Being a foster parent is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Ever. It’s difficult working with the “System” and getting yanked around by people making decisions about the kids that affect our whole family and our quality of life. At times it feels like I don’t have control over my own life. I feel trapped by our crazy schedule and the fact that we can’t just up and drive out of state to visit family or go on a road trip. It’s difficult to be spontaneous and spontaneity is something I value. It’s so hard learning how to be a mother of a middle school-er, (help!) a third grader and a four-year-old, when I haven’t raised them from infancy. When they’re crying because of their past experiences I wish they were babies and I could hold them, rock them and simply shush away the pain.
I came to motherhood non-traditionally, but I’ve experienced the pain of labor. My labor didn’t happen in a hospital, it happened (and is still happening) during countless hours spent in government offices and courtrooms and on my knees before God hoping, praying and advocating for the safety of three amazing children.
Yet, in the midst of, or maybe even because of the difficulty and pain there is beauty.
My life is richer in ways I’d have never known if Josh and I had never taken on the responsibility of being foster parents. I can’t take credit for doing something brave, we honestly had no idea what we were getting into and during a temporary lapse of sanity decided to go for it. I don’t regret it. I never would have known the beauty of laying on a grassy hill cuddled together watching shooting stars and the look of awestruck wonder on their faces. Or the triumph of teaching a child to swim and the moment they tame their fears and jump into the deep water. Or the simple, innocent beauty of being loved by a child.
Originally written on 10/26/2011