When Fostering Breaks Your Heart

Holding onto mama's hand.

Foster care is temporary. The first goal is always reunification, and putting families back together is a beautiful ambition. I shared a wonderful story of reunification in a past post. But today's is about the reality of what it means to be the mama to a child you love, who will one day leave.

I still remember folding up those tiny baby clothes and lovingly placing them in her bags. Each soft, fluffy, and pink outfit had been purchased with such joy. I loved this baby girl. When the phone call came informing us she was going to live with her grandparents, I fell on my knees. I pleaded with God to change the hearts of others and let me keep being her mama.

I had prayed this prayer before when I first became a foster mom, and my little girl stayed forever. This little one did not, and my heart broke.

I folded up the clothes and blankets and made the short drive to the DHS building. There was this deep desire to just keep driving and never look back. I didn't. I pulled into the parking lot, unloaded her belongings and gave them to the two strangers in front of me.

I wanted to cry, and scream, and plead for them to please let me continue being her mom. I wanted to promise them anything in order to keep the baby I loved so deeply. Instead, I kissed her soft cheek, smiled, and handed her to the outstretched arms of her grandma. Then I drove away as tears rolled down my cheeks.

And even though my heart had been broken, when the next phone call came from the child welfare office, I said, "Yes." Because that is the calling. To love fiercely and completely even if it is only temporary.