I have been very careful to be positive about our experiences as foster parents. I want to encourage other families to step up to the plate and open their homes. But Wednesday as I sat at our FamilyLife staff conference and listened to the band members of Sanctus Real share their trials, I realized that I needed to share with my MomLife Today family the struggle our family is going through. They stood on stage in front of a roomful of strangers and shared about the heartache of divorce and an unborn baby with a heart problem. I appreciated their transparency. During one song, I broke down sobbing while rocking Sweet Pea, our 11-month-old foster baby. She has been in our home for nine months and is as much a part of our family as our other children. Next week we find out the date that we send our little Sweet Pea to live with relatives.

You see, I have this internal war going on. I want to watch Sweet Pea grow up. No, I want to experience Sweet Pea growing up, not just watch. I daily have to remind myself that she, and my other children, belong to my Father — not me. I have the privilege of experiencing and guiding their lives, but they are not mine. I also love Sweet Pea’s birth family, not for their actions or status, but I love them because they are made in the image of my Creator. And while I want them to succeed and be the parents God called them to be, I am struggling to let go of this little girl.

As the date for Sweet Pea to transition to her family grows closer, I feel that I am watching a speeding train bear down on me while I am helpless to stop it. I know that my family is about to experience tremendous pain: the loss of this child. But in spite of the pain, and sometimes anger and despair, I have peace. I know that God would not call us to foster this baby if He wasn’t going to hold us when she leaves. And I know that we will voluntarily foster again, not because of the pain, but because of the peace, the joy, and the spiritual growth.

“Whatever You’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
but I’m giving in to something Heavenly.”

“Whatever You’re Doing” by Sanctus Real

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  1. As a foster parent myself, I can attest that this is one of the hardest things to do. We lost what we thought was going to be our "forever daughter" 18 years ago to the "system" two weeks before her adoption to our family. It was devastating. God is the God of peace and he DOES comfort in those very rough times. He holds our hands and walks through it with us. Now, here I am 18 years later and last October, God sent us a little girl who is 8 that WILL be ours forever in just a few weeks. Amazing how He works like that.

  2. I resonated with your post. I too am a foster parent and although we've had 9 kids in our home over the last 4 1/2 years, nothing was as painful as losing our foster son when he went to live with his grandma. We had picked him up from the hospital at 2 days old and said goodbye to him when he was 15 months old. It was a time of great pain and grief, and that song by Sanctus Real is something I listened to again and again during that season in our lives. I see God's hand as He continues to guide our incredible journey, which this past year alone included the adoption of our 4 year old foster daughter and the birth of our son (nothing short of a miracle baby since doctors told us we would NEVER be able to conceive and even fertility treatments failed). We are still in touch with our foster son's grandma as she sends us updates a few times a year and I can see now the awesome privilege we had to be able to care for him and love on him during a crucial part of his life. Thanks for being real and for sharing your story. Fostering can be tough, but it is SO worth it!

  3. My husband and I are less than a week away from welcoming a toddler girl and her infant brother into our family on a foster-adopt concurrent plan. When the situation was first described to us, it seemed a lot more likely to be permanent than it currently is, and although we're busy with getting our home ready, there's a part of me that wants to wall up and protect myself from the possibility of having to give them back. *Thank you* for this post; I'm bookmarking it so I can come back if, according to the Lord's will, our task is to care for them until reunification instead of adulthood. I'm praying that won't be the case of course, but at the same time, my husband and I are praying that He will help us to hold them with open hands.