We knew this day was coming… from day one we knew our girl wouldn’t stay. Our role for her was a temporary sanctuary for a family in crisis. They just needed time to regroup but not for one moment did I doubt their love and devotion to their daughter.
Today was that day… The day we quickly went from a family of six back to a family of five. We scrambled to pack her bags and stock her up with as many essentials we could think of. To get in our last snuggles and say our last prayers with our girl that became a beloved part of our family over the past two months.
I am heartbroken. I fell hard in love with that precious girl. Each and every member of our family adored her big smile, sweet snuggles, and lovable laugh. For these two months in every imaginable way we have been her family.
Yet, I am thankful. Thankful that I had the privilege to mother her for this time period. That our family and friends were able to shower her with love while her family dealt with adversity. That I got to connect with her parents and assure them that we are on their side, praying daily for them and their future.
I’ve grown in unexpected ways these past two month- we all have.
I started out pretty selfish. I was unsure how much I should love and sacrifice for a child that is not mine. I was afraid to get too attached because I wanted to protect myself from heartbreak. I was reluctant to defer energy from my kids to take care of this new baby. I was unsure about loving a child that I had no chance of seeing their future; reluctant to truly just love her in the moment for no other reason than she deserves to be loved and treasured. I was nervous about assumptions people would have about us being “foster parents.” I was tentative about my role as a mother of four kids. I was annoyed by the extra appointments and lack of information the system provides. I struggled to give up sleep.
Yet, somehow a metamorphosis happened in my heart.
We fell in love. We embraced the mission. We prayed fervently for a family we barely know. We realized, we will be okay. That we can manage our heartbreak. That it’s our entire families privilege to love a child that is in need, we aren’t taking away from our kids by investing in the life of an additional child, we are adding to their ability to love beyond what seems reasonable.
We also saw even more how blessed we are to have a tribe around us that supports us and helped us through these two months. People donated supplies, prayed for us, gave me Starbucks gift cards (thank you!), encouraged my uncertain heart, babysat our kids, bought her clothes, and loved her generously too. Thank you. If we are to persist in this work we are going to need you. We can’t do this alone.
We are filled with hope for our girl. Her family is overjoyed to have her back. They seem equipped to love her well. More than anything God is able to take care of her because He loves her.
This has been a lesson in trusting that God can do the things that I can’t. I want to keep a child because I know then I can control what their future will look like (at least to a degree). Being willing to foster means being willing to trust God with the outcome.
Isaac has asked many times why we can’t just “adopt”… why we are fostering too… and well it’s hard to answer at times because fostering is hard and messy. It would be easier not to do this.
Yet, here we are. We are here because we can offer love, security, and more to a family that needs it. Because the Lord put that mission on our hearts. Our home is full with three amazing kids and while one day we believe there will be another Idleman until then we are okay with just being the hands and feet of Jesus for a little one. That’s the work that we feel God has called our family to do.
It’s hard, confusing, and sometimes heartbreaking but my takeaway from these 2 months is that it was 100% worth it. It was a good thing. A good season. And our lives are way better for having had the privilege of being the temporary family for our girl.
Continue to pray for her as she and her family adjusts to being together again. We believe God has a bright future for her ahead. Pray for us as we grieve her going home. Sending you love as we all deal with tough things in this season.