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When I started foster care classes, everything felt strange, exciting, and yes a little bit scary. I knew I had a heart for children, I knew we could provide a safe and loving home, but there was so much I still didn’t know. And that scared me.
I didn’t know what it would feel like to have a child who was not birthed from my womb placed in my arms as though he or she were.
I didn’t know how my heart would adjust when I looked at that child and felt like I was looking at a stranger.
I wasn’t sure how in the world I would ever see my foster child’s birth mom as the right parent when I knew what led to my child being placed in my care.
I didn’t know how I would ever do it again.
There were so many things I didn’t know going into our classes and emerging as a licensed foster parent, “paper pregnant” with our next child. And that is exactly where grace met my faith (and at times lack thereof.)
When I didn’t know how to love a child who wasn’t mine, grace came in and made a way. With continuous care and effort, attachment grew, creating a lifeline for us both.
When I didn’t know how to meet my foster child’s needs, the whole team from Olive Crest and the state workers came together to help me navigate the interventions my child needs to thrive.
When I didn’t know how to keep up with appointments and the sudden upheaval of a new child in our family, our community wrapped their arms around us, and helped with food, clothing for our new child, age-appropriate toys, and even babysitting for our other children.
When I faced returning the child I had grown to love, my own Father’s love kept reminding me that pure love is laying one’s own life down for another. And while the pain of it would be just as real and just as sacrificial as giving up a biological child, God himself knows what it is to let go of a son — and He would be with me the whole way.
When I didn’t know how to parent the child we were able to adopt, ongoing support through adoption communities and conferences like Refresh partnered with me to let me know I was not alone, and there were solutions out there to help.
When I didn’t know how to take the next step, or the step after that, an invisible strength from God rose up in my mama heart giving me exactly what I needed the moment I needed it.
Perhaps you are where I once was. Excited, scared, hopeful — and just starting the process of being a foster parent. Maybe you too are facing a lot of what-ifs, and wondering if your mama heart is enough for this journey.
May I encourage you — your heart for fostering is not born . . . it is grown.
Maybe you have planted those seeds, but you are waiting to see if you heart for fostering is big enough, right enough, strong enough. Dear brave mama, you will not see your full heart for foster care at the beginning. Your heart will grow to the reaches of the needs of the children placed in your care.
Sometimes that means your heart will break (and it will.) Sometimes your heart will soar. Sometimes your heart will feel fuller than you ever experienced before. Sometimes it will come up empty.
But the only way for it to grow into the fostering heart God intended it to be is to foster. I encourage you to take that step of faith — and watch while God provides for the rest.
Olive Crest invites you to learn more about becoming a foster parent, a selfless ministry that gives again and again to future generations. Learn how you can make a difference in children’s lives, through Olive Crest through fostering or donating. Visit today!
Author Bio: Rachel Lewis is a foster, adoptive and birth mom who writes about loss, foster care and infertility at The Lewis Note. Get her free gift here. Connect on Facebook. Join her private support group here.