Three months ago, I was a different person. Over the past 90 days, I lost an innocence that I didn’t know I was still clinging to. It’s gone now, but I think that what has replaced it has increased my compassion and unleashed a strength that I didn’t know I would need to be a foster parent.
How My Journey Began
We got a call about a baby girl about 90 days ago. We’d just received our facility number two days prior and had no idea that the time from becoming licensed to foster/adopt to receiving a placement would be so short. She was two days old, the tiniest little bird at 5 lbs. 12 oz. and born with barbiturates in her fragile newborn system. As calmly as I could, I asked the placement coordinator if I could call her back after talking with my husband.
Two hours later, we were on our way to the hospital to bring her home.
The social worker from CPS and our CPA caseworker met us there. There was a mountain of paperwork to sign but also, between the pages in need of signatures, there was a story. The story of our girl’s mama. I read a few lines and had to stop. I was supposed to be paying attention to what the social worker was saying. And I knew that if I kept reading, the crack those sentences had started in my heart would leave me shattered in front of these strangers.
I saw things like: 29 years old, drug dependent since toddler-hood, and a whole list of domestic violence incidences. Illiterate, forgotten.
Compassion Toward the Parents
A naive assumption I harbored was that the struggles the parents were facing wouldn’t touch my heart. That the circumstances that led to this moment in their lives wouldn’t rock me. This moment where someone they’ve never met marries their choices to their situation. One plus one adds up to The Department having temporary managing conservatorship of their brand new baby girl.
The truth is that when we saw the rainbow of gray shades and began to piece together the fragments of their stories, the feelings of compassion and care we aimed at the Little Bitty in our arms spilled over onto the precious people that made her.
Here’s the thing: Choices have consequences, yes. For sure. And choices, they tend to make up who you are. But when you have never been presented with a different choice and who you are isn’t who you’re meant to be—I can’t help but mourn for the lives they could have had, rather than the broken situation they’re in.
They rolled in our sweet girl’s bassinet and my loving husband picked her up and she became ours in our hearts. He calls her his own and she belongs.
No Guarantees in Foster Care
You see, even this far in (further even!) there are no guarantees with foster care. To say yes to foster care (for us) meant meeting the need of someone else—not fulfilling our own desires.
We’re dually licensed to foster and adopt and should the opportunity present itself, we would love to add to our family through the foster care system. For the time being, though, we love this precious baby. and we will work to build a solid and unshakable foundation of attachment and love to carry her through her life.
About Amanda Moore
Amanda is an Austin Texas girl living in a Colorado world with her high school sweetheart, Michael; and their four littles, Jace, Aubrie, Kherington, and Levi. She is a homeschooling, stay at home mama who loves impromptu dance parties in pjs, family photography, belly laughs, and gabbing over a glass of wine. With her creative, gypsy spirit matched ironically to Mike’s steady, logical one, their home is an off-beat chorus of logical parenting and spontaneous adventures. Amanda is a believer in real community, in soul-deep investment in others, and in building up the family unit. You can find her family focused blog here.