Your skin is darker, your eyes are bigger,
You are not my own.
Your hair is curlier, your smile brighter,
You are not my own.
Your laugh is sweeter, your cry is deeper,
You are not my own.
You are not my own today, nor not my own tomorrow.
Forever you will be, not my own.
This is where my heart is tonight: heavy, deep, numb. The thoughts of you are so present in my mind, the burden so heavy on my heart. Who am I to you? A mother? A babysitter? A temporary caretaker? Just a stranger? These questions I cannot answer.
Questions of yesterday, today, and tomorrow fill up in my head. They cause commotion, a racket, an uneasy feeling throughout. How do you hold on? How do you let go? How do you love when you know you’re only going to lose?
This is my greatest challenge.
I want to so desperately love you. I want to be nothing more than your #1 fan. I want to be there when you take your first steps, say your first word, make your first friend. I want to be there for it all, but, sweet child, I don’t know if I will. I don’t know if I’ll be there a year from now, a month from now, or even a day from now. I don’t know what the future holds and because of that my heart is guarded.
My heart is guarded from the dangers of this world, from the pain of the unknown. I so badly want to rip down these walls, little one, but I’m struggling. I’m struggling to allow myself to be fully in. I’m struggling to embrace the love and forget the loss. I’m struggling to see the reward when all I see is the pain.
These words above so greatly depict how my heart has been for the past 3 weeks. I started writing this above post over a week ago and my feelings have been all over the place. One minute I bask in the glory of being able to care for this sweet child, another I can’t wait until this entire thing is over, and the next my heart is shattered when I see a picture of him with her, the one who gave him life.
Fostering is a hard and confusing journey. You don’t know where you fit in the grand scheme of things. At times you feel that you are all these little ones have; the next minute you feel like you are nothing more than an underpaid babysitter, constantly cleaning up the messes that trauma and neglect leave behind. It’s hard to know whether I should refer to myself as “momma” or say “Thank you!” when people tell me how adorable he is. I didn’t create him, he’s not mine, and I have no idea if he’ll ever be mine. Fostering is just plain hard.
I have questioned many times whether or not this is something I want to continue. Is this something I can really handle long term? Can I really allow myself to love this child only to maybe have to let him go? I honestly don’t know. I don’t know because every time my phone rings with an unknown number I start to panic thinking this is the day I lose the first child I’ve ever had. I don’t know because every time I see his face I still don’t know how to feel. I don’t know because nothing in my life has come close to the strength that I need to hurdle over these obstacles.
But today, on this warm sunny afternoon, I try to remember why we were called here. I try to remember why the Lord allowed us to care for HIS children, why the Lord thought we were worthy of this journey. I try to remember that His blessings will far outweigh the struggles we are facing and that the days to come are only going to get sweeter. I cling to the promise that He will bring us through this because He brought us to it.
And through it all, I desperately try to remind myself that I’m not alone.
I’m not alone when the high pitch cries leave the mouth of this little babe at 6:45 AM as we’re trying to leave the house on time. I’m not alone when I’m lying on the bathroom floor sobbing uncontrollably with doubt and anxiety about the future. I’m not alone when I hear his mother’s voice on the phone, telling me of all the things she is planning when they are reunited.
But most of all, I know I am not alone because I see the things that God is orchestrating. I see His hand in motion, sending me subtle reminders that I CAN do this. I am not alone because on the darkest day after the darkest night, the one where I felt nothing but inadequacy as a human being, the one where I began writing this entire post, this ended up in my mailbox at school…..reminding me once again that I am NOT alone.
Bailey and her husband have been married 4.5 years and live in South Florida with their foster children and crazy dog, Nessie. After suffering from infertility for over a year, they felt the Lord calling them to a life of fostering. They began their fostering journey in September 2015, took their first placement in January 2016 and have had eight placements over the two years since. Bailey shares glimpses into their life on her blog, Whichever Shoe Fits.