This week, we gave a boy away.
A boy we had raised since he came home from the hospital.
We raised him so his mother could put her life together. So his father could realize the importance of family. And in the process, we learned to fully embrace a child, to love wholeheartedly and without condition, and to nurture him as if he were going to stay forever. Our boys accepted him as our own, love him completely, and babied him without end in their own ways.
At the same time, we encouraged his parents, cheered for their successes, reached out to support them, and prayed for their lives to be positively changed and renewed. They were. His mother worked through her issues, never resented us, worked together with his dad to love him during visits, asked questions to learn how to better be a parent, and went above and beyond all requirements needed to regain custody.
And so this week, we gave away a boy who we love with all our hearts to parents who love him equally as much, and have earned the right to raise their child. I wish I could say that we all live happily ever after with no problems, and that this is an everyday occurrence, but it isn’t. And for that, we are blessed.
So what are we feeling?
While we rejoice that our foster child has been reunited with his family, there is still a grief process for us. And that is good. It means we poured ourselves into this child, and that he knows he is loved by us. Our boys reacted differently, with Caleb definitely showing more emotion as the older child who comprehends more, and Jack as the inquisitive one wanting to know when his baby will be back. But even in the tears, we see the beauty of a story of hope, of redemption, and of love.
Everyone hears the horror stories in foster care of what could go wrong if children return home. What if not all the needs are met? Is the schedule going to stay the same? Will he bond with his parents like he should? What if they have questions and are afraid to call? While all these questions can simmer to the top, our faith remains the same. God has provided for this child to this point, will He not continue?
There are no words to express how proud we are of the parents of this child. We have seen the growth, care, and love they have shown him and us through this process. When most biological parents would tend to be dismissive or outright hostile toward foster parents, they have been grateful and inquisitive. Sitting in the courtroom as custody was decided was a joyous and wonderful moment for us to be a part of, and I sat there marveling at the beautiful picture of redemption that God had provided us. To think, what started in a dreadful way has a new beginning, a second chance. For that, we celebrate.
If you are a foster parent, don’t give up hope.
If you are the parent fighting for your child, keep working.
Love hard, Believe faithfully, Work diligently, Pray fervently.
Our work is just beginning. And that’s the beauty of it.