That morning was like every other morning.
My 2 year old and 7 month old woke us up and we all snuggled in bed together for as long as possible before getting up for the day. We got changed, brushed our teeth and headed downstairs. We made coffee and enjoyed a slow breakfast together.
But then there was a knock on the door. It was the CAS worker coming to take our baby.
I’m Kristin and I’m a foster mom.
We’ve been fostering for 2 years and have cared for 5 children since our home opened. I went into this knowing that I was inviting heart break into my life but I didn’t know how much courage I would need to ride this rollercoaster. I knew I could say yes to a child who needed to be loved and cared for during the worst time of their life, but there is nothing that prepares you for what it’s like to say goodbye. To pack up all your baby’s belongings, snuggle him into his carseat for the last time and hand him over to a worker.
He was my son and I was his mom.
I had changed his diapers. Fed him through the night. Slept by his side during a hospital stay. Cried over the loss and pain he had experienced. Prayed over him and his future. Cheered him on as he cut his first tooth, rolled over for the first time and started eating solids.
It didn’t happen overnight, but with time we had attached and he was my son.
But he had another mom.
I didn't expect this goodbye to be as hard. We had said goodbye once before and thought that maybe it would get a bit easier. We tried to hold back the tears as our daughter cried because some stranger was taking her brother, but when the door closed the tears flowed.
We had woken up that morning as a family of 4 and suddenly we were a family of 3 again.
I was feeling all the emotions. I was so happy for his parents who had worked through the crisis in their life and been reunited with their precious baby. I was extremely sad about the loss that our daughter was experiencing. I was sad for myself.
I was grieving 6 months of laughing and crying and growing.
Grieving the fact that my baby was no longer my baby. Wondering if he’d be ok and what his future would hold. Knowing that we’d probably never see him again and wondering how we would keep doing this over and over again.
But I’m also starting to sense this deep peace within me.
A knowledge that I really can open myself up to heart break and love a child for a month or a year and trust that God’s got them when they leave. And I can keep doing it over and over again because, although I will carry some scars, each child is so very worth it. It’s worth this pain and grief to give a child hope and love. I’ve realized that my capacity to love is not limited. The more that I’ve dared to love the more my heart has expanded.
So I’ll say yes again. Knowing that there will be pain and loss on the road ahead but also great fulfilment, blessing and joy.