Foster love

Last week we visited Jackie’s former foster parents. Without the pressure of our daughter’s transition or the state imposed boundaries, our friendship evolves naturally. Our conversations are simple but in between the lines we sense greatness and a silver lining. 

We get to meet and befriend other foster kids, and that in itself is a joy for us. Because over time we witness their journey into adoption, so hopeful and full of love and energy and dreams. We gain more understanding of the whole process, and our appreciation for the foster work deepens. 

The foster mom, whom we’ll call M. recollected how she said goodbye to her first foster kid. Over a decade ago. And how painful it was. How she advocated for the kid’s wellbeing, expressing bravely a common sense perspective. When the state proposed reuniting the her with the family that did not inquire about the girl’s well being for over 4 years and after they abandoned her in the hospital with medical issues. M got to love this girl fully and completely, and agreed to let her go only to a good and loving family; as she prepared the girl for the transition, M had to push her into the arms of another Mother, the adoptive mother, the Forever family.

M encouraged every chid since, to bravely step out in faith, highlighting the good, presenting the best, advocating for the attachment of kids to their future adoptive families.

What a delicate balance and what a hard journey. One could follow some steps by the book (if there was such a book) but mostly they have to navigate the emotional journey with wisdom and God given intuition. 

I asked M who taught her how to do that. She just looked at me with confusion. There was a time when she was told not to get attached and not to let the kids get too attached or call her mom. As if that’s even possible or healthy in the grand scheme of things. She has this old school wisdom of following her heart. God bless her for it!

The love and ache with which M spoke the words of pushing away gently children you love… that’s the incredible work of understanding boundaries, of embracing the pain of genuine, sacrificial love.