That’s the essence of our life. When people ask us about being a foster family, they often hesitate to dig deeper. Yet, their curiosity and judgment are evident in their glances at the line of children by my side.
The dismissive comments like, “Well, I could never do that,” quickly shift their focus back to their own lives. But let me address those unspoken questions you’ve been afraid to ask. Take a seat, make yourself comfortable, and allow me to share our story…
“Hey, Grace. A baby girl has been abandoned and is at the hospital. She doesn’t even have a name. We need to find a foster home for her. Can you come pick her up in an hour?”
As my husband and I stood in Target, shopping for pants for the 12-year-old already under our care, that phone call changed everything. We exchanged a glance and without a word, we both knew the answer: “Yes.” We hastily grabbed a few outfits, diapers, and a car seat from our house. Forty-five minutes later, we cradled the most precious Pakistani princess in our arms. Her legal name? Safe Surrender.
Fast forward four months.
“Hey, Grace. The pediatrician wants us to refer Safe (we couldn’t change her name) to the local children’s hospital. It appears she wasn’t examined at birth, and there might be more to her condition than we initially thought. Can you cut your vacation short to take her to the appointment?”
We rearranged our plans and made the appointment. As they called her legal name, “Safe Surrender,” over the intercom, I felt the scrutiny of strangers as we met the nurse at the door. Though no one said it aloud, their silent question lingered: “Who names their child that?” Numerous tests followed—heart, kidneys, spine. The diagnosis revealed several birth defects requiring multiple surgeries and a few months with a colostomy bag. We endured additional tests, appointments, and explanations to medical staff unaware of the story behind her unique name.
“Hey, Grace. I just received your message. Those are extensive medical needs. Do you think you can handle it? We can move her to a level 2 home if necessary.”
We handled it all. We stood by her side as she recovered from surgeries. We comforted her during moments of inconsolable crying. We learned how to care for a colostomy bag. We purchased supplies out of our own pockets and adjusted her clothing to accommodate the bag. We witnessed her healing and the growing trust she placed in us. At 10 months old, she underwent another surgery to reverse the colostomy, and she never looked back.
“Hey, Grace. We published an ad for the unknown father in the paper, but there was no response. It seems this case will be heading towards adoption. Are you willing to adopt Safe?”
Let’s pause the story here for a moment. Ultimately, our journey as foster parents revolves around one simple thing: hope. The anticipation of better things to come, despite the challenges. It doesn’t make us saints; it’s just a belief that broken families and hurting children deserve more and that brighter days lie ahead.
Now, let’s address some of the unspoken questions you likely brought to the table:
“How do you love so many children and let them go back home?”
Hope. I genuinely hope that their families have learned better coping mechanisms for stress. I hope that we’ve built deep and meaningful connections with their biological families. I hope we’ll cross paths again under much improved circumstances.
“How do you deal with such