How many of us strive to live in the moment, hoping to parent in the present without worrying about the future? A big part of foster parenting is living in the moment. As much as we want to anticipate what comes next, there is no way of knowing with foster care. Even if we try to anticipate one outcome, another can come our way with little to no warning. Yet we open the door to our heart, again and again.
A foster parent opens their door to welcome a hurting child on one of the hardest days of their life, knowing that some day that child might walk out the same door, creating one of the hardest days in their own life.
Foster parents’ doors swing open all hours of the day and into the night. We keep that door open because there are children waiting for someone to welcome them into their home, give them a clean bed, read them a story, and let them have a place in their family for however long they need.
Being a foster parent introduces you to many things like regularly attending court hearings, learning how to navigate the medical system, and advocating for children at IEP meetings. Foster parenting also gives you the gift of watching a child heal from their past, digest their trauma, and let go of fear. With every decision to open your home’s door to another child, you get to see a someone take their first step, discover who they are, find a sport they love, and learn to dream about what their life could be.
Seven months ago, we said yes to foster care yet again, and I walked through my front door with a three-week-old baby girl, knowing that there was an adventure ahead. I knew I would be forced to live in the moment, not knowing what the future would bring. I had a decision to make that day. I had to choose to give that sweet baby girl all I had, all of my heart, and love her as my own, knowing she may someday walk out our front door, never to return.
My husband and I have been parents to ten children over the last six years, including two biological daughters, and eight foster children, three of whom we adopted. All of these children have taught me about who I am as a mother, and who I want to strive to be. I have been stretched in my creative parenting techniques, and I’ve learned that every child has their own love language. I have watched children overcome obstacles at a young age when most adults aren’t able to. I have seen little ones surpass all expectations. I have been reminded over and over to never give up. But most importantly, I have learned to live in the moment because when working with a system that brings so much uncertainty, that’s all I can do.
May is National Foster Care Awareness month, and want to I encourage you to reach out to the foster parents in your life. Cheer them on, support them as they open their front door to children who need a family. But even better, perhaps consider opening your own front door and your heart to fostering.