He had a little soft reddish-brown mohawk of hair and creamy little white cheeks sticking out of the top of a bundle of swaddled blanket. His crib card announced his name and it matched the name that the placement supervisor had given me two hours earlier. That was him! Our very first foster baby! From the first time we met until the agonizing moment when he left my arms five weeks later, he had all of my heart.
I am a Foster Mom. After months of training, home checks, background checks, and meetings, we became an approved foster family in September of 2012, and are currently caring for our second foster baby. Fostering has been a life-changing experience for my family; an experience that I am eternally grateful for.
Sarah has asked me to share some of the ways that people can be encouraging and supportive of foster Moms and their families. First, I would like to say thank you. I realize that sounds a little backwards, but I realize that you (our friends and family) did not ask to foster children. You did not ask to fall in love with little children only to give them away. You did not ask to deal with difficult discipline problems. Yet, you are doing it with my family. You are loving, hurting, caring, praying, and helping and I am so grateful. You have embraced each child we have brought into our home and loved them. And that has encouraged me more than you can ever know. I am truly humbled by your kindness.
With that said, here are a few practical things that have been very helpful to me:
- Try to learn the names of the foster child. We think of this little baby as a child and a sibling; we love when you do too! Even if you get the name wrong, don't be afraid to try.
- Pray for the children! Many of you ask me all the time about their court dates and what you can pray for. While I might not be able to tell you much, it is very nice to know you are praying. However, I cannot post updates about the children on Facebook (confidentiality). I am not trying to be secretive, I promise; I just have to be careful about their privacy.
- Sharing baby stuff. Because I can get a call to pick up a child in thirty minutes and they can vary pretty widely in size and age, I may not have what I need for them at home. Many of you have been great at giving me baby clothes and gear that you are done with. Very helpful!
- Behave like the child is just one of the family. For as long as they are here, they are a part of our family and our hearts can't distinguish between foster children and regular children. They don't seem “different” or “other” to us.
- If we get a new placement, a meal is very nice. It is very much like bringing home a new baby from the hospital. It takes a little bit for everyone to get used to each other, especially if there was some sort of trauma involved.
- If God has a plan for our foster children outside of our family and they have to leave us, cry with me. Allow us to grieve. Don't let me crawl in a hole and hide. Help me to keep going.
Fostering has been (and is currently) rewarding for all of us involved. If you and your family are thinking about going down this path, I would love to share more of our story with you and encourage you any way I can!