Foster ParentingApr. 13, 2015

Make a Difference Monday: Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child {Letter #4}

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child,

A year has gone by since the child of a stranger entered your home.  You look back on the year, and it seems like a blur.  On one hand, it feels like the slowest year of your life.  On the other, it has gone by in a flash.  So much has happened, but one thing that seems to stick out the most is this,

You are no longer loving on a stranger’s child.

The stranger that you swore you could not begin to understand is not a stranger to you anymore.  No.  She is someone you have experienced an array of feelings over.  You have gotten angry at her choices.  You have felt pity for her own life story; especially the parts you have learned about her childhood.  You have been exasperated by her failure to respond, felt fear over her sudden motivation, and then, felt incredible sadness over her life falling apart again.

The stranger that you swore you could not begin to understand is not a stranger to you anymore.

You don’t want to care about her.  You don’t want to pray for her success.  Still yet, when you look in the eyes of the sweet little one that you have grown to love, you cannot help but catch a glimpse of her.  You see her in the way he gets a certain look when telling a little fib.  You see her when he smiles a certain way.

You catch moments of her when he holds his tongue a certain way while concentrating on what is being said.  You’ve seen it as well…at court hearings, in meetings, and in pictures.

The stranger that you swore you could not begin to understand is not a stranger to you anymore. 

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child,

It has been a year since your eyes first met the stranger’s child.  It has been a year since you tucked him in for the night, attended his meetings at school, watched him unwrap presents on special days, carried him while he was sick, cried with him when he was crying for his first Momma, stayed up all night to watch him just in case he needed you, and found yourself falling in love.

It has been a year since you sat quietly at that first meeting just taking it all in.  It has been a year since you heard the allegations, attended the court hearings, helped with visits, and started praying fervently for God’s will to be done.

It has not been easy.  You know that.  You have even thought to yourself, “I don’t want to pray for her life to fall apart again, but how do I pray about this love I feel for him? How can I separate my selfish love/desire to be his forever Momma while also praying for the very soul who birthed him into the world?”

You look back at the year and cannot believe how far you all have come.  The little one who entered your home is making incredible strides.  He still has his moments of complete melt-downs (which are all completely heartbreaking), but these moments seem to be further apart.  In their place, you are now witnessing the growth and gifts of a child to whom had been stifled by the chaos of neglect.

You look back on the year, and while you do not see a whole lot of progress in the stranger whose child you love, what you see instead is a human being that is and always will be near to your heart. You see someone, once a child in need herself, who has failed time and time again, but you cannot help but yearn to see her through eyes of love.

After all, when you look in the eyes of the sweet little one that you have grown to love, you cannot help but catch a glimpse of her.

You look back at the year and you remember when you started on this journey.  A bit naive?  Perhaps.  A bit of a superhero complex?  Maybe.  A bit scared?  Absolutely.  You recall that first phone call about placement, driving to pick up the little one, nervously greeting the case worker for the first time, meeting the stranger that you did not understand, praying and crying in your pillow at night, exhaling in exhaustion after the court hearings, and welcoming case managers, attorneys, and others involved in child welfare into your home on a routine basis.

You look back at the year and you remember those special moments of discovery and healing that you and the little one have embarked on together.  You recall the joy at first successes, the sadness of first disappointments, and the day in and day out of growing a child who belongs to someone else.

And then…

The stranger that you swore you could not begin to understand is not a stranger to you anymore.

She is now someone you have come to care about.

After all, when you look in the eyes of the sweet little one that you have grown to love, you cannot help but catch a glimpse of her.

Most of all though, you are beginning to recognize the gift of life that the Lord has given you.  You are able to see His hand-prints and His footprints that have marked the path to which you have walked this last year.  You see how He has answered your prayers. Each day, you have grown more in your walk with the Lord.  You feel renewed, refreshed, and refined.

You look back at the year and you now see how the very child you love, the stranger to whom you swore you could begin to understand, and the reflection of yourself in the mirror are all part of a bigger story that is still being written.  You see your part in the story of a precious life that was crafted by our Creator in Heaven.

Dear (Foster) Momma of a Stranger’s Child,

You are no longer loving on a stranger’s child.

You are loving on His child. 

Psalm 139:1-18 (The Message Bible)-  I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful – I can’t take it all in! Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them – any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!

Caroline BaileyBailey Courageous Love-3-L

Caroline is a mother to three children through adoption, and a strong advocate for foster care.  At the age of eleven, Caroline underwent an emergency hysterectomy in order to save her life.  Since then, she has known that she would never have biological children.

In 2006, Caroline and her husband, Bruce, became foster parents and quickly accepted the placement of a newborn baby boy.  Through their journey of foster care, they learned so much about the needs of children, and were greatly humbled by the experience.  They went on to adopt their daughter after fostering her, and recently adopted their youngest boy in 2013.

Currently, Caroline works for a Christian child welfare agency in Missouri.  Caroline shares her life experience about foster care, adoption, barrenness, and faith on her blog: www.barrentoblessed.wordpress.com

Caroline has been a guest speaker at churches and conferences regarding adoption, and is currently working on a memoir about her life growing up as the youngest female known to have a hysterectomy.

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