We recently signed our renewal contract as foster parents. There's a line in the agreement that states, "The foster parent will care for the placed child as he or she would care for other children in his or her home."
I was talking with Baby J's social worker, and she was asking various questions about how things were going, and I remarked, "You know, foster parenting is one of the most unnatural things you can do."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
My heart's response:
In this season, I am his mother, her mother. I've agreed to care with my whole being, as I do any of the sons I've birthed. I choose to love, when I know my heart will be broken, when I know there is another, dreaming of holding this child, of singing him to sleep. Of one more chance...
I set his schedule to have it thrown out the window for worthy time with his real family. I wake up, desperate for my Savior because I know part of me will die, will grieve, will dream of a tiny face and fingers I may never see again. But I have promised to care for him as I would my own, so he is worth every moment of that grief.
I wish I could capture where we've been, but I can promise there are places of me that have been to the shadowlands and back.
Jamie has led us through beautifully heartbreaking decisions that have crystallized my longing for Jesus. We've tasted death, sorrow, and pure annoyances, all within the month, and in sincerity, it's pushed me just over the edge of the cliff.
We packed Baby J's bags, wept and wailed our tears, said our goodbyes, only to have him stay once again. A natural momma's response would realize we may need to shy away from the shadowlands. But I'm not a natural momma, and we're unnatural. We're not of this world, so we walk our family right back into the shadowlands, deep inside the forest.
Jamie's heard me weep one too many times that I just don't feel this is making a difference. My narcissistic self wants satisfaction. Can we not do the ministry, but still claim the comfort?
He held me. And he walked me back to the shadows, where we love when it's not natural. When our body is screaming to brace itself, and our souls are aching for walls of protection.
He whispers to me to look, to listen...
And I see her momma hold my hand and tell me she has someone believing in her for the first time.
I hear myself telling her once again that I failed to give her the grace that has been given to me.
I listen as she comes down to the floor beside me and hear her say, "I forgive you. I just want your love." I watch myself cradle a baby I love to the ends of the earth, and know that he will take part of my soul that no other child will have.
So, I give it.
So, I give it.
I see my husband love when it is not easy to love, and I see him seeking the face of his Savior.
I hear my oldest say we're the luckiest family in the world to have this calling, even when it's not fun.
And I hear myself say yes to Momma as she asks if we will be there by her side to do this with her, to keep believing with her when all is said and done.
My jealousy rises, my soul leaps in my throat, my hands grasp for comfort, and I surrender to the one who surrendered all for me, who gave the most unnatural thing possible. He knows where I am more than I do. He grieved as he led His child to slaughter. He care for this orphaned, rebellious child and made me His own, and He entered the shadowlands with me, and then He grafted the eternity of home in my heart so that I could face the unnatural here on earth.
Catie and Jamie have been married for 11 years. They have three young biological sons. They became licensed foster parents 18 months ago and have cared for 13 children. In addition to their sons, they have three children who look to them as their mother and father. With each placement, they seek to be Jesus to their children's families. And always, they are deeply dependent on Jesus every day. You can follow Catie at This High Calling