What it means to stare into the eyes of a beautiful soul

After adopting our six beautiful children, we thought we were done with all the social workers coming in and out of our home, done with needing to arrange and rearrange our schedules to make visits work, done with needing to parent by other people’s rules and done with court dates and documentation (and all other things fostering).

But by being “done” with those things, we realized we were also done with falling in love with another child, done with having our hand in helping a family heal and done watching a child regain his or her sense of security. We actually missed our social worker friends. It was now odd that we didn’t have our home visits! Once I had to stop myself from calling a social worker when one of my kids, who I already adopted, needed to go to the emergency room after suffering a concussion (just to let them know what happened).

Something was missing

Our now “normal” life didn’t feel so normal anymore. It’s hard to believe with a household as busy as ours—with nine children, one grandchild, two dogs, a cat and a goat (alright, we don’t have a goat)—that something was missing. Then we realized it was not a something missing, it was a “someone.”

We got the call late one afternoon that this “someone” was coming. A beautiful little girl we got to love for a few weeks until she moved on. Then another little blessing came our way, and we got to love her up as well, before she moved on. As I write this blog post (it’s just a bit after 3 a.m.), I am deliriously exhausted and have, at this moment, fallen deliriously in love with my 4-day-old foster son. While everyone else in my home is dreaming, I get to stare into the eyes of a beautiful soul. I get the privilege of listening to him breathe as he falls into his next short sleep. I get the joy of loving him, praying over him and dreaming dreams for his future—one of which I will never know.

I dare not think of that day when I get the call he needs to move on (I might just lose it in this sleep deprived state I am in). Will my heart break when he leaves? I hope it will. He deserves to be loved with my entire being, with my entire heart and soul. Every single child deserves to have a heart break when they leave someone’s life. I ask each of you to hold me to my promise that the day my heart doesn’t break when a child leaves, is the day I turn in my fostering license.

I know my heart will heal. I will take the time to heal my heart so I can help others heal theirs.

Become a foster parent

I ask each of you to please consider getting information on becoming a foster parent. There is no obligation. A social worker is not going to show up on your doorstep with three kids the first time you inquire.

I encourage you to visit the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website and attend a new family informational meeting to learn about the program and hear from real foster parents. Ask the questions you need to ask to see if this is something you could do. Your heart will heal. I promise it will.

- Paulette Drankiewicz, foster parent liaison, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Paulette is a foster and adoptive parent. She works at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as a foster parent liaison, providing support, offering encouragement and advocating for foster parents throughout all phases of fostering and adoption.


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