Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sandra's Story

Some of our foster families have told us that being a foster parent is the "hardest job you'll ever love." Today's National Adoption Month story is a poignant reflection along these lines.

Sandra's Story

“No!” My heart was screaming. “I’m not ready for this! I can’t take another loss!”

I can still feel the ache in my chest when I think about that day…….about that phone call almost two years ago.

It was March, and only 31 days earlier I had experienced the most excruciating loss of a little boy– a boy who called me “mom” and my husband “dad." He was the most amazing little boy, who although he had severe special needs, had captured the heart of all who had met him and most especially of our family. He had been our foster son for almost two years and we had been asked to adopt him. But in a painful twist of the system, he and his 7-year- old brother had gone home, and my heart was hurting.

Then, a month later I answered the phone from Iowa Kids Net…..hoping it was them needing to return my son. But it was for another child - a 3-year-old girl. She had brothers who were being placed with another family, and she needed a home, they said, for six months. I wasn’t sure I was ready to put so much of myself into another child and experience the agony of loss again.

But being a foster/ adoptive parent is not about me. It’s about the many hurting children who need a safe place to call home…...for two days, for two years or for forever. And I knew that God had not called our family to foster for selfish gain, but to be His instruments in the lives of those who needed to know LOVE.

And so I took a deep breath…...and I said “yes”.

I met this little girl, her two brothers and their foster parents in the ER that night. She seemed so fearless and outgoing. But the fear and terror that gripped her when she had to say goodbye to her brothers in the parking lot when we drove our separate ways will be etched in my mind forever. On the drive home, my mind was screaming “I know her pain! I can relate to her loss!”

That night and for many nights to come, I lay next to that little girl, rubbing her back, and soothing her to sleep. She had big losses to overcome. Ones that were not her fault and she couldn’t control. And I knew that even though my heart was breaking, I could choose to offer her comfort and patience and understanding, because in many ways I knew her pain.

It has now been almost two years since that March phone call. That little girl is now our precious daughter.

As I type this, my tears are flowing and my heart still hurts at the loss of our “sons." But I sit here with a list of blessings that far outweigh the pain. My daughter is safe. She is loved and she is healing.

We had an amazing Adoption Day. Our two foster families shared the same courtroom and experience. We had so many friends and family attend our celebration that we were moved to another courtroom…...and we filled that one too.

That day our family didn’t just grow by one. We grew by many! All eight of “our” kids consider each other family. And I love my new sister and her husband. We live only minutes apart and we have visits with each other every week we possibly can.

Our daughter experienced an unbelievable loss that March, but our two families knew that fostering and adopting was not about meeting our own needs, but doing the absolute best for those who needed us.

I will always be thankful for my two years of mothering my “sons,” and today I am learning to say that I am thankful for that painful loss. Because I know that God had a bigger purpose for us. He knew our daughter needed us as HER “Mommy” and “Daddy,” and that together we could help each other heal from our painful pasts."



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