Monday, August 25, 2014


Yes, but not the kind you imagine.
It's taken me three long months to write this blog post as I always end up in tears and unable to see the keys to type, but I feel led to press on and share. 

Two precious little ones who we have had the honor and privilege of caring for over the last 3+ years have gone.

 I can't share their story on here, but I can share a little of my heart and what the Lord has been teaching me through it all.  I wish there were more stories shared to help prepare foster families for these inevitable times and so that is why I open my hurting heart right now.  So often our families go into orphan/foster care with starry eyes, ready to change the world one child and family at a time!  While these are great intentions, we also have to be prepared for what is REALLY to come...
Our family's life was as peaceful as could be.  We have been blessed and want to share our lives, share the love of God, with others.  Through the Lord's leading we entered the foster care world.  Since then we have been beaten, bruised, down trodden, faced with spiritual warfare, accused, abused, used, tossed, loved and lost.  Were we told we'd go through this?  Yes and no.  In the required training it gets touched on briefly... "but let's not mention it too much or we'll scare away prospective (and very needed) families"! 
But wait!  We WERE told we would face pain and hardships!  Right in the Bible Jesus Himself tells us we will! 
John 16:33 " the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world!"
 Would we/do we do it all again?  Yes.  And we continue on ONLY because we have also seen the beauty in it all.  God's stories.  Even through a completely devistated, broken and disgusting system, we still see God working.  I know our family wouldn't be where we are today if it weren't for the hardships we have been through. 
James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
While we still lack much, through the lessons we have learned, we have all grown closer to our Lord and Savior which makes EVERYTHING worth it.
I allow my heart to attach to these children so deeply.  To love them as my own.  I try to love them as Christ loves them... even though I fall far short of that!  Some say in order to do orphan/foster care you need a "certain kind of love".  That love is assumed to be the kind that can care for these kids for a time and then send them on to the next place (be it to go back to their birth family, another foster home or to be adopted) and be ok with it... no emotional discomfort, or at least not too much.  Most people don't love like that.  Believers don't love like that!  And every single one of these kids needs the kind of love that is NOT like that.  These are hurting kids!  They need someone to show them the Someone who won't ever leave them or forsake them!  They need a person who is willing to risk their own heart for the sake of theirs.  Is it hard?  Is it painful?  Is it torturous?  Absolutely, 110% yes!  After these kids move on we are left with a changed heart and life, one that is battered and worn, but by the grace of God, stronger and healthier than before!  We are left with great sorrow either simply because we miss them - even though we know they are safe and happy or because we miss them - yet are afraid for their lives if they've gone into an unsafe placement.
It's also hard because we are left wondering what they must be thinking and feeling right now.  Are they feeling abandoned by us?  Do they think we've forgotten them?  Do they remember me?  Do they remember our songs we'd sing or books we'd read?  Have they lost that wiggly tooth yet?  How is potty training going?  Are they gaining weight properly and being fed nutritious foods?  Who do they run to when they get hurt?  Are they sleeping through the night?  Are they having nightmares?  Are they safe, healthy and happy?  Do they know how much I love them? 
Do they remember that God loves them and will never leave them even when everyone around them fails to do so?
 I can only pray that they do.  And no one on earth can stop me from praying for them even when I can do nothing for them physically right now.
Right now my little ones are missionaries in a place that desperately needs God's light.  God is using these children of His and orchestrating things all according to His plan, even though it looks terribly messy to me.  He loves these kids even more than I do... which is hard to understand!  When I think they are too young, too fragile, too small and innocent, He says they are vessels of His and are needed there right now.  We did everything in our human power to protect them, but God is showing me that it is really only Him, and Him alone who protects His children.  We'll never know what the Lord's plan is for tomorrow, but I know He holds them and protects them according to His perfect will. 
It's painful to be away from them, to not talk to them, to not see them, to not tell them how much I love them, to not tuck them into bed each night after saying prayers making sure that blankie is placed just right, to not hear their sweet voices or feel their hands give me a hug around the neck, to not wipe their runny noses or not be the one to put a band aid on their knee.  I even miss the hard... tantrums, messes, endless laundry, whining and squabbles. 
Please mothers!  Don't complain about all the hard work and messes!  Be THANKFUL for them!  Be thankful you have the work and mess-makers!  They are blessings!  Praise God for each slimy finger print, the crayon "artwork" on the wall and that 3rd accident of the day due to toilet training.  They are blessings.  They really are when seen in a different perspective.

So, any regrets?  Yes. 
But not because I wish I had loved them less to save my own heart from the aching.
I regret not holding them more... until my arms fell off,
Telling them how much I love them... until I was blue in the face,
Watching their breath as they slept... until my eyes dried up,
Playing cars and princesses... and left my chores and "important" tasks until later,
I regret not sharing even more of Christ's undying love for them...
 until I had NO breath left in my body.
The things we think are important, really don't matter at all.  Our hearts and lives are not our own to do with as we feel safe and comfortable.  As followers of Christ, we are to follow His example.  He gave his life up for us, even though we are far from deserving it!  I'm sure Jesus was the opposite of safe and comfortable.  There are countless hurting children out there.  How can we stand by, afraid of hurting our own hearts, afraid of the pain when we have to give up a child we have grown to love? 

Being a follower of Christ is the hardest yet most beautiful life imaginable.  I pray that someday I will learn to love with no regrets!



  1. Sarah--This is a lovely, honest outpouring of your heart. Thank you for sharing it with us. We'll keep praying...

  2. Beautiful. As a foster momma who had to say goodbye to our beautiful baby girl 5 months ago, I have lived through this. It's heartwrenching, and so tough. As I walked her home from the park for the last time (tears fill my eyes now...), I silently cried out to God, "Lord, what are we teaching our kids?? They are losing a sister, and what are they learning? Are we teaching them that the things You ask us to do are going to rip us apart? Tear our hearts out, and feel like we are dying from the inside out?"

    The answer came, "You are teaching them that you love unconditionally. You are teaching them that you do what God asks, no matter what. And you are teaching them that through the biggest heartbreak, there can still be love and joy, found in Me."

    There are few people who can understand the heartbreak of hugging that child one last time. Desperately clinging to them, smelling their hair, kissing them goodbye, and begging God to protect them from feeling abandoned once again. It's like no other feeling. It's so hard.

    Your comment about them being little missionaries is something that hadn't occurred to me before. What a joyful thought. Confusing at times, hurting at times, but so amazing.

    From one foster mom to another, I prayed for you today, and though the pain may last for the night, joy comes in the morning. Even though these babies may leave our arms, they will never leave the arms of their Heavenly Father.


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