When I tell someone that I am a new foster parent, the number-one “push back” I receive sounds something like, “Oh, wow, I could never do that. I could never give a child back once I had become attached.” This comment always leaves me feeling uneasy. My heart is not made of any tougher stuff than the average person’s… what makes me think I can do this??
Now that I’ve been snuggling a sweet little 8-month-old foster baby for over a month, it is becoming clear that we are probably not going to become his permanent family. We would love to adopt again, so we are taking this news pretty hard. We will probably get to love on him for a few more months, though, while details are being ironed out with his other family members.
So the question is, what do I do with my heart?? How do I love this little one temporarily?
The temptation is to pull back, protect my heart, detach. That would make the separation easier, right? Maybe. But as I’ve considered this I have heard this clearly through the Spirit, “Who would that choice benefit? The baby? Or you?” The answer, of course, is me. Pulling back certainly won’t do the baby any favors.
There’s nothing for it. I’ve gotta go ahead and love, all the way. It will be the best thing for the baby, and maybe ultimately the best thing for me in the long run (need to do some more thinking on that). It will hurt, no doubt about it. But no other option sounds right.
A friend of mine said something that is helping me through these tough days. She reminded me that we don’t know how many days we have with any of our children. None of them belong to us… biological, adopted, or foster. They all belong to God. We don’t pull back from loving them just because the length of time we have with them is uncertain. We love all the way. That’s just what parents do.
So, as a foster parent, that’s what I’m going to try to do. Love all the way. Just like Christ has loved me. Not because my heart is any tougher than the next person’s, but because that’s what I’m called to do. And if I have to let go? Well, that’s another parenting specialty isn’t it? We have to let go in small increments all their lives. Loving and letting go. Isn’t that what parents do?
What about you? Have any experience loving and letting go?