worth it.
A friend sent me this fantastic article, and this part really touched me,
Nancy: “Because if we aren’t there to be Jesus with skin on, his mom may have never felt Jesus’ hands and feet restoring her family and those kids may have never felt safe and clean and loved and valued. It does hurt. Praise God that your heart is still tender for these kids and not calloused!”
The most common misconception about foster parents is that they have hearts made of steel. I can assure you that this heart is not made of steel. It’s tender and bruised. But I have a God bigger than the hurt. A God who comforts me, heals me, and prepares me to love another child in need. A God who uses my hands and feet to point to Jesus.
God gave us an incredible support group. We had so many people checking in on us yesterday, and a wonderful friend not only brought dinner (and icecream!), but also sent me this email today;
God understands more than anyone the sacrifice you have made and how your heart aches giving up these precious munchkins. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Him to turn Jesus over to the likes of us! One day He will heal your heart, hold you in His arms and thank you for caring for His babies.
And you know what? They’re all His babies. Yours, mine, the ones that just pass through here for a short time, they’re all His.
Yes, it IS hard to let them go. It’s one of the hardest things that we’ve ever had to do as a family. It hurts us more than I can say. The tears that we shed are many. It creates an ache in my heart that doesn’t ever go away. But? My God is big. He is bigger than all of it. And He keeps us going until the next child comes, and we are able to soothe the hurt with the ability to help and love someone else who needs it.