CPS stood on my doorstep at 11:00 pm, with a sleepy one year old boy. We have been anticipating his arrival since we got the call, early this afternoon.
He’s had a rough day. A day not many of us can even fathom. Since we received confirmation he was coming, I have been eager to comfort him.
I look at him and I know, “This is going to wreck me.”
I scoop him from the social worker. Holding his innocence in my arms—losing a bit of my own. Committing to carrying the weight of his world, the good and the bad. Preparing to hear his story. Ready to give him all we have…
We ushered them in. We signed the papers. We agreed on a parent visitation day. We fed him, put him in clean pajamas, rocked him to sleep and placed him safely in a crib.
The formalities of our state regulated court appointed relationship faded away and he grew into our heart as family that night.
I crawl into bed and wonder how long he will stay.
Fostering is a job that requires us to love instantly, but also leave room for a quick detachment at a moment’s notice.
The court hearings, the invasion of privacy, the visits, the appointments, the trauma, the overall adjustment, the sacrifice, sitting in a court room all day waiting to testify, falling for a child and then suddenly preparing for goodbye. All of it is hard.
But I have seen the hard turn into joy through the adoption of our first son. I have seen the hard break through walls to reunite families. I have seen my living room be a place of rest for frightened children. I have seen my own kids run to get a favorite toy for a child who had an emotional day. I have seen kids overcome delays and setbacks. I have heard my kids pray over a baby and his mama.
The world doesn’t have a way to measure what we are accomplishing day by day in foster care and adoption. It’s a different merit system. We are investing in something that may never be ‘ours’. It’s not comfortable to have your heart exposed to this kind of broken. But our God has the ability to fill us with more joy than we can imagine had we chosen to sit in our comfort.
Looking forward, these are experiences I don’t want to miss out on.
Our family needs these experiences. We are gaining everything from this kind of love and sacrifice.
Our kids are a captive audience to the work we are doing for the abused and abandoned. Let’s immerse them in these works now.
Together, we are changing generations and rebuilding families.
Maybe if more people viewed it as changing generations they would be more prone to jump into foster care and adoption.
Not to mention we are teaching our own children compassion, teaching them that families don’t have to look alike, teaching them patience, and that not all brothers and sisters come from Mommy’s belly. Sometimes instead of going to the park like we planned, we have to go in for a meeting at the CPS office. Sometimes Mom and Dad have to spend an entire week in a courtroom defending a foster child we have been caring for while we miss out on being with you.
Ultimately, we are teaching them that maybe it’s not all about you.
And I will choose that.
We will give him our all so he can be made whole.
That sacrifice is not wasted.
I don’t know what the future holds with him. I am going to lose some sleep and a little of my mind in this process. Even if our hearts break, even if we never see this child again, and even if we can’t be together in the end…. I am glad you’re here tonight, little one.
“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize that He is able to carry out His will for me. It does not matter where He places me or how. That is for Him to consider, not me, for in the easiest positions He will give me grace, and in the most difficult ones His grace is sufficient.” ~Hudson Taylor
I encourage everyone to find a way to get plugged into foster care. A few ways you can make a difference in a child’s life.
Become a foster parent.
Become a volunteer CASA worker.
Take meals to families that are currently fostering.
Become approved to provide respite care to foster families.
Commit to pray for a foster child in your area.
Attend family court hearings to offer support and learn about what is going on in these children’s lives.
Katie Shira is a stay at home mom, bio mom, adoptive mom, foster mom but overall, just a mom, hopefully a cool mom. Her son, Jett is 3 years old, and Tripp is 8 months old. She lives in a small town in west Texas with her husband, Chas. He is a local pastor. They became foster parents in October of 2015 before trying to have biological children. They chose fostering as a primary means to grow their family and help kids in their community. They adopted our first placement, Jett. They have had six foster children come through their home and are currently active to take another. You can follow Katie and her family on Instagram @KatieShira.