I’ve been writing and re-writing an introductory post about why we became foster parents and having such a hard time articulating myself. I want to have all the answers, both for myself and for other people, but today all I have is feelings.
Today is the 4th of July. Our first 4th since becoming parents to two sweet babies, and our first since having both of those boys return home. Today, I will drag my feet to a BBQ and our local fair, not because I don’t want to go but because I thought I would be coming with someone else.
After our first baby went home, we still had contact with him and his mom. To say I am grateful for that ongoing connection is an understatement. My relationship with her will get its own post; I can’t say enough good things about her. I am so proud of her and genuinely glad that she has the opportunity to raise the child she loves so much. She would go out of her way to text me, and let us see her son and repeatedly said she wants ongoing connection with us. So a couple of weeks ago, I went out on a limb and invited her and her children to spend part of today celebrating with us. I gave her all sorts of outs- “it’s okay if you’re working…”, “only if you feel comfortable”, “you probably have other plans” and she reassured me that she had nothing else planned, we left the conversation with her saying that sounds great.
I won’t know exactly why she didn’t get back to me about specific plans, unless she decides to tell me later. And I would be lying if I said that my throat didn’t feel thick with sadness or that I wasn’t scared that maybe the last time we saw her sweet baby was the last time we’ll ever see him. But this is the grief we sign up for, as foster parents, so that the kids don’t have to. Because the last thing I want is for that sweet baby to be a toddler, or in elementary school, sitting around on the 4th of July, wondering why he can’t spend it with his mom. Or hurting because his visit got cancelled, because the offices are closed on holidays. So today I choose to not believe the worst, but to think how I would feel having to share another first with anyone else. I choose to attend that BBQ, go to that fair…and keep my phone on loud, just in case she changes her mind. And I’ll choose to not hold it against her when we speak again.
And most importantly, when the offices reopen, and they call us about another child, I’ll sign up to do it all over again.