By Guest Blogger Lindsay Key
We were doing just fine.
We had three little girls under the age of six and had just completed potty training for the last one, so we felt like life could only get easier from there. The problem was, I had a constant nagging in my heart that something was missing … that there was more to life than what we had already experienced.
So four years ago, I began to pray and ask God what He cared about; what was important to Him. I wanted to open up my hands and be available for what was next. As soon as I asked the question, the answer was unmistakable. I would hear about the pressing need for foster families in my area and think, “someone should do something about that.”
I met several foster families and remember vividly telling them how encouraged I was by their commitment, but that I could never do that because I could never give a child away. Finally, I realized that the answer to my question was staring me in the face. The burden on my heart was purposeful, and the obedient response was to dive in — regardless of the potential outcome — and become a foster family.
Mounds of paperwork and training classes later, we were licensed and ready for our first placement. Just a few short hours after we went open for placement, we got our first call about a baby girl. We never could have imagined how quickly we would fall in love, and soon discovered that our plan to “hold her loosely” was never going to work. So we decided to go “all in” and love her with everything we had, all the while realizing that we would be left with broken hearts when she was gone. It’s the way we always knew it could end, and we chose it anyways. In fact, I’d choose her over and over again, regardless of the pain I feel now.
Three more children have been loved in our home, and each one has imprinted our hearts forever. My kids talk about the ones who’ve left all the time, not with sadness in their hearts, but just curiosity about where they are now. We pray for each of them and have hope that they were in our lives not by chance, but for an eternal purpose, one that we might be blessed to see someday in heaven.
Foster care is a strange sort of grief. It’s like walking straight into a fire, knowing you’ll come out changed, but doing it anyways for the joy of being held in the midst of it. It’s loving another mother’s child, being angry at her choices that led to this child’s pain, and yet wishing you could trade places with her and give her your support system to bring her out of the depths. It’s mourning the loss of a child in your home, while being thrilled that you had those days/months/years together and trusting the Lord to protect them now without you.
If I could convey anything about foster care, it would be that it’s worth it. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Is it emotionally draining? Yes. But is it worth it? One thousand times yes. Our life has become an adventure, and we have four extra kids that will always be a part of our family. We’ve opened up our biological children’s eyes to the world around them, a world that is much bigger than their little circles, and a world that is full of opportunities to serve and experience lasting joy by being obedient. We’ve learned to see the beauty in the brokenness and that life is fuller and more abundant when you give your love away.
The need is great, and the adventure is priceless. If you feel like I did, that you’d love too hard to give a child away, that might just mean that you’d be perfect and God is calling you.