One of the many reasons people give for not getting involved in foster care is: “I’d get too attached. It would hurt too much to give them up.” Most foster parents who hear that reason would counter back: “You’re right. It DOES hurt too much. But they’re worth it.”
One foster mom, Amber Davis, shared the heartbreak that comes with the first time you have to let go of a child that you’ve loved like your own for months and months. Davis posted her story to the Love What Matters Facebook page, along with a heart-wrenching photo of her last embrace with her foster baby. She says:
Photo: Amber Davis/Love What Matters
“We lost the fight. And by “lost” I mean I didn’t get what I wanted. My white picket fence has a hole in it and she’s gone. I made sure she smelled of lavender before she left. Filled her favorite sippy cup with half water, half apple juice for the ride to her new home for a bit of comfort and distraction. Told her I loved her and purposely made her holler and squirm from being hugged too tight. She likes to give hugs, but hates being restrained in one. I wonder how long it’ll take her new family to figure that out.
I wonder if they’ll learn that she’s a bit reflective of the Princess and the Pea fairy tale in that she has to have a soft pillow to get comfortable and sleep well at night. Otherwise, she’ll grunt and continually wake up throughout the night trying to get comfortable.
I wonder if they’ll figure out she loves to fist bump and blow it up right before going to sleep. It makes her giggle.
She does sign language now to help with communication. If they ask her, she’ll sign “please” for them and let them know when she’s all done eating. I hadn’t gotten around to teaching her “thank you” yet, but that was going to be next.
I know she’ll be thrilled if they don’t make her keep her headband on her head like I have the past 6 months. She hates them. I’d get the stink eye every time I told her to leave it alone. Sassypants.
Josiah asked why I was packing up her things last night. I answered immediately from the depths of my heart: ‘I don’t know.’ But then I realized I had a responsibility to try to help my growing, curious 4-year-old grasp something that I still don’t quite understand myself: why can’t she stay? As I fumbled my way through an explanation about needing to go live and be together with her sisters…I could see the look of confusion on his face…’but we’re her brothers.’
My brain scrambled for another answer, but I blanked. So instead I changed the subject. ‘The good news is that Avonlea will be born soon and you’ll have another sister to play with! And you will be her big brother and she will always live with us.’
I could tell by the look on his face that my lame attempt at explaining things had failed to add up. It just doesn’t make sense. Not to him and…frankly…not to me, either.
The heartbreak is overwhelming me tonight. The tears just won’t stop. This first loss is more painful than I ever imagined it would be and something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. So the next time I see that all-too-familiar phone number pop up on my caller ID, asking if we are willing and able to open up our hearts and take in another child who needs us to sacrifice everything we have in order to love them for an undetermined amount of time…I already know what my answer will be.
Absolutely. Let’s do this. For 6 months or for forever…we’re in.”
Davis’ raw post unabashedly acknowledges the emotional pain that comes with foster care, and how it can affect the foster family and the kids that they already have—but with one fell swoop, she also acknowledges how it POSITIVELY affects the children they are loving with their whole hearts, even if it’s just for a little while. I’m praying Davis’ post encourages other families to take the risk and open their hearts and homes to foster children who need a safe and loving home, whether it be for the long or the short term.
Thank you, Amber, for reminding us that these precious kids are worth risking our hearts for!