‘In these 45 days, I have held my 2-year old while she was throwing up, during blood draws and X-rays. I have watched her learn to trust. I know what blanket she needs to fall asleep.’

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“45 days. That’s how long we have been fostering. Still so new to this journey yet I have learned so much already.

In these 45 days, I have held my sweet, 2-year old foster child while she was throwing up. I have held her during blood draws and X-rays and breathing treatments. I have comforted her fears and kissed her boo-boos. I have watched her squeal with excitement and heard the sound of her infectious giggle. I have watched her learn to trust and love and feel secure. I know what foods she likes and what blanket she needs to fall asleep. I have watched her learn new words and celebrate milestones. I have heard her call me ‘Mama’ and reach for me to hold her. And I have fallen totally and completely in love with her.

In these 45 days, I have met my foster child’s birth mom and held her, too. I have cried with her and prayed for her. My heart is wide open. It has grown to love not only this foster child, but also her biological mother. I find myself rooting for her and wanting desperately to help her break this cycle of life she is trapped in. Life is complicated and beautiful and although so very hard, I am blessed to be a part of this journey. It is helping me grow in ways I never expected.

In these 45 days, I have watched my children love their new foster sister boldly. I have watched them grow and love in a way I have never seen before and it makes me so darn proud of all of them. Fostering affects the whole family… it is an ALL in journey and I have loved watching my children love on our foster baby so tenderly and completely.

In these 45 days, I have realized that it is so easy to say NO, but sometimes God whispers YES even if it is out of our comfort zone. Even if it is hard. Because in the end, that YES will transform us and bless us more than we ever imagined.

In these 45 days, I have learned that sometimes what heals the soul more than anything is caring and serving others . . . even if that means you might get hurt in the end. It’s not about my comfort – it is all about providing a safe and loving environment for a child that needs it. Our little foster love . . . she blesses us greatly and it is a privilege to get to care for her.

In these 45 days, I have realized that this is hard. So hard. But I would say YES and do it all over again.

In these 45 days, I have been on my knees constantly. Praying for this sweet girl & her Mama. Praying for safety. Praying for God to guide each step of this journey where our hearts are all connected now. Praying for strength in letting go when the time is right. Praying to trust God’s will. And thanking God each night for this precious little life we are honored to love and treasure and hold during this season.

In these 45 days, I have changed. My life has changed. Our family has changed. And I am so glad it has.

This is foster care. It is loving fiercely. It is feeling helpless. It is tears and joy. It is heartbreak and it is messy. It is beautiful and it is hard. It is trusting God’s plan even when you don’t understand it. But this sweet girl . . . she is worth it all.”

This story was written by Heather Duckworth of Love, Faith & Chaos. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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