We are officially over halfway done with foster care training. We’ve hit the part where I’m checking batteries in smoke detectors, double locking medicines and posting fire escape plans in preparation of our upcoming home visit studies. Paul is excited.
I am sometimes excited, sometimes scared.
Before the fabulous five came into my life, I knew I would never adopt a child. I never said it out loud, because it seemed politically incorrect, but I just didn’t think I was capable of loving a non-biological child in the same way I would love a biological child that shared my bloodline. I just didn’t think I could do it.
But then MacKenzie came. And Aviean. And Angelina, Juliana and Olivia. And suddenly, I learned a truth about myself: I could (and did) love each of those children as if I had given birth to them myself. It was the most amazing, shocking lesson of my life. Here was this thing I thought I was incapable of — and now it seemed like the easiest thing in the world. I fell in love with them without trying; it was truly that easy.
When I started fostering, I thought it wouldn’t happen again. This will be different, I told myself. It will be harder this time, I thought. And it was harder, but the result was the same: I did love those children as if they were mine. I remember the day I got the call that Miss Seventeen’s biological parents’ rights had been terminated. One of the very first thoughts that went through my head was “I need to open a bank account and start saving for her wedding one day.”
So why am I so scared that this time will be different? Why am I afraid that this child, number nine to sleep under my roof, will be the one that I find myself unable to bond with?
I think it is because, in a way, I feel like fostering is saying that I’m giving up on having a biological child. And I am not ready to give up.
I’m just not. Even though I know that I can love a non-biological child in the same way I can love a biological child, I still want to have a biological child. I want to be pregnant. I want to have morning sickness. I want to see a heartbeat on an ultrasound. I want to go into labor. I want my family to hurry to the hospital. I want my mother to show me how to give a baby a bath. I want my father to triple check that the car seat is installed correctly. I want to see if the baby has Paul’s hair color. I want a child that I get to name.
When I was younger, I would worry about never getting married. But I have never worried about never being a mother because I have just always known that, somehow, I would be a mother one day. My doctor says there is no reason to give up hope yet. We think we know the problems and maybe how to fix them.
And so I keep saving money for another round of injections and procedures.
And try not to be envious of people who can try for a child each month without needing thousands of dollars for one solitary shot at a child.
And attempt to keep from berating myself for being overweight (that isn’t the only problem in our infertility roster, but it is the only problem that is my personal fault, which makes me feel guilty).
And, above all, I keep reminding myself that it is okay to love a child again. It is okay if this child returns to their biological parents. It is okay if I cry when it happens. It is okay if I still mourn for the children who used to stay with me. It is okay to still dream of having a biological child while taking care of someone else’s child while they are unable or unwilling to do it themselves. It is okay to pour out my love on a child, even if it ends up looking like that love went to waste.
Because love can never be wasted on a child. Never.
“It’s easy to love cautiously.
It’s easy to show expressions of love that are safe and kept within restrained boundaries.
But loving wastefully always involves risk — there’s the risk that the loving deed might, in fact, be wasted.
Yet is it not in loving wastefully that we display the inexhaustible love of God?”
- Spotting the Sacred
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