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.”
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.
back to Home