‘We’ve got a baby who needs a home.’ I couldn’t take my eyes off him. His fingers curled around mine, like he already knew who I was.’: Mom shares ‘bittersweet’ fostering journey

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“It was a typical summer night. We’d had a full day outside, and I’d just gotten my kids tucked into bed. I was so glad to sink into the couch to relax a little in front of the television with my husband. Suddenly, my phone rang. When I answered, our entire lives changed. ‘We’ve got a baby here who needs a home. Would you be willing to take him?’ A million thoughts flooded my mind. How old was he? Was he healthy? How long would he be mine? I pushed aside all thoughts and immediately agreed to come get him.

My husband and I quickly loaded into our car as my mom pulled into the driveway to stay with our sleeping kids. I was so nervous. Although we’d taken the foster classes months ago, this was our first placement. We were not prepared in any sort of way. We had nothing. No bassinet, no clothes, no bottles. We’d been slowly accumulating things a toddler would need, never even considering we may have a baby in our home.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

As soon as we walked into the Cabinet and I took one look at the tiny baby placed in my arms, it was all over for me. I was in love. I’m a mom, so I know what a mother’s love feels like. I never expected to feel that kind of love for a complete stranger. He was so little, weighing barely 6 pounds. He was just shy of 6 weeks old, and so very quiet. He didn’t make a sound as we waited for the judge to send over the orders that would allow him to come home with us. His fingers curled around mine, almost like he already knew who I was. When we left with our baby in tow, we had to drive straight to the store. I was so nervous as I loaded up my cart with things I thought we would need in the coming days. I realized as I got to the car I was so frazzled I forgot bottles. My husband ran back inside as I climbed into the backseat of our truck, completely enamored with the passenger in the car seat beside me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

Once we got home, I started to give him a bath. I wanted him to settle into his new home, and I thought a bath would be soothing. I thought wrong. His screams quickly woke my sleeping children, and they made their way into the kitchen to see what all the fuss was. They were in complete shock when they saw this tiny human. I told them we had a new family member, and he would be their brother for however long he was in our home. Of course, my children were elated. They had been anxiously awaiting the day we’d get our first call to foster a child.

As I fed him, all of us, my mom included, just sat there, taking him in. The love we all felt for him was so overwhelming. I know it was God giving us a love for him that was beyond anything we could’ve offered on our own. I knew the days ahead would be difficult. I knew they would be filled with uncertainty, and confusion, and maybe even grief. But I also knew we were doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

As we got everyone settled into their beds again, I remember holding onto this precious little baby, praying over him and his future, whatever that may look like. This night happened nearly 3 years ago. It is a night I will never forget, and yet, our story still isn’t finished. We are still living with uncertainty and confusion. Every time we go to court, my kids are filled with fear their brother will be removed from their home. I know the point of fostering is reunification, but try telling your heart that. In my heart, this child is my baby. I am his momma. He knows nothing else.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

Fostering has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I wake up thanking the Lord he is still with me. I go to bed begging he’ll stay one more day. Without my faith in God, I wouldn’t be able to do this. It is the only thing that gets me through on the hard days. And I’m not doing this alone.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

My son has battled some anxiety these past 3 years. And it stems from his fear one day, his little brother may not be his little brother anymore. He wakes me some nights, crying because he can’t get those thoughts out of his mind. It’s especially prevalent every time we get close to our next court date. My daughter is like a little momma fussing over him. She worries about his future, too. One of my lowest moments as a mom has been when I’ve been a crying mess on the floor, fearful of the future, and being comforted by my 12-year-old daughter to trust in the Lord’s plan. Talk about humbling.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

People tell me they could never be foster parents. That they’d get too attached. I am too attached. We are all too attached. How can you not get attached when you rock a child to sleep every night? As he is growing up and reaching these milestones of first steps, first words, first everything, it is bittersweet in a way it wasn’t when my own kids were going through these same things. I never questioned if it would be the last time I’d rock my child to sleep. I took it for granted they were mine. I never once thought this may be the last time I’d hear them call me ‘Momma.’

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

Because this has become our normal for so long now, I don’t think about these things daily anymore. But the uncertainty is still there. I still have times when a wave of grief so strong washes over me, it’s all I can do to stay standing. Will I teach him to read? Will I see him ride a bike for the first time? How long will he call me Momma? Will he bring me all the treasures he finds in our backyard like his older brother did? How long will he be mine? I think about how it would feel to know my child is out there, somewhere, living his life without me in it. It rocks me to my core. As I try to wade through all of these feelings and emotions, I’m also trying to be a momma, helping her kids with these things too.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

It’s an interesting way to live. The joy is there tenfold. We have been bursting with joy because of this child. He makes us laugh daily. When he plays ball with his brother, celebrating like he’s made the game-winning shot, we get so tickled. When he reaches up his arms to his daddy, wanting to go wherever his daddy is going, it always makes us smile. When my oldest daughter comes home, they pick up right where they left off, and it warms my heart. And yet, mingled in with all the joy we feel is that little pang of sadness. They go hand in hand, constant companions. A little salty, a whole lot of sweet.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

I stand on the Bible verse in Proverbs that says, ‘She laughs without fear of the future.’ Most days, it’s easy to find my laughter. Loving this child is never hard. And yet, even when I can’t find my laughter, I claim this over my life and my children. We have no fear of the future, because of our trust in Christ. We can place this precious child, who we all adore, into the hands of the Father, because we know He loves him even more than we do. This is something I’ve had to work on day by day over the past few years. I am learning to trust more because I have zero control over what happens. I am learning to fight my fears and teaching my kids how to do the same. It’s a battle, but we are winning.

Courtesy of Whitney Drew

I had a friend recently ask me if I’d do it again, knowing what I do now. Knowing how hard it would be. How much we’d love him. How crippling the fear would get at times. I answered, without hesitation, ‘Yes.’ A million times, yes. I would do this over and over again, knowing the outcome still isn’t decided. Knowing I could have my heart broken at any moment. Why? Because he is worth it. Hearing him call me Momma is worth it. Feeling his hand in mine as we walk down the path to our creek is worth it. It has all been so very worth it.”

Courtesy of Whitney Drew
Courtesy of Whitney Drew

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Whitney Drew of Kentucky. You can follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and their blog. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this:

‘How can you waste the best years of your life fostering children?’ People questioned if I’d find a husband.’: Single foster mom says ‘these children are worth it’

‘I don’t think any social worker will jump to place a child with a 20-year-old, single male.’ I agreed and said, ‘I’ll be patient.’ I checked all the boxes.’: Former foster kid becomes adoptive dad to 3 boys, ‘Fostering is love’

‘I wiped away tears and quit ignoring the calls from CPS. 30 minutes after I told my 1st grade students goodbye, I had a 4-week-old baby placed in my arms.’: Mom says fostering journey is ‘nothing like I imagined’

‘Let me tell it STRAIGHT, there’s days I feel like I’m babysitting someone else’s kids.’: Foster mom details journey, ‘We’ve learned to love them as our own’

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