We’ve been foster parents for over six months now. We were officially fully licensed (meaning we can take children other than our teen boys) on the last day of June. We got the text that we were approved while on our anniversary trip in Savannah, GA. One week later we welcomed a 5 month old for a week as we provided respite for her foster family.
Adding an infant to our existing crew was quite the experience. We were all excited about the opportunity to love on a sweet baby for a week. Don’t get me wrong though- bringing any child into our home through foster care is bittersweet. Justin and I are honored to be able to care for these kiddos, but at the same time, we are so deeply sorry for the situation that has landed them in a complete stranger’s home- our home. We love our teenagers and are so glad we can provide a safe and loving home. We are completely attached to them but if we could take away every bad thing that’s happened to them, we would do that knowing it would mean we wouldn’t have the opportunity to love them like we do. If we have to let them go in the future, it will be one of the hardest things we face, but our goal as foster parents is always reunification and if a child goes back to a loving, healthy, and stable home, we will celebrate that even in our grief. At this time, it appears that our teens are here to stay but foster care is unpredictable. I just want to make it clear that we don’t find joy in broken homes. We are just filling the need that we were called to fulfill.
Back to Baby M. She was with us for one week and was such a sweet girl. Everyone enjoyed having her in our home. Since our last infant couldn’t make noise for the first year of her life, I soaked up every coo and squeal from Baby M. I think it was a small part of healing for me. Even though Brynlee is now healthy and talks 24/7, it still sometimes stings when I hear an infant coo, cry, or giggle. Caring for Baby M was special in that I got to experience that again as her foster mama for a week. Baby M loved sleeping swaddled, sweet potatoes, attention, being held upright, and bath time. Bella turned out to be an amazing big foster sister helping with anything I needed whether that was holding and entertaining Baby M or feeding her. Brynlee wasn’t too jealous and didn’t want her to leave. Bryson & S weren’t very interested, but did hold her when I asked them too which was maybe twice. J was so excited when I told him we were going to have a baby and was great with her. He held her often and also didn’t want her to go. I quickly remembered how much work infants are and by the end of the week, I was ready for a full night of sleep! I’m so glad we said yes. There is nothing like feeding a swaddled baby and smelling that sweet baby smell while nuzzling their hair as they drift off to sleep. Nothing.
Saying goodbye to Baby M was probably one of the easiest goodbyes we’ll face in the foster world. We knew she was going back to her foster family who loves and cares for her while her parents are working to get her back. We knew she was going somewhere stable. She’ll definitely always hold a special place in our heart as our first foster baby. (And yes, I did offer to babysit in the future!)
So that’s where we currently are in our foster journey. I’m not sure if we will say yes to any long term placements during the remainder of this year. We have a cruise coming up in December and because it’s already booked, we’d have to place any other children into respite while we are gone. We’ll be gone for 9 days and I just wouldn’t feel right taking 5 of my children and then leaving one behind. Our cruise is only a little over 4 months away (WHERE DID YOU GO, 2017!?) and then we will be open to a long term placement. We are approved for 3 foster children at this time. My Odyssey will only hold 8 and we do like to go places all together so I asked to be approved for one more other than our teens. If we buy a larger vehicle in the future (hello 12 passenger van!) and add on to our house again, we may look into be approved for more children. For now, I think six kids is plenty. 5 is good too!
Until next time, friends.