I Hate Foster Care.
We had just said good-bye to our foster love. Three months of being her family, and we packed her up, kissed her forehead, and watched as she left our home and lives forever.
My eight year daughter lay in my arms, sobbing. “We’re never going to see her again.”
“I know, sweetie. I know it’s hard, but she should be with her family. We were able to love her when she needed us, but now she needs them.”
She lifted her head and looked at me: “I hate foster care.”
And after this week, I couldn’t have agreed more.
I mean, I love foster care. I love the children. I (try to) love the parents. I love the growth and the milestones. I love the memories and moments, the smiles and cuddles. I love the calling and the purpose. But sometimes--right now, for instance--I hate foster care.
Because loving the kids--as hard as it can sometimes be--is the easy part. It’s the rest of it that’s hard.
It’s learning that your former foster daughter has been hospitalized for the past month.
It’s saying good-bye to your foster son after 13 months.
It’s preparing your testimony as a witness for the state in an upcoming custody battle.
It’s filling out paperwork (again) and getting fingerprints (again) and talking to workers (always).
It’s saying good-bye to another child, dealing with the loss, and realizing that for the first time in three years, you’re not a foster mom.
It’s being investigated by the “Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit” (the name alone gives me chills) because of a last-ditch-attempt, bogus report by a bio family member.
It’s saying yes to a child who needs you, only to find out that even though your name was immediately cleared, your license has been suspended.
That list, it’s not hypothetical. Every single one of those heart-wrenching, anxiety-inducing, almost-makes-you-hate-foster-care things has happened to me. This week.
Foster care is my life calling. It’s my passion. It’s one of my greatest joys. But what about when it’s not?
After a week like this, when the cost seems so great, when I’ve been consumed by sadness and anxiety, I must come back to why I became a foster mother to begin with. And, really, it’s not the kids or the parents, the smiles or milestones. It’s something--someone--else completely.
I’m not a foster parent because I know that children need homes or because I believe families should be reunited or because I love adoption. I’m a foster parent because I love Jesus. Because I want my life to be lived in surrender to Him, my days to be spent up in worship of Him.
And these days--the crying, stomach-turning, cost-ridden ones--are when the truest worship is offered. These are the days when foster care is less about cuddling babies and more about giving myself as a living sacrifice. The days when gratitude is hard and my words of praise become a sacrifice of praise. They’re the ones where I proclaim: All of this, it’s not about me. It’s all about You. It’s all from You and through You and for You. And--even in this--I will praise You forever.
(Hebrews 13:15, Romans 12:1, Romans 11:36, paraphrased)