It is always this way. Any time we get a new child placed with us we feel it. I know other foster parents who experience the same thing. It’s the stretch.
When we have a child placed with us, from the very moment that they get to our home we put all we can into loving them, comforting them, soothing and normalizing and acting as a salve on their burned and broken hearts. This is one of the ways that God has chosen to use us, but it is also a way he has chosen to refine us. And being refined is rarely a painless process.
A friend asked me not long ago if it is the same – the feelings you have for ‘your children’ and your foster children. I would say without hesitation that it depends on the child. There are children you connect with and children you don’t. You love them all, but you deep down from-the-bottom-of-your-very-heart-and-soul connect with some. (This may sound terrible to some who haven’t fostered. To them I say: Try fostering.) No matter the connection, at the beginning, there is always the stretch.
It’s the stretch between the children who were already in your home (whether they are there temporarily or forever) and the child who has just been placed with you. It’s a stretch in your heart.
It’s the questions that pester your mind – Is this best for the kids already in our home? Am I taking too much time away from them? Am I going to miss this precious time because of the chaos?
It’s the transition of having a new child in your home. Learning to share with another pair of hands. Sharing mommy, sharing toys, sharing time.
It’s the pull in your heart for something normal. Something not so hard. Something dreamy and perfect. It’s the hurt of not being able to ignore the brokenness of this world.
It’s the worry that you are not enough. There’s not enough of you to go around, not enough love in your heart, not enough patience in your soul.
But always God reminds me that what he calls us to, he has also called our children to, and that this is a part of their journey as well.
We’ve crossed this hump with Bella. We are past the stretch. It seems that it gets a little bit easier with each placement, but I don’t think it will ever be something I don’t struggle with. (This is becoming a novel. If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed!)
Now we are in the process of becoming. With every placement we become a family all over again. We become sisters and Mamas and Daddies and brothers and cousins and aunts and grandparents. We become support and trust and consistency. And however temporary, we become family.
We are becoming.
(P.S. Bella is staying here. More to come on that.)