I Don’t Think I Can Do That

***I am really good at starting a blog post, leaving it in drafts and not getting back to it.  Today, I decided to clean up my draft folder and came across this blog post I had written 4 years ago.  We had gotten our first newborn foster baby and as often happens, I had several friends and family say, “I don’t think I can do that”.  It triggered this post that stayed in my drafts folder until now. 

The truth is, none of us really know for sure what we can or cannot handle unless we have tried.  Little Bit left our care a couple months after I wrote this post.  Hubby, the girls and I shed more than a few tears when we said good-bye.   Selfishly, we wanted her to stay with us and we had to have a serious discussion on whether or not we could continue down the road of foster care.  Thankfully, we decided to keep going and while it was hard saying good-bye to others, our lives were changed for the better.  After all, had we given up and said, “I don’t think I can do this”, we wouldn’t have Arryn today and our lives are so much better because we permanently added her to our family.   We gained much by not giving into the fear of heartache and pain. 

There are still times when I think about re-licensing to do foster care again, but for so many reasons, now is not a good time.  Instead, we treasure all the memories of Little Bit and the other kiddos that were part of our lives.

And now, the 4-yr-old post that has made its way out of my draft folder.***

Little Bit wakes up about every 2 hours to eat.  For the most part, she falls right back asleep for another 2 hours, but this goes on all night.  After 9 nights, I’m definitely feeling the effects of interrupted sleep.

Now I realize the advice is to nap when baby is napping, but with a cleaning and laundry and homeschooling and dishes and cooking and and and . . . . .

I do, however, find the time to sit and hold Little Bit.  I don’t know how long she’ll be with us, but I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to give her a solid foundation.  It’s one of the more difficult things about foster care for me.  I work very hard on attachment and once they leave my care, I have absolutely no idea what kind of care they are getting.  So the time I have to hold her, talk to her, stroke her hair and kiss her little cheeks is precious.

This brings me to something I hear quite often . . . . “I don’t think I could do that.”

My question back is, “Why?”

Most of the time the answer is that they don’t think they can let them go, but I think if most were being completely honest, they would say they don’t want to give up that part of their life.  They don’t want to open their hearts to a child in need.  In other words, it’s not a matter of not being able, but it’s a matter of not having the desire.

You see, I love caring for and loving the children who come into my home.  When they leave, it breaks my heart and for the kids who are old enough to understand, it breaks their heart too.  Foster care shouldn’t be necessary.  Anyone who has a child should be able to take care of them.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.  Babies are born exposed or addicted to drugs.  Children are left at home by themselves for a number of reasons.  Children are physically or sexually abused.  Children are living in deplorable conditions with cockroaches, mice and rats living with them.  Children don’t have enough food to eat.  Children don’t have appropriate clothes to wear.  Sadly, children become the victims of parents inability to property provide a loving, nurturing and safe environment for their children and the reasons are plentiful.

My need and desire is to be here to love on the baby who has DT’s from being born exposed to cocaine.  It’s to care for the child who is neglected because mom and dad needed to leave them unattended to go get their drug of choice.  My job is to provide a nurturing and safe environment for the child who has a parent who can’t provide them adequate care due to severe mental illness.  My job is to hold the child who is scared because he witnessed mommy and daddy fighting and then the police taking them away in handcuffs.  My job is to help children discover what a life, outside the walls of their home looks like and help them realize that they can have that normalcy in their own lives.  It’s a job that is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting, but also rewarding in ways I can never explain.

So far, for one reason or another, all the children who have been in our care have moved on.  Some moved on to other foster families for one reason or another.  Some moved on to other family members.  Yet all hold a very special place in my heart.

As I sit hear holding Little Bit and watch her sleep, I feel a great deal of love for this little baby who has only been with us 9 days.  She needs me to be her mommy, if only temporarily and that is a job I take very seriously.

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Her little hands with the long slender fingers sometimes wrapped around mine as if she is saying, I feel safe.

She sleeps soundly in my arms and if one day she leaves, my heart will be broken.  Fortunately, my heart is big enough for more and sadly there will be more.

So don’t tell foster parents you don’t think you could do what we do.  After all, no one really knows what they are capable of doing unless they try.  And if you don’t want to try, that’s fine, just be there to provide support for the foster family in your life.

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