Something about babies always makes people smile. Their supposed innocence, adorable baby rolls, toothless grins, contagious laughter, and the freshness of their smooth skin and simple being all in one miniature person. Joy. Smiles. Perfect strangers will reach out and touch (and even kiss) babies they have never seen before. Once, I had even witnessed a stranger sit herself down at the table with Baby S and her birth mom to start a conversation.
What makes that ok? Somehow, personal space doesn’t exist for babies.
As I sit at yet another birth parent visit in a quiet mall food court composed of only two restaurants, person after person walking by point at my beautiful Baby S and smile.
An older white couple, perhaps in their 70’s, sat side-by-side at a four-person table enjoying their Filipino dinner for at least an hour, in no hurry to go anywhere. The wife sat on the left in a white, loose-fitting cotton shirt printed with large blue flowers. The husband wore a light-blue denim button-down short-sleeved shirt.
The wife had turned to her left to converse across the aisle with our birth mom, probably about Baby S. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but both were smiling. Maybe the older lady was telling about her kids or her grandchildren when they were babies. She lit up at the sight of Baby S. Perhaps it was the most exciting moment of her day. At this point, our birth dad was cradling and bouncing Baby S while slowly walking
After the elderly couple left, another 30 minutes passed by until it was time for our visit to end. My dear sister-in-Christ had encouraged me to pray with the birth parents…so I did.
I walked over to their table as they were putting Baby S into the car seat stroller and asked if I could pray for them. Birth dad doesn’t understand that much English, but I hope he understood that I love them. I placed my right hand on birth mom’s back, feeling her smooth black cardigan, and prayed that they would know Jesus and truly live for Him, that God would give them the strength to persevere through this whole situation and that He would receive glory in all of this. When I had finished praying, I saw that this sweet mom had tears streaming down her cheeks. Baby S had started fussing and her mom held her hand, trying to calm her. I embraced my friend and whispered, “Be strong.”
Another great joy. And I pray that the greatest joy of all for everyone would be found in knowing Christ Jesus.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 3:3-5
Paul speaks about believers suffering for the sake of the gospel. Birth parents in the foster care system are not suffering for the sake of the gospel, but we hope that God will bring them to Him through their suffering.
As our birth family finds reason to rejoice in all the little things their baby girl does and all the sweet attention she draws during their suffering, we continue to pray for God to make a true change in their hearts to know Him and be justified by faith, to endure this foster care journey, and come out victorious. Until then, they find joy in their daughter’s smiles, laughter, the way she eats and moves, and more.
What a joy and honor it is for our family to be a part of this process of reunification and redemption. As the praise song goes:
There is joy in the Lord
There is love in His Spirit
There is hope in the knowledge of Him
There’s a fountain that flows
Like a river from heaven
Abounding in love to my soul
Michelle is a daughter of God, wife of one handsome hunk, homeschooling mom of three boys, foster mom, foster blogger, and foster care advocate. Over the past 9 years, her family has learned to love their foster children deeply, yet hold them loosely. You can read more from Michelle at her blog, Loving Deeply, Holding Loosely.