Loneliness stands to my left.
Fear to my right.
And when I look at my reflection, I see failure.
I can’t make myself attach to this kid. I want to…I think. But the wall rises around my heart. Protection from pain forces me to come face to face with my reality. This foster care thing isn’t natural. It’s not the way it was supposed to be.
I want to tuck this baby under my chin and really know him.
But that will cost me something. And I’m not ready to pay up. So I don’t.
I simply go through the motions. I feed him and change him and try not to look in his eyes because I don’t want to let myself go there.
I don’t want to love him because the pain of loving and losing is fresh for me.
It was 17 months into our foster care journey when I faced these detached feelings for the first time. We received a call for the placement of our fourth foster child. He was a little guy that had been bounced around from birth family to foster home several times in his short life. During his stay with us, there were epic battles with his behavior and I often focused on simply getting through my day hour by hour. Literally, I would set the kitchen timer and for one hour and tell myself I could do this. I could love him. I could be patient and full of grace for just an hour. Time outs were one of the only forms of discipline we could use. They were draining and painful for me. My biological kids were pushed aside while I focused all of my attention on this little guy.
Sometimes through my tears, I would hear myself saying, I heard you wrong, Lord. You chose the wrong girl for this journey.
A wise counsel told me to never doubt in the dark what God has revealed in the light.
So in that darkness, I clung to what was true.
He had called me.
That was it. At one moment in time, the call was clear.
And in these murky waters, when I can’t see a single thing with clarity, when emotions blur my vision and confusion looms over me like a thick fog, that’s the truth I must choose to listen to in order to keep from drowning in my current circumstances.
A year after that exhausting experience, I am shocked to find myself in that place again.
I’m suffocating under unrealistic expectations and my failures as a mom are shoved in my face by an enemy that seeks to destroy everything I am working to build.
Maybe you’ve heard these lies yourself:
- You’re not equipped.
- Who do you think you are?
- This is out of your league.
- You’re right. You’ll never attach.
- What kind of mom are you?
- How are you so angry at this innocent baby sometimes?
- Just give up.
- He’s not worth it.
- You’re not worth it.
Those lies drown out the truth…if I let them.
But I won’t. Hour by hour, I speak my need for grace. and affirmation. and hope.
Sometimes hope hides. But it’s not really hiding…it’s there. We can’t always see it. Sometimes it’s dark. Really dark. But HOPE is on the horizon and we have to keep lifting our eyes and pushing through the fog until the glimmers of light shine like radiant beams.
It’s hard. And it’s not in our strength. But we can keep calling out in the darkness.
Don’t quit. Don’t give up. And don’t believe the lie that you aren’t CALLED.
Foster mama friend of mine, I know this road is lonely, and creepy, and painful. And you will fight your flesh over and over and over again. But keep fighting because the work you are doing is good. And it’s necessary. And beautiful.
When hope hides, lift your eyes. It’s there. I promise. I’ve seen it and soon you will, too.
Kristy and Zach are biological parents to four beautiful kiddos. They have called nineteen others their own since starting their journey as a foster family in the summer of 2012. They say yes to the hard and crazy as they follow Jesus on this journey of surrender and obedience. Kristy loves coffee, good conversation, comfy clothes and Anne of Green Gables. She is assertive and loves change as she learns to thrive in the chaos. Follow Kristy on her personal blog, This Hard Calling.