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Adoption Day-Not Just Any Other Day

For our son Sammy, tomorrow will seem like any other day. Sure, both sets of grandparents will be in town giving him almost nonstop, enthusiastic attention, he will have to wake up a bit earlier than normal and put on slightly fancier clothes than he is used to, but other than that, it will feel pretty normal. He will be excited and happy because everyone else is excited and happy but he will wake up, eat, play (at a courthouse), nap, play some more, eat dinner, take a bath and go to bed, just like he does on any other day.

The reality however, is that tomorrow is not just any other day. It is a day that has meaning and implications that will affect him the rest of his life. Tomorrow Sammy will legally become in the eyes of the state what he has been in our eyes since we brought him home from the hospital, our son. Sammy (Samuel) will become his new legal name, the same name as his great grandfather. Though he doesn’t remember a day when we weren’t “Mommy and Daddy” to him, tomorrow these titles will become secure.

This day of celebration has been prayed for and anticipated for a long time. There have been innumerable decisions made by his birth parents, social workers and judges over the last two and half years that have have brought us to this day and by God’s providence, tomorrow he will be finally and fully be a Lind. Once court is finished, Sammy will be adopted. This will be a one time, past tense event, that can’t be undone. He will be declared our child and legally everything that is true about our biological daughter, Finley, will be true about him. He will be exactly the same amount of a Lind as the rest of us.

This will be an amazing moment. We can hardly wait. Beyond this moment, our hope and prayer is that this leads to another moment–a moment when Sammy would put his trust in Jesus for salvation. More than anything else, we desire for our children to know and believe the Gospel. We want them to embrace the glorious truth that we are all alienated from God, sinners who stand opposed to him, yet, while we were still sinners Christ died for us. This act made a way for us who were once far from God to be adopted as his sons and daughters. If Sammy were to put his trust in Christ, the benefits of being adopted into the family of God would far outweigh the benefits of his earthly adoption into our family. Becoming a Lind has implications for him in this life only but when we are adopted by God, we receive an inheritance that is eternal and unfading, kept in heaven by God. This is a glorious thing!

Our prayer for Sammy tomorrow is that he will look back on this special day, see the balloons, the cake, the fancy clothes, the family and friends surrounding him and realize this day was not just any other day. Through it, we pray he would see how loved, wanted and cared for he is by us and by God. We pray that he would marvel at God’s grace in his life and that this day, his adoption into our family, would be used to bring him into the family of God. We pray too that those witnessing this day from near and afar who haven’t yet put their trust in Jesus would do so and experience the joy of being adopted into the family of God. May we together marvel at God’s grace in our lives and praise him for the special day we were adopted into his family through Jesus Christ.

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Fostering is a Family Affair: Thank you for Venturing with Us!

When Joel and I signed our contract to be foster parents through the state of Kentucky, we didn’t realize that we were also signing the names of all of our family members and close friends. Although they did not know it at the time, our decision to do foster care was their decision to do foster care. Though they initially sat before us a little wide-eyed at our decision to open our home for foster care, from the moment our little guy was placed into our arms they have given themselves wholeheartedly as papa, grandma, auntie, uncle, cousin and dear friend to our sweet boy. They have done this even without the promise that he would be their grandson, nephew or cousin forever.

At times Joel and I have felt cruel for putting them through this. For well over a year, every good-bye was tear-filled, and loaded with the fear that this may be the last good-bye. “He may not be ours at Christmas”, my mom would cry as she kissed his sweet forehead one more time. My heart would ache as I watched our little boy’s Papa and Pops fight back tears while we gathered our things to leave. I struggled as I looked into the confused eyes of my nieces and nephews and tried to explain that although they were able to have their cousin with them for Christmas, he may not be back with us to celebrate Easter or go to the cabin in the summer. It has been a long and difficult road but our courageous family and friends have walked with us each step of the way.

We are beyond grateful, and still somewhat a bit shocked, that saying good-bye is no longer the reality. This coming Tuesday, September 6th, at 8:30am, a two and half year chapter will come to a close and a new one will begin. One in which this little boy is our son, a Lind all the days of his life. We stand in awe and grateful for how the Lord has used the prayers of our friends and family and worked on our little guy’s behalf. As we anticipate our son’s upcoming adoption day, Joel and I want to say from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Thank you for bearing with us in the uncertainties, thank you for opening your hearts regardless of what the outcome would be, thank you for crying out to God on our little guy’s behalf, and thank you for taking care of us and praying for our weary hearts in the process. We realize many of you won’t be able to join us for Sammy’s adoption day next week, but we know you rejoice with us from afar. We thank God for you and the way you have journeyed with us on this winding path of foster care and we will be sure to let you know when the next adventure begins.🙂

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No Longer Waiting: We have a Court Date!

Nearly two and a half years have passed since Joel and I received a phone call one chilly March morning informing us of a 6lb baby boy that had been born. He was two and a half weeks old, ready to be discharged from the hospital and was needing a home to be placed in for a few days, possibly a few weeks until more permanent arrangements could be made with family members. Little did we know, those weeks would turn to months, and the months would turn into years. His first steps we thought we would never witness, we were able to joyfully cheer on. We have been able to teach him his first words and how to count to ten. We have been able to teach him the Gospel song and Romans 5:8-which he often manages to rattle off in the midst of a terrible two’s tantrum. Quietly chanting “Christ died por (for) us”, has a way of quickly dissolving many situations into laughter, or sometimes tears as I’m reminded of Jesus’ grace for me in the hard moments of parenting. This little boy is clever, quick, and always planning his next endeavor. We couldn’t imagine our days without his sneaky little grin or his deep belly chuckles, and now we don’t have to.

On September 6th, 2016, the day so many of our friends and family have prayed and longed for with us, this little guy will become a Lind forever. Joel and I will have the privilege of swearing under oath before God, the family court judge, and our friends and family, to officially (and finally) make this little boy a permanent part of our family. I absolutely cannot wait to celebrate this day and tightly squeeze in my arms this little boy who in our eyes and hearts has been our son since day one, but who will now officially be recognized by the state as our son, and Joel and I as his mother and father. No more monthly social worker visits and no more permission needed to travel out of state. We can now write down his new name at the doctor’s office and most importantly instead of kissing him good-bye like we dreaded just over a year ago, we will be able to, Lord willing, kiss him as he starts his first day of school, heads off to college, gets married and beyond. Such a gift we are being given.

As many of you know, the journey to get to this point has not been quick or easy. Joel and I began the process just over three years ago, and though our hearts have been broken by the things we have seen, we don’t regret for a moment the decision to venture down this path. We have anxiously awaited phone calls after court dates. We have nervously braced ourselves to say goodbye to our baby on numerous occasions. We have cried over news of birth parents dropping out of rehab. Most recently, in November, we wept as we watched our little guy’s birth parents kiss him goodbye (for now). We are now nearing the end of our first foster care journey-parental rights have been terminated, biological family has been ruled out, we have an adoption worker, we have chosen a lawyer and we have signed adoption papers. We praise God for the hard-working social workers he has given us and for the long hours they have put in to get us to this point. The court date on September 6th will be the final step! Phew!

I have said it before, and I say it again: Foster care is a messy, complicated process, filled with messy, complicated emotions. The road has been long and even treacherous at times for our hearts but we have a God who never grows faint and has upheld us every step of the way. As you rejoice with us in our upcoming adoption, we ask you to also consider stepping out and venturing down this path yourself. Foster care doesn’t have to be “plan B”. Joel and I did not pursue foster care because of an inability to have biological children. We also didn’t do it because we are special or possess a unique ability to remain unattached from children. (See: Wanted: Parents Willing to get too Attached) Our hearts are not unbreakable or unaffected by pain. Our road has involved many twists and turns, tears and sleepless nights and your road will most likely hold the same things. You will have many questions, fears, and hesitations, but God will go before you and meet you there as he did for us. There is an incredible need for foster families in the US right now and our prayer is that the Church, those who love and follow Jesus, would be the ones to open their homes to children in need.

For more information about getting involved in foster care, go to your state’s website and search foster care or find an organization in your city that works with foster children. In Kentucky, you can go to adopt.ky.gov and find all the information you need to know about the process. You can also contact me and I would be more than happy to talk with you, pray with you and point you to helpful resources!

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Remind her again, and again, and again.

Our cups were filled halfway with coffee and the other half with hazelnut flavored cream, crumbly bran muffins from Elmer’s county market sat on our napkins. We sat across the table from each other, chatting and laughing, buttering our muffins and enjoying each other’s company just like we had almost every Saturday morning throughout my elementary and high school years. Now, nearly 10 years later, not much has changed outwardly. I still return home to Upper Michigan frequently to see her and share diluted coffee and crumbly muffins. She still has the same clear blue eyes and sweet, wrinkly faced smile. Her gentle fingers, despite being crooked and overtaken by arthritis, still do everything she needs them to do, though occasionally she pauses to relieve a cramp and straighten one out. Her dining room table, now located in her apartment at an assisted living home, is still strewn with newspaper clippings and half-opened mail. Our friendship, though 58 years between us, is still just as close and cherished.

Looking on, everything seems the same, but as our conversation carries on, it is easy to hear that nothing is the same. Our conversations now go in circles, continuously returning to the same set of questions regarding when I am leaving town, where I moved to, or why her brother (who passed away years ago) won’t get her a new set of checks, though, according to her, she has reminded him again and again.  On a good day, she remembers I am married and have two children, she also will remember that I moved away years ago to Kentucky, but has no recollection of travelling to visit me two years ago. These things are all okay with me—I don’t mind reminding her over and over because even on a not so good day, she knows my name, and this I treasure. I fear the day that instead of an excited exclamation of “Britts! I’m so glad you are here!” I walk into her room only to see her clear, blue eyes confused by my arrival. I feel this day quickly encroaching as I watch dementia rapidly stealing this dear woman from me. In some ways, I already feel as though I have lost her. And yet, she is still here with me, healthy and strong in body (for an 87 year old woman) but weak and wasting away in her mind. It is heartbreaking indeed but I cherish each day we have together—circular conversations and all.

Besides witnessing the sadness of dementia this past year, I have also walked with my dad as he underwent radiation for his battle with cancer, I continue to watch my mom walk with a dear friend suffering from a terrible condition called MSA (Multiple Systems Atrophy), and I continue to grieve with my family after the tragic and heartbreaking loss of my uncle one year ago. The list could go on. Death and disease surround us and as I process this heavy reality, it has been tempting for me to throw my hands up in confusion and despair. Many attempt to ignore these sad realities, paste a smile over their aching heart and carry on. I can’t do this however. I can’t ignore the sadness and wasting away that surrounds me and thankfully God doesn’t expect us to. Instead, he encourages us to look at it, square in the face with all its misery and gloom, and then he calls us to lift our eyes up, looking through the sadness, to the glorious realities that exist in spite of it all.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Here Paul, who experienced great suffering, pleads with the Corinthians to not lose heart even though they are faced with affliction on every side. Paul doesn’t ignore the reality that things outwardly are wasting away—our brain, lungs, heart and bones, and the brain, lungs, heart and bones of those we love are wasting away, literally being destroyed, infected or eaten away. It seems like a morbid thing to say but in one sense all human beings begin to die as soon as they are born. We are all in the process of wasting away and yet Paul tells us we are not to despair. He gives two main reasons in this passage why we shouldn’t.

1: Suffering is temporary for those who follow Jesus

First, he explains that for those who place their trust in Jesus, suffering is not the end. Pain will not get the final word for those who trust in Jesus. Despite the suffering Christians walk through now, the future is always bright with hope because Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life and died the death that we deserve. He took away the just punishment and eternal suffering that awaits all humans because of our sin. The sorrow that we experience here on earth will end at some point and not only will it end, it will give way to eternal rest, joy and glory. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, death, disease, pain and suffering will pass away, and all things will be made new (Revelation 21:4-5).

2: Pain has a Purpose for those who trust in Jesus

The second thing Paul explains is that for the Christian, pain and suffering are not without purpose. In verse 17 it describes that our affliction is accomplishing something, whether it is cancer, depression, a sinus infection, dementia, or a broken bone. As this outer body breaks and decays, there is an inner self that is being renewed each day, an inward work happening—refining us, breaking down our pride, ridding us of self-reliance, greed and selfishness. In the furnace of affliction we are being made more like Christ and prepared for a future glory. This glory, unlike the temporary affliction, will last forever. It won’t waste away, be taken over by disease or stolen by death. This future reality awaiting us is so great that Paul even dares to call our pain and suffering “light and momentary”. When you hold the affliction you are experiencing now next to what awaits you, it will pale in comparison. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul tells us that what awaits the Christian is beyond our imagination—“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Jesus is the only one who offers hope in the midst of disease, depression, and dementia. He gives life—new life, new bodies, free from death and decay. He is a faithful God who conquered death and is now at work even in your affliction. He is faithful and will not forsake those who cry to him. Every moment of your pain, though you can’t see it, is meaningful and bringing about something glorious, both now and in the life to come. When all is said and done, when death comes and it seems as though disease has gotten the final word, for those who are in Christ, it is only the beginning. True life, everlasting life, begins.

There will likely be a day when my dear, sweet Mrs. Meehan forgets my name. But when that day comes, there will be strength and grace to meet us and we will sit and drink coffee and crumbly muffins, and I will tell her of the day that is coming for those who trust in Christ, a day when she will be given a new mind, a day when she won’t forget where she lives, where her purse is or what my name is. There will be no more funerals to attend, no more goodbyes to say, no more catheters to be put in and no more radiation to drive to. I will remind her that this world is passing away, a new one is coming and if we trust in Christ one day we’ll have new bodies and new minds. Then as I butter another muffin, I will tell her again, and again and again.


This is the storm, the storm before the calm

This is the pain, the pain before the balm

This is the cold, the cold before the warm

These are the tears, the tears before the song

This is the dark before the dawn

                                                      -Andrew Peterson

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On your 2nd Birthday, my Son

Dear Little Buddy,

Being able to celebrate you on your 2nd birthday is an incredible gift from the Lord. A gift we have earnestly asked the Lord for but could only hope for. One year ago we joyfully celebrated your 1st birthday while nervously bracing ourselves for a painful good-bye. I am in awe of how the Lord has worked and I praise Him that this year we not only get to celebrate your 2nd birthday, but we get to eagerly await your adoption day!

Last night as I was putting you to bed, I closed the book we were reading and said, like I always do, “Son, I love you.” You looked back at me with a sweet, toothy grin and as I began to pray, you softly whispered “Dadda”. This is not a new word for you. You have been saying it for quite some time now, but there are moments when it just seems you understand. Moments where you realize it is a word different than the many other words in your two year old vocabulary. You look at me, your round blue eyes full of trust, and calmly say “Dadda”, as though you grasp that I am your father and that you are loved, safe and mine.

I love you, son, more than I can express in words. You are smart and sensitive like your mommy and learning new things each day. You are crazy and silly like your sissy and take every opportunity you can to make her giggle. You are brave and daring like I was when I was as a little boy. Each day is an adventure for you and you love to bring us along with you on it. You bring such joy to our family and we are so grateful that you will soon be ours, forever a Lind! I feel honored and proud to call you my son. There are very few words that I can speak that mean more to me than son. Calling you son has caused me to see more fully the love that God had for us in sending his Son to die for sinners in order that we could call him our Father. My prayer for your second birthday is that you would soon put your trust in God’s Son, Jesus, and call your heavenly Father, Dadda as well.

I love you son.

Love,

Dadda

Little Buddy’s Top Ten:

10: Gathering sticks, rocks and jumping in puddles

9: Dancing and being silly with daddy, mommy and sissy

8: Reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

7: Emptying out the kitchen cabinets and closing yourself inside

6: Throwing things away in the garbage

5: Playing in Papa’s jeep

4: Taking a bath

3: Hugging and giving kisses to sissy, whether she welcomes it or not

2: Sitting in corners and hoarding toys around you

1: Rubbing Coco’s tag on your nose

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Favorite words:

Goodtogo: Motorcycle or 4-wheeler

Goodtogo-papa: motorcycle with papa on it

Racketball: Tennis, basketball and soccer

Football

Capica: Africa or pizza

Api: Pacifier or airplane

Staw: Star

Coco, Sissy, Mama, Daddy, yeah, Truck, Big Truck, cup, fish, neigh, Papa, Pops, bus

 

 

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For Today, He just gets to Play: Saying Goodbye to Birthparents

The knot in our stomachs wound tighter and tighter as the elevator climbed to the eighth floor. The doors slowly squeaked open and we made our way down the long, stuffy hallway into a room filled with toys. It was a dreary November morning. The rain had stopped but the gray from outside seemed to be spilling in through the window panes and casting a sad fog over our hearts. We were surrounded by toys of all kinds—stuffed puppies, plastic dinosaurs and baby dolls with cheerful but worn faces, all telling the tales of children, birth parents and foster families who sat in this room before us for their final “good-bye” visit.

We smiled the best we could and made small talk, occasionally laughing at something the kids did while the social worker silently observed and made notes. Little buddy was as happy as could be. Oblivious to the occasion at hand, he bounced around excitedly from one toy to the next. Though strangers to him, he didn’t seem to mind the two new friends, his birth-parents, that were eagerly following him around and interested in every move he made. Occasionally they tried to pick him up or hug him and he kindly obliged for a moment before wiggling down to explore the next toy that caught his eye. I sat there watching, trying to take it all in. I felt relieved that I wasn’t the one saying good-bye today and grateful that my son was only 20 months old and unaware of the sadness that loomed in the hearts around him. Soon enough he will have to face the harsh realities of this world, process the brokenness of his birth family, and grapple with the pain of drug addiction that had brought this visit about. But for today, he just gets to play.

That day’s visit brought us one step closer to making this boy our son and we couldn’t be more grateful. This is what we, and so many of our friends and family, have earnestly asked the Lord for and he has heard our prayers and worked on Little Buddy’s behalf. We praise God for this and are filled with such joy and relief that he will soon be ours, adopted as a Lind forever! Yet, what we were completely unprepared for is the profound sadness that would also linger in our hearts over the brokenness, pain and sadness that often precedes the glorious reality of adoption. For us to receive a son, someone else is losing a son. For us to welcome him in as a part of our family, they must say good-bye. Though I didn’t give birth to him, he turns to me and says “mommy”. This is such sweetness to my ears but as I look into the eyes of his birth-mother, grief seeps in and paints a vivid picture of the consequences of sin and the destructiveness of addiction. The sin that promised happiness and the drugs that offered comfort now only deliver a broken heart and a sad good bye to a son she doesn’t know. Perhaps what pains my heart the most is that they don’t fully realize what they have missed the last (almost) two years of his life or the precious years ahead that they are saying good-bye to.

It isn’t right. Parents shouldn’t have to say good-bye to their children, babies shouldn’t have to experience drug withdrawal and adoptive parents shouldn’t have to grieve with their child over the brokenness of their birth family. In a post-Genesis 3 world however, these things are a reality. Adam and Eve disobeyed, chose their way over God’s way and sin entered the world, leaving nothing untouched. Praise our good and gracious God though that this was not the end of the story. Brokenness does not get the last word—not in the story of this sin cursed world and not in our son’s story. Jesus came, entered our broken world, lived a perfect life and died a sinner’s death. He rose from the dead, conquering sin, selfishness, bad decisions, drug addiction and even death itself! He did this for all who would trust in him—whether young or old, religious or non-religious, birth parent or adoptive parent. All who were once far off can be adopted into the family of God and given a new start and new life in Christ.

In the same way, despite the sorrow and pain that mark the beginning of Little Buddy’s life, the Lord has brought him safely into our home. He is now healthy, cared for, loved as our own son, and soon to be adopted—ours for the rest of his life. He has been given a new family, a new beginning, a new start and the hope of a different path. Having just received the news that an adoption worker has been appointed to his case, the only steps that remain are paperwork and one final court date. At this final court date, a new birth certificate will be issued and this precious boy will be declared a Lind, forever!

As we anticipate this joyful day, we ask for you to join us in prayer. Please pray that paperwork would be completed quickly and that a date would be available in the family court soon. (Our hope is by spring?)  Please pray too for Little Buddy in the days and years ahead as he grows and comes to understand more of his story. Pray for wisdom for us as we talk with him and walk through the complicated emotions it will stir. Lastly, but most importantly, please pray that God would save Little Buddy and Finley. More than being adopted into our family, we desire for our children to know the joy of being adopted into the family of God through Jesus. For this is where true joy and life, everlasting life, is found. Those who trust in Jesus become a part of God’s family and will one day dwell with him forever in a new world—a world where there will be no more mourning, crying or pain. A world where there will be no more broken families, drug withdrawal or “good-bye” visits. What a glorious day that will be!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be hold and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the beloved.”

–Ephesians 1:3-6

 

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Wanted: Parents Willing to Get Too Attached

*It has been one year since I wrote this post and it ran on The Gospel Coalition and CBMW blog. At the time, we were preparing to say goodbye to our son. Now, one year later, we are finalizing his adoption into our family. We are grateful to God and amazed by his faithfulness, provision and working on our son’s behalf! I pray our story would encourage you and cause you to ask whether you too could risk getting “too attached” for the sake of a child in need. “Part 2” of this post coming soon!

– – – – – –

It has been almost one year since my husband and I brought our sweet baby boy home from the hospital. Memories of life before his arrival are faint. We can’t imagine our day-to-day without his crinkled-nose smiles or excited shrieks of delight. Life with him is our new normal, and while being a mommy is more exhausting than I thought possible, it’s also more joy-filled than I ever imagined. This deep joy of motherhood, however, is mingled with sadness; the time is soon approaching when our days will no longer be filled with this little one’s sweet shrieks of delight. My heart aches knowing that while we have been able to enthusiastically cheer on his first attempts to crawl, it is unlikely we will be able to experience his first steps, first words, or first day of school.

Our son is not terminally ill. This sweet baby we took home from the hospital nearly twelve months ago is our foster son. In the next month or two he will likely leave our home and be adopted by his extended family members. We are grateful that our foster son has family members who want to raise him as their own. Still, deep grief fills our hearts knowing we won’t be able to make this son we love a permanent part of our family. It is overwhelming to think of the day we will have to strap him in his car seat for the last time, kiss his big, soft cheeks, and say our goodbyes.

At times I wonder if we were crazy to get ourselves into this situation. Foster care is a messy, complicated process, filled with messy, complicated emotions. When we tell people he is our foster son, they usually commend us then quickly add, “I could never do foster care—I would get too attached.”

But that’s the point. We are “too attached”.

Worth the Risk

My husband and I don’t have any special ability to be foster parents. Our hearts are not unbreakable and detachment is neither feasible, nor desirable. Attachment was our aim. Parents willing to get “too attached” are precisely what children in foster care need. And the need is enormous:

  • There are more than 510,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. Of those kids, more than 100,000 are waiting to be adopted (1). Nearly 19,000 will age out of the system every year before they have the chance to be adopted (2).
  • The kids who leave foster care without being linked to “forever families” are highly likely to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults (3). Thirty percent of homeless people in the United States were formerly in the foster care system (4).
  • The issue of attachment looms large. Having never learned how to attach to people or places, they struggle to find healthy relationships, stay in school, and hold down a job later in life (5).

Though our hearts will never be the same, by God’s grace, we will survive the grief of giving up our foster son. The pain will be great but we have the coping skills and resources to deal with loss. If our foster son, on the other hand, were to go without the love and attachment he needs at this point in his development, he couldn’t simply catch up later in life (6). It is critical at each stage of development—infants, toddlers, young children—to learn how to attach (7). Even if children don’t get to stay with the person they are attaching to, it’s better for them to go through the pain of loss than to never attach to anyone at all (8). It is crucial therefore, for our son’s sake that we risk the pain of getting “too attached”.

Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39). We want to lose our lives for the sake of our foster son—not only because he needs us to, but because Christ met our even more desperate need. Every dirty diaper, every nighttime feeding, every heart-wrenching visit with his birth parents, and every court date and call from his social worker remind us that we are losing our lives. We are giving our hearts away to this little boy we have no promise of keeping. Still, no matter the sacrifices we make, they pale compared to all that Christ sacrificed to save us.

Giver of Life and God over Foster Care

Children are a gift. They are never ours to possess. That seems obvious with foster care but it is no less true with biological children. The Lord numbers the days we have with our children whether biological, adopted or fostered. We are never promised to keep any of the children entrusted to us. Whether I become a mother biologically or through foster care, my children belong to God, not me. After suffering a miscarriage in the fall of 2013, we were delighted to find out we were expecting again four months later. A week after the positive pregnancy test, we received the phone call for our foster son. It has been a crazy season caring for the two children the Lord has given us within eight months, but I am beyond grateful and seek to remember daily that they are gifts given to me for as long as he sees best.

Contrary to what people may think (and have even expressed to us), the arrival of a new baby, a biological baby, doesn’t make the loss of our foster son easier. We love are son and our daughter with the same intensity—they are ours regardless of how they came into our home. The thrill of a new baby and the sorrow of anticipating the loss of the other don’t cancel each other out. Deep joy and profound grief mingle together in our hearts. In the midst of these muddled emotions, my husband and I have found much instruction and comfort in the book of Job. Though the giving and taking did not happen at the same time for Job, he blessed the Lord for both. He recognized that the same God who had given him everything was the same God taking it away and in all of his suffering, he “did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22). He continued to acknowledge the goodness of God both in the joyful blessings and in the painful takings. We too must join Job in blessing God for who he is and acknowledge that whether he gives or takes, he is a good God who can do all things and whose purposes cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2). He is not only the Creator and Sustainer of life but he is also God over the foster care system.

I don’t claim to understand the why in his doings and every fiber in my being would do anything to be my foster son’s mommy forever, but the same God who gave and took our first child through miscarriage is the same God who brought our precious foster son to our home a few months later. The same God who gave us our precious daughter in the fall of 2014, is the same God directing the number of days our foster son will spend in our home. Daily we are trusting that God is good in all of it. “He gives and he takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Opening your heart and home to a foster child may seem risky but in reality, opening your heart to love any child is risky and requires a loss of self. But in losing ourselves, we gain. We grow in understanding how Jesus loved us and gave himself up for us. In seeking to love sacrificially, a picture of the Gospel is painted for all to see. We pray many would see and put their faith in Christ. We pray too that our love, though imperfect, will lead our foster son to one day trust in Jesus, who gave him far more than we ever could. Lastly, our prayer and hope is that many would join us and risk becoming “too attached” for the sake of the children in need and the glory of the One who alone makes such risk possible.

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  1. “Foster Care Statistics.” FosterClub. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, 2014. Accessed online, October 8, 2014. https://www.fosterclub.com/article/foster-care-statistics.
  2. Tim and Wendy (last names not provided). Foster Parenting Podcast-Episode 50: “Forty Reasons We’re Adopting Through Foster Care,” http://www.fosterpodcast.com/2008/11/05/episode-50-forty-reasons-were-adopting-through-foster-care/
  3. Ibid.
  4. “The Hard Facts About Foster Care.” Alameda County CASA. Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, 2014. Accessed online, October 8, 2014. http://www.casaofalamedacounty.org/District/1226-The-Hard-Facts-About-Foster-Care.html.
  5. Tim and Wendy, Foster Parenting Podcast, Episode 109: “All the Dirt on Foster Care and Why You Should Still Do It,” http://www.fosterpodcast.com/2011/10/26/episode-109-dirt-foster-care/
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.