First, I want to clarify something. We know what we signed up for. We signed up for foster care. We signed up for loving kids that will very likely leave our home. We get it. But this.. this is not foster care. CPS isn’t even playing by their own rules this time. We were told that CPS’s goal had changed to “termination and adoption by a non-relative” (us). They went into mediation with that goal and came out with this ludicrous agreement (which you can read about here). For months they’ve been saying bio dad can’t live in the same home as L, and now they’re handing her to him after very little effort. She will be the victim of injustice and laziness, and we will be the unfortunate survivors of this foster care disaster. I’m afraid we will be those foster parents that no one wants to be – the ones with a foster care horror story.
I had a plan the other day to possibly “run into” bio dad after a visit just so I could talk to him, but God thwarted it. I wrote bio dad a note and put it in L’s bag, but he didn’t take it. No one will give me his phone number. God has asked me to be silent and be still. He has clearly communicated, “I’m going to do this. I’m either going to save you or I’m not, and you just need to trust me.” So I’m trying. Jesus help me, I’m trying.
I just can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe it’s likely I’m going to have to live my life without her. I can’t believe I won’t get to raise her and see her grow up and get married and make her own way in life. I can’t believe she has to grow up where drugs and sex start early. I can’t believe I’m going to have to continue to take care of these babies (and any other kids we get or have) on my own without her help. She’s so helpful to me. When I’m holding or feeding both of them at the same time she will bring me burp cloths or wipes. She will entertain them and pat them while I’m making bottles or busy doing something else. She’s not only my daughter, she’s my friend. My little bestie. I love spending time with her and going places with her. She’s such a joy, my very greatest joy. All my hopes and dreams for her are coming crashing down, and I’m just trying to wrap my mind around the possibility of a life without her.
She’s starting to ask about him, her bio dad. She’s been asking to see him. She asked to show him her painted toenails and to snuggle him. Every time she says something like that I die a little inside. But then I have to rally and engage her in conversation about him. I don’t know how else to prepare her heart for leaving me to live with him. So she asks, and I answer with a smile on my face and a tone of excitement, all while my heart cracks and crumbles just a little more. At the same time, I’m grateful. I’m glad she likes him, that she enjoys her time with him. I know that one hour with him is different than forever. I know she will be sad and confused when I let them take her and never come for her. But my mama heart finds the tiniest bit of comfort in knowing that she will probably, eventually, bond with her bio dad. If it comes to that, I hope and pray that she does.
I remember what she was like when she first came to us from her Momo. She would look at us with scared, sad eyes and simply ask, “Momo?” I would say, “I’m sorry, baby. She’s not here.” And then I would hold her while she cried. So I know what it looks like for her to miss someone she loves. I can only hope there will be someone patient and kind enough to hold her while she cries for us.
If she leaves, I’ll feel the burden of praying for her for the rest of her life, but never knowing if she’s ok. I’ll never know if she forgets the words to “Jesus loves me” and to pray about everything and who made the stars, or if those seeds blossom into a heart for Jesus. When I ask her, “who loves you?, she answers, “God. Jesus. Mommy. Daddy. Mama loves me.” Will she remember that I love her? If I happen to run into her years from now and recognize my little girl, will she recognize me? I’ll know when she’s old enough to have Facebook, and I’m sure I won’t be able to help but try to find her. We wonder if we should stay licensed for foster care even after we’re done and always keep a spot open in our home for her just in case she comes back into care. I feel like my child is going to be raised by strangers, and I want to be ready if she ever ends up coming home to me.
These are just fragments of thoughts from a mama whose heart is breaking. I’m sure it sounds disjointed and unpolished. But that’s how I feel – broken and raw – so that’s how my words spill out. I don’t want to hide my thoughts and feelings from the people who want to walk with us. I want to walk in the light with my people beside me. I want you to know the honest thoughts pouring forth from my fractured heart, even if they don’t quite make sense or sound pretty.
Friends, I want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers and support and kind words of encouragement. We know this is hard and heartbreaking for those around us. Thank you for choosing to walk in the trenches with us despite that. You have no idea how much it means to us. I also want you to know that while we are so completely heartbroken, we also have more peace than I thought possible. The fear and anxiety and devastation I feel are often crippling. I cry all the time, and to make it worse, when L sees me crying she asks, “you miss me when I’m gone?” It breaks me because YES, I miss her when she’s gone. I will miss her so much if she’s gone forever. But in our brokenness, we are clinging to Jesus, and He is being faithful to us. Sometimes I get to the end of my day and when I look back, I don’t even know how I got myself out of bed that morning, much less made it through the day. We’re given new mercies every morning and just enough grace for each day. Praise the Lord that He is enough for us.
I feel utterly hopeless, but at the same time extremely expectant. I know God is doing something. I know there is purpose in our suffering. I also know I may never know that purpose or see the fruit of what God is doing here, but I’m expectant of it nonetheless.
“God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity into the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11