When my husband and I got married 15 years ago, we knew we wanted to have kids. We also knew we wanted to adopt. But it would be 13 more years before we even started the process. Life tends to get in the way sometimes.
As we started looking more into adopting, we realized that the need for fostering was tremendous. Everyone wants to adopt a newborn, you think it will be easier to assimilate as a family if you just start from the beginning. But we kept feeling that tug to something bigger and deeper.
It’s been two years now that my family and friends have been on an adventure through fostering. I include my friends because I could not have done it without them. The old saying, “It takes a village,” is so very true.
Fostering is not for the faint of heart. It takes everything you have and demands a little bit more. It is the ultimate pouring out, the sacrificial emptying of yourself for another. Without support, it is near impossible.
One of the most common phrases I hear when people find out that we foster is, “I could never do that because.....,” the reasons vary. Most often though, I hear, “I could never let them go.” It IS hard, I won’t lie. My heart hurts to have to see them go. But I know we have left an indelible mark on their lives. Even if only for a few short weeks, or months, we will always remember what they will never know.
But this is not the answer to the need for fostering. A response should not be,”Oh I could never,” but,”Oh we do too!!.” People always thank me and tell me how great what I am doing is. I don’t want praise for doing something that our society should be so much more involved in. The numbers are staggering. There is much to be done to ease the burden on an already overworked system. We should be working together to make sure these kiddos are in good, safe places while they need to be. We should make room in our homes and in our lives to take care of these little souls. We need to work together and encourage each other to jump in, knowing we will support each other through all the crazy fostering can bring. If we did that, if we supported each other, people wouldn’t have to say, “I could never because....”
We have the best Foster to Adopt agency, Hope Cottage, based out of Dallas, Texas. Every person there has been so valuable to us. My Case Manager, Noa Buxt, has said, “No one should ever turn down a child just because they’re afraid of attaching.” Every single child deserves to be in a home where they learn to be loved unconditionally and love back without reservation. This is a lesson my family has had to learn over the years. We have to remind ourselves daily that it isn’t about us. It’s about loving others, giving them what they need and getting them on the right path to make their lives better.
Don't back down from the hard things. They define and refine you. They leave the trail of good you offer, the path that others can find and join you on your journey.
Do the things that leave you empty at the end of your life, completely poured out, spent, taking nothing from this life into the next. Live in such a way that as you breathe your last, you have a plethora of people around you who are filled with all the things that are true, noble, right, pure and lovely, admirable and praiseworthy from your life. That is a true legacy.
This story was written by Amber White for our Hello Parents series. Our mission is to create a community of extreme inclusivity. Appreciating what makes us different and what we all have in common. No judgment. Just a village of support.
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