I remember sitting next to my little foster son, rubbing his back as he drifted off to sleep. My love for him overwhelmed me and I wished with all of my heart that I could have been his biological mom. I wished that I could take all of his suffering and loss away. I wished I had the power to keep him safe from everything that could ever hurt him again.
But my all consuming love was powerless as a foster mom, and even now, as his adoptive mom, I cannot undo the things that have been done. I am not his biological mom. This thought is never far from his mind, and the separation he has experienced crushes him. All of the love that I pour into him just seems to spill out of his brokenness.
Being a foster mom is probably one of the most complex and emotional experiences one can imagine. As a foster parent recruiter, I find myself talking with moms who have experienced infertility, women who have the deepest desire to nurture and care for children, but for some reason, this privilege has slipped through their finger tips. The chasm of their grief feels insurmountable at times.
Grief, I have learned, is the realization of all of the love that we have to give, all of the love that has no place to go.
Sometimes foster care is an intersection of grief… grieving mothers and grieving children. This life, it just is not fair sometimes.
As many families celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, it seems like the contrast of joy and grief can be razor sharp for foster mothers. They rejoice with the privilege to care for a child who needs them, even if only for a while. They weep for the children in their care, the complexity of their lives, and for the mothers whose own desperation has left them childless this weekend. They weep for themselves. They weep for the sin that has created this whole dynamic of brokenness in the most innocent.
But even in the midst of this overwhelming grief, we find hope. Foster care, in all of its complexity, is a reminder of the redemption that we have in Christ. Foster mothers share in the suffering of Jesus by bearing the weight of the sin and brokenness of others through their love and sacrifice. We know that His death was so that others could have life. Mothers are celebrated for bringing life into the world, for their part in the creation process. In the same way, we celebrate foster mothers, for giving a child a life filled with joy, love, and hope for the future.
To all of the mothers and mother figures who love the little people around them, we celebrate you. We are grateful for you. You matter and you are making a difference, one child, one life, at a time. Thank you.