I will never forget the day my husband and I packed up her things and drove to the Department of Child Safety office. It was one of the worst days of our lives. If I allow myself to go back to those moments, I can still sharply feel the pain that resonated throughout our hearts. We were “that family.” After several years of being a foster family, we were the ones saying, “We can’t handle this.”
It takes a lot for us to get to that point. When people find out how many children we have, they usually say they don’t know how we do it. To be honest, there are many days I don’t know, either. Just Jesus.
Most days are filled with so much joy. I look at each one of our children and I am overwhelmed that God would allow us to be their parents. They have been through so much and yet here they are functioning as “normal” kids. Just Jesus.
But there we were sitting in a car, me with tears streaming down my face and about to say, “We can’t do this.” Little Miss J acted like it was just a normal day which made me even sadder. You see, when a foster child has moved several times in their life they can become desensitized to it. She didn’t know this wasn’t normal. She didn’t know that she shouldn’t be moved from home to home to home. That is not okay.
How did we get to this point? J had only been in our home for a short time. But even unconditional love requires boundaries. Safety and mental health are real needs for foster kids and foster families. We raised our white flag and admitted we couldn’t handle it. I wrestled with the decision knowing it was not her fault. Because giving up a child feels like giving up on a child. I wanted her to know she was deeply loved and that was the reason we had to say goodbye for now. We sat in moments requiring us to have faith — faith that our family was still strong and worth it all. Faith that she would get what she so desperately needed. We didn’t have control over the situation, but we could choose to allow these moments to break us or make us. May they continue to make us stronger, more grateful, and more like Jesus.