This morning, as our foster daughter slipped into her coat to go to the farm with hubby to play with the kitties and roll in the snow-soaked dirt, she surprised us both by testing out the sound of her first name combined with our last name, completely unprompted. Then she put all of our names together, even our dog’s, and pronounced us a family.
My heart turned to pudding.
She’s gotten so comfortable with us, and we’ve gotten comfortable with her, too. Having her with us feels right. We’ve fallen head-over-heels in love. It’s not always easy, true, but that’s how love is. The longer we have her, the more she feels like part us. And in a way, she always will be. But I’ve bonded with her in a way that almost feels like she’s actually mine. Watching her play is like watching my eight-year-old self play. We have the same interests, the same hobbies, the same unbridled creativity, the same bad habits, the same taste in literature and movies. We understand each other in a very deep way.
There’s a possibility of adoption with every foster case, however remote, but the true purpose of the foster program is to reunify children with their biological families.
We know that. We knew it going in.
Despite the care we have given her, despite our best efforts and the love we have provided, we are the backup plan, the last resort.
If the opportunity arose to adopt her, we’d jump at the chance.
But right now, that’s an if. It’s a dream, a possibility, a maybe.
This is just hypothetical, and I am not sure how to pray about this.
I feel like no matter what I pray for, the prayer will be ugly: if I pray that we can keep her, that means someone else has to lose her. But I have opened my heart to her so much that I do not want to be the one to lose her, either, so I cannot bring myself to pray for any other scenario.
I do not want anyone to have to bear the pain of losing her, myself included.
Foster care is meant to be temporary. I knew that going in. But love doesn’t exactly work that way.
In many ways, it would be easier on my heart to ball up and shut down, to quit caring about her now while the bond is still fresh. But I can’t; I’m in too far. She needs and deserves better than that. We’ve invested our love, attention, and patience into her: only five months’ worth, true, but it feels like she’s been here for a lifetime.
We have no idea how much more time we’ll have with her, and that scares me. I want to savor every moment, but with the thought of a possible and unknown deadline looming, that sweetness is quickly soured. It’s a confusing brew of emotions.
So praying about her and for her has been hard. I’ve resulted to praying for whatever is best for her with a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart, knowing that it might not be us, and praying for the courage and strength to accept whatever decision the foster system makes regarding her welfare. As foster parents, we have no rights or say about what happens to her. It is merely our job to provide her with love and care.
I just hope we have done it well.