A first time Foster Parent

Our names were put on a list before noon on Monday November 14th.  Our case worker had already been called three times the previous week with children that they wanted in our home, so we knew it would be hours before we received a call.  Then we waited. . .

It was almost identical to the feeling when you are waiting for the hospital to call to say they have room for your induction.  The antsy, uneasy, yet knowing that the timing is up to God kind of feeling.  So our little family of 3 enjoyed dinner, bath time, Coldstone Creamery and then some quiet time for the hubby and I.

After falling asleep we got the call at 11pm with the question, "can you take him?"  Our agency recommends that we keep our birth child's age sacred- so Brooklyn is one, and on our list they write that we can take infants younger than her, or from a two year old and up.  So they had a sibling group of a 1 and 2yr old that the agency was going to split up. . . send the baby to another family and have us take home the 2yr old.    What??!!??? Ryan and I can't imagine splitting siblings up, and even if adoption was in the future- dealing with Brooklyn and another child growing up in the same grade, maybe fighting with friends or competitive issues that come up with siblings the same age- teaching and parenting them to love each other and work together on their problems seems like a LITTLE thing to having some confused split up siblings.

So we said we would take them both, and then at 11:30 Ryan drove to the CPS building downtown.  He picked up little girl "S" and big boy "S" and brought them to their temporary home.

To say that going from one child to three overnight is hard, is truly an understatement.  Luckily the little girl, although a month away from Brooklyn in age, was about 10-15 pounds heavier. . . so since she wasn't moving much it made things a little easier.  The boy turned 3 the second weekend he was in our home, and had amazing manners! He was quite the smarty too, always counting and working on letters.  We asked his mom if he went to a daycare, but she said that he just watched a lot of Elmo and Sesame Street! After finding out that the kids were mostly in front of the TV all day, the little girl strapped into a high-chair with snacks for about 4 hours. . .we started to get them moving!  They were only with us for a month but by the end of it little girl "S" was walking while holding onto furniture around the room, and little boy "S" was riding a bike (with training wheels:)).

I want to tell you that it was a sweet experience, that I loved every second while they were in our home.  While learning more about these kids and the bad situation that they left, I was so happy to know that they were stable and safe with us.  But every minute I felt anxious/depressed/emotional/helpless. . . all of these feelings were balled up in my heart and stomach and inwardly I was fighting for the answer of how to fix myself.

You become anxious because you have three little bodies to keep your eyes on.  When a brother loves his sister, and another girl wants to play now, he's not so nice to that other girl. Two little 12 month olds can actually fight, in fact the girls would hit each other or bite each other often and it kept me on my toes. Nap times were all different, and how do you put two babies down let alone a 3 year old?  The little girl screamed, A LOT, its was like her way of showing happiness and anger.  She laughed louder than a cymbal on a drum at a concert for the whole crowd to hear.  The boy who had great manners, also threw pretty darn good fits, and only for me of course, never for Ryan!

I was depressed because I felt helpless.  Every day when Ryan came home from work I couldn't explain that I felt like a dump truck had hit me.  You feel like a failure of a mom, lots of people have three children, why can't I handle it?  My life went from 0 to 100 overnight which included more house, laundry and bottles to clean, more food to make, more patience to have, more hands to do everything needed, more eyes to keep everyone safe and less down time, well none actually.  I was depressed because life was so much easier with just Brooklyn and all I wanted was for the kids to leave.  SERIOUSLY, this would go through my mind, which would make me MORE depressed thinking that I wanted these precious kids to go back to being homeless with their mom, so that my life could be COMFORTABLE.  It was a nasty fight happening in my heart.

Then of course all of these feelings made me emotional, which is very fun for Ryan.  One morning he walked in to find me crying on the floor with the two baby girls also crying next to me.  It was my breaking point.

I realize why it's not easy to sign up to be a foster parent. . . because its freaking hard.  I still don't think that the classes could have prepared us for that experience, but I am thankful that my strength comes from the Lord.  It was only through Him that I was able to see good times in our first placement, that even on depressed days I could smile when all of the kids would start laughing together.  And when Ryan and I would pray together a peace would come over me that would at least get me ready to take on the next day!  After three weeks we were in a great routine with the kids and even had little boy "S" saying prayers and thanks to God for meals and at night in bed.  They were sweet kids and we were settling in as a family.  Then a week later they went back home on Friday the 9th of December.  We had a weekend to rejuvenate our little family of three and then welcomed two boys to our house on Monday December 12th. . .


  1. THANK YOU for this post and the more to come, sweet Sara! It is such a treasure to hear all sides of this, from an actual family, from a friend before we actually have kids in our home. Girl, no matter how much of a mothering failure you feel like, YOU ARE NOT! "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called."

    You were called to this. You can't do it alone. God gives you peace and strength for just where you are at, not before, not after.

    Thank you for sharing! Excited for your next post. I'm getting so nervous for this step B and I are taking...we have 1 more class left of training and then a couple more interviews, paperwork, crp certification, and the home study. We feel so anxious...in all the good and bad ways. But there is such a need for hurting children to be in healing families. Jesus commanded it, there's a need, we can't wait for someone else to do it. SO THANK YOU!!!!

  2. Sara, I am reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas and it is A-MAZING. I read some things that made me think of your post:

    "There's no getting around the fact that parenting occasionally can suck you dry. It will take you beyond your own strength until you want to weep from weariness, but then you watch, amazing that you still get up and give some more."

    "There's only one way to develop perseverance: We have to surrender to God as we feel pushed past the human breaking point. We have to reach the threshold of exhaustion, and then get pushed even further. One trial can help us deal with fear. Two trials can lead to wisdom. But perseverance? That takes a bundle of difficulties. All of which means that parenting extremely demanding children feeds a spiritual need in our soul - to participate in the crucial discipline of perseverance on which our fruitfulness as believers depends."

  3. Thank you Krystal for the quotes, I super appreciated reading them! No one says parenting is easy right?:)