Many people become foster parents longing to adopt. In fact, when my husband and I began fostering, it was with the intent to adopt. We never imagined we would foster beyond that, or have an open door for children to come in and out of our home.
I still believe we will eventually adopt, so I can understand the desire parents have to adopt a child right away. I have felt how a momma can long for a child she has never met. I know firsthand how a child born to another woman can come through your door and instantly be “yours.” However, I have had a number of conversations lately with mommas who didn’t seem to understand the foster care system or the kids in their care. The foster care system is not an adoption agency — you don’t just go in and pick a perfectly healthy baby with your ideal specifications and take him or her home to be yours forever. Many of these children have been though a world of pain we cannot even imagine. They have been taken away from their parents and in some case separated from their siblings. Learning to navigate through that pain and parent them into wholeness can be a challenge.
Still, being a foster family is a challenge worth taking. For the children who come into your home and experience safety and love. For the children who come into your home completely distraught but go back to their home as a whole, healthy child, filled with joy. For the bio parent or parents you help through the most difficult time of their lives and make an impact on their family forever. And it is a challenge worth taking when that little child who came into your home and felt instantly yours can truly become a part of your forever family through adoption.