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Spare bedrooms.

Last night, on the coldest day Tennessee has seen in awhile, Paul and I bundled up and headed across town for our first foster care training as a couple.  At a stoplight, I grabbed my phone and we took a selfie to remember what we looked like on the night we said “Yes, we want to try this.”

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Foster care.  It is unbelievable that two short words can conjure up so many different feelings.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile will remember that this is not my first foray into the world of foster care.  The back story is that, for a period of time, I took care of five little girls who had different life situations that put them in my home for days or weeks at a time, depending on their personal situation.  I still look back on that period of my life as one of the best gifts God has ever given to me.  I still cannot believe I got to have those little girls in my home and heart as a single woman; they were, without a doubt, one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

After they left (kind of — Aviean is still in my life very regularly but I, unfortunately, do not see the other four), I reluctantly went into foster care.  When I felt God calling me into foster care, I was not happy.  I had just been through multiple experiences of learning that, no matter how many baths you give, meals you cook and homework you oversee, other people’s children were not my own children.  To be asked to open my heart again to children who could leave my home just as I was starting to love them seemed like the worst idea God had ever shared with me.  I was also certain — certain — that the reason God was calling me to foster care was because He was also calling me to a life of being single.

I took in three foster children for six months.  It didn’t get hard until the end but, when it got hard, it got impossible.  After weeks of very serious issues with one of the foster children, I gave my notice to the agency.  I felt like the biggest failure.  It was one of the first times in my life that I was having to say “I do not want to do this anymore.”  I felt like I had failed everyone, including God and myself.

Four days after I gave my notice, my oldest foster child was arrested.  Since then, there have been multiple jail sentences (which has grieved me in a way I can’t publicly discuss — I still, to this day, deeply love this foster child).  Now that time has passed, I can see that I probably did the right thing by getting out when I did.  When I said “I do not want to do this anymore” it wasn’t because I didn’t care anymore.  It was because the situation had gotten so out of hand that I was not able to help any further without putting myself at very serious risk (and I’m talking about DCS documented physical risk).

Deciding to go back into foster care was a hard decision.  Paul and I are ready to be parents but have not been successful at having biological children yet.  I have known for years that it would be difficult to have biological children and that I would need help from reproductive doctors.  We are working with them as we can afford it (our insurance literally covers nothing).  I am in no way ready to give up on the dream of giving birth to a biological child.  I honestly cannot imagine never being pregnant and being able to give birth to a biological child.  I have wanted to be a mother since I was a child and this is a hard road to walk.

But what about the meantime?  What about all of this time where we’re saving to afford the next round of injections and ultrasounds?  What about the spare bedroom that is empty?  What about the spare area of our hearts that want to love a child?  And that’s how we came to foster care.  At the end of the day, we have so much love to give a child and have no child to give that love to right now — yet there are hundreds of children who need our love and spare bedroom.  How could we not pour out our love on a child who needs it while we pray desperately for a child of our own?

I have dreaded saying publicly that we were going back into foster care all because of my pride.  Because I haven’t been able to give all the details surrounding why I left foster care, I have been afraid that people would hear I was going back into foster care and think “Wait, didn’t she fail at that the first time?”  The truth is that the people who were close to the situation all know what really happened.  But because you don’t know — and because I can’t tell you without giving away too much of the foster children’s privacy — I have to just lay my pride down and tell myself that it is okay if people thought I was a failure.  It’s okay if they come to that conclusion based on just the small details I have been able to share.  I’m just going to have to live with that and trust the opinions of the people who saw me foster up close and hope that everyone else can read between the lines enough to say “Hey, there must have been something really serious going on to cause Amy Beth to be willing to leave foster care.”

So, there it is, the thing I have been dreading telling you.  I’m going to try fostering again.  I’m going to keep praying for ultrasounds and heartbeats on a monitor but, in the meantime, I’m going to take care of children that are already here, already needing love.  I am going to swallow my pride and be okay with knowing that people will judge me or that loved ones will not understand why I want to do this again, why I would open my home yet again to a child who will most likely not stay long term.  At the end of the day, I just need to be able to answer to God and I think that, if He was here, He would open His spare bedroom too.

Comments

Comment from RMY
Time: January 8, 2014, 11:29 am

God bless you.

Comment from Suzanne
Time: January 8, 2014, 1:23 pm

YOU are amazing and *in no way* a failure at anything and especially not at loving children. God’s got big plans for you, Amy Beth, because you are always, always willing to serve Him even when it means waiting. Praying for you and Paul as you start this new journey together!

Comment from Sarah
Time: January 8, 2014, 2:21 pm

I think it is great that you are so brave and courageous, and willing to do the hard stuff of life. You never failed. You were a great success and those children will never, ever forget the love you gave them. It will stay with them always. You were exactly what they needed in that very moment.
You never failed. Those who think and voice that opinion don’t get it. You set up healthy and appropriate boundaries and because of that, you can love again.
I just became a single foster parent. Have been waiting for my first placement since December 4th.
I wish you the best and look forward to reading about your wonderful adventure forward.

Comment from debbie d.
Time: January 8, 2014, 5:22 pm

have missed the opportunity to be “all up in your business…” thanks for the new post!

Comment from Airlie
Time: January 8, 2014, 9:05 pm

So happy to have a blog post from you pop up in my reader. I’m excited for you as y’all begin this new journey. And lady, you are no failure!

Comment from Destiny
Time: January 8, 2014, 9:46 pm

I am so glad you blogged. I have missed your posts and you!

Praying with you for your heart’s desire and admiring your bravery in the interim…

Comment from Lyndsey
Time: January 8, 2014, 10:17 pm

Love this!! You are amazing!! And have missed your blog:)

Comment from Jabber Jaws
Time: January 8, 2014, 10:51 pm

Happy dance in your honor! Please tell me you will blog more. And, darling, you are many things but failure doesn’t make the list. SEASONS. I am amazed how often God opens and closes the same doors and windows. Seasons. It is interesting to me how scary it is sometime to walk a place you’ve already been. You would think the unknown would be worse, but honestly, sometimes with the new or unknown one’s ignorance is bliss. Here’s to you walking a path that you already know. Blessings to you, pretty momma!

Comment from CAROL ASHY
Time: January 9, 2014, 12:33 am

MISSED YOU…GLAD YOU ARE BACK. LOVE THE PICTURE. YOU WERE A GREAT FOSTER MOM AND SOME CHILD WILL BE VERY BLESSED.

Comment from melissa
Time: January 9, 2014, 12:49 am

Girl please!!! You are a lot of things… funny, engaging,caring,creative and the list goes on but a failure NO. NO WAY as a reader,follower,blog stalker ;) would I never think you didn’t succeed at being a foster mom, in fact you made a decision based in love to foster and a decision in love to know what was best for you and those you love in a time of crisis that would likely produce the best outcome. That my dear makes you a roaring success.

Comment from Kristin
Time: January 9, 2014, 8:17 am

As a foster parent with a current placement, I cannot even begin to imagine going into that world as a single person – and to start with 3 from the get go. Kudos to you for that.

Having a helpmate will make a world of difference!

Comment from Ashley
Time: January 9, 2014, 8:57 am

The only ‘failure’ would be NOT doing what you felt like you were pulled to do; remember 1 Jn 3:21 and hold it close! ;) I think everyone will be happy and rejoice with you! Thank you for putting your heart out there and doing what most people are too scared to do.

Comment from Raeven
Time: January 9, 2014, 12:10 pm

You and your bravery amaze me. I think it’s wonderful that you’re willing to give it another try while you’re praying for your own child – I can only hope to be so selfless one day.

Comment from bessie.viola
Time: January 9, 2014, 4:21 pm

You are such a beautiful soul, inside and out. I love getting a peek into your life… and I have so much love and respect for the work you have done and continue to do in the lives of children. Best of luck to you & Paul, and God bless!!

Comment from Kilah
Time: January 9, 2014, 4:49 pm

NO WAY are you a failure!! I have been reading your blog for years and have never commented (I’m so sorry!), but I just couldn’t not comment today. You are a fantastic foster Mom!

I am praying for you guys!

Comment from Honour Annekins Harris
Time: January 11, 2014, 12:50 am

I love you, Amy Beth. I’m so proud of the choices you’re making. <–I feel like such a mom saying that, haha. If you ever have a spare minute, this is a blog I found a while back written by a woman in very similar circumstances: http://www.natashametzler.com

Comment from Judy @ Just Enough Light
Time: January 11, 2014, 2:10 am

I do not view you as a failure. I view you as bold to step out and help the children that need it desperately. Good for you and Paul!

Comment from Kelley
Time: January 11, 2014, 12:57 pm

Good for you!!! As someone else said – the only failure is NOT obeying God! And I am so glad to see a post from you! Thank you for sharing as you can. May God continue to bless you!!

Comment from Sheryl
Time: January 11, 2014, 10:39 pm

Amy Beth, you are so strong and brave. Don’t waste a single moment worrying about the opinions of people who don’t know you and haven’t walked in your shoes. There will always be armchair quarterbacks who love to sit on the sidelines and pass judgment on those who dare to get on the field, take risks and live life. I prayed for a husband for you … now I will join with so many others in praying that one day soon you will see the little heart fluttering on the ultrasound monitor. Until that day, keep pouring your lives and love into the little ones God brings into your lives. You and Paul are going to be fantastic parents!

Comment from Kaye
Time: January 12, 2014, 6:42 am

You are an inspiring woman Amy Beth!

Comment from Emily
Time: January 14, 2014, 12:12 am

I will pray for you and Paul. This is a wonderful thing you are doing.

Comment from Beth
Time: January 15, 2014, 2:29 pm

You have a beautiful heart, Amy Beth. Best wishes on this journey you’re starting.




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