My sister and brother-in-law began fostering this year. When they got their first placement, I couldn’t wait to come visit. After all, this beautiful baby boy had instantly made me an aunt! I packed up my three kids for a weekend visit, and it was one I will never forget. It was the first time I saw my sister fulfilling her dream, not just of motherhood, but of opening her home to a child in need.
Motherhood looked beautiful on her. After our weekend together, I wrote this letter to encourage my sister, but if you’re a foster mama, I hope maybe it can encourage you, too.
In the middle of our first night, as I nursed my baby back to sleep, I heard yours crying. You were up, too, comforting him and making a bottle. I heard him wake again and again during the night and each time, you were there. He found comfort in your arms, just as he found love in your heart and safety in your home. As I listened that night, I cried. I realized, for the first time, the depths of your service and the fullness of your compassion.
You’re a mother in the strongest sense of the word.
In the dark of your home, exhausted, you answered his cries. You weren’t eased into motherhood with a sleepy snuggly newborn, but thrust into it with a strong lunged beautiful seven month old teething baby boy. You mothered him with the same love and commitment that I mother the children I carried. But the selflessness you showed is unmatched in my journey.
Although I take it for granted, I can rest in the comfort that my children will be with me as long as we are both on this earth. I pour my heart into them knowing I will, Lord willing, see the fruits of my labor as they grow. But you…You give your whole heart, knowing it will most likely be broken to pieces when he leaves your home.
You are a selfless mother.
Your phone is full of photos just like mine, but you can’t share them. Instead, you find joy in the moment rather than the validation and recognition most of us receive when we share the highlight reel of our lives on social media. Not only that, but you see the value of today because you are painfully aware that you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.
You are a present mother.
Your heart and mind are burdened with the details of his story, but you keep it to yourself. You know his story isn’t yours to tell, so, although complete strangers ask all too often for details, you maintain his privacy above all else.
You are a protective mother.
Your calendar is full of appointments. In addition to regular check ups, you have visitation, court dates and home studies. Your days are full but you always manage to get there.
You are a steadfast mother.
With every appointment, and every passing day, you become the expert on his little life. You may not know his future, but you know his history and you know his present. You know his preferences. You know his weight down to the ounce. You know what makes him laugh.
You are an attentive mother.
For tonight and forever, you are a mother to him and to every child that comes through your home. Although years from now, you might not know where all of your foster children are, you can rest assured they are all better for their time with you.
Thank you for opening up your home. Thank you for giving them a soft place to land. Thank you for loving them with your whole heart and for showing him that love is patient and kind and safe. Thank you for doing the hard work. Thank you for being a happy chapter of his story even when you don’t know how it ends. I see you, and YOU are an amazing mother.