What I want you to know about being a foster momma

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Tiffanie.

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There are days that I wish I could live naively comfortable again... Days when I wish my eyes had not been opened to the injustices that surround us, before the faces of poverty were burned on my brain, and before one orphan had ever sat in my lap/ held my hand/ nor wrapped their tiny arms around my neck. God did not promise that there would be no pain, no grief, no sacrifice. Along with other things, grief is part of the sacrifice I make every time I embrace a baby for the first time.


If I had a dollar for every time a well meaning person commented to me "I could never do what you do, I'd get too attached...", I'd be a rich woman. I am not an unattached emotionless going through the motions like of foster momma (nor have I ever met one)

But "if I did not love each baby/ child, from the minute I touch him/her, as if they are my own, with total abandon, with my whole heart and soul, God would not have called me into this ministry. These children don't need another mother who is detached; they have already experienced loss. They need a mother who will throw open her heart, throw open her arms and embrace them with a love that changes everyone and everything it touches." (the middle mom)

Let me share the story of our current placement (little miss sunshine):

For the last 17 months I have had the absolute honor of parenting and being "mommy" to one the most amazing human beings on the planets. Since the day we said "yes" and the case worker brought her into our homes (most importantly our hearts) one late Friday night in June, I can not count the ways she has made our lives so blessed.

From day one she has been a constant source of sunshine and joy (even as we quickly approach the infamous "terrible twos").

People talk about people who have this illusive smile that magically lights up any room in which that person walks into. Before I met her, I thought that it was some cheesy cliche people use to describe overly happy people.... Now I know better.

She has a smile that melts hearts of stone and makes women's uterus' leap. It is physically impossible to be in her presence and be in a bad mood! IMPOSSIBLE! Her laughter is the sweetest sound I have ever heard and when she says "mommy" my heart physically with swells with so much pride and love, it could physically burst! Needless to say I'm beyond smitten and completely head over heels with this precious baby girl.

I guess I'm a lot like most mommies... I think the sun rises and sets in my daughters eyes. I have an indescribable bond and connection that words fall short in explaining the depth of my love.

But unlike other mommies, I daily live with the reality that although God has called me to be her "mommy" for a season that forever and ever probably isn't in our cards. Unless something unexpected happens, I will not be there to hold her hand as she starts her first day of kindergarten. I will not seen her hit her first home run, rock her ballet and hip hop dance classes, see her giddy with her first school girl crush, dry her tears when she gets her first broken heart, prom dress shop with her, see her walk across the stage to receive her high school and college diplomas, visit colleges with her, or even see her walk down the aisle as the beautiful bride I know she will be as she marries the man I have praying for since the day she stole me heart.

I am a foster mom. Although if you were to open my heart, you would see no difference in the amount of unconditional love I hold for her or my other children (both adopted and biological).

Daily I am reminded that tomorrow is not guaranteed! DAILY!

This reminder drives me to live in the moment. Cherish each precious moment I have. Smell her, lots!!! Memorize her beautiful face and the sound of her giggles and the way she says "mommy"! Watch her sleep (goes back to the memorize her face). Put off "things" to create memories. When she asks me to read the same book that we've already read 36 times today, read it again. Blow bubbles (even inside on rainy days). Forget the mess. Sing. Sing. Sing. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Go to the park. Look at rocks, flowers, and bugs. Play in the dirt. Paint her toenails. Teach her the importance of shoes. Talk about Jesus as much as I can. Love her tummy mommy (biological mommy). Watch "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Tangled" as many times as she wants to. Ignore well meaning people who tell me to let her "cry it out" at bedtime and not rock her to sleep. Kiss her more times than humanly possible to count. Whisper "I love you" in her ear all day long. And pray that even when I am distant memory she will KNOW to the core of her being that she has value and is loved more than she can ever fathom.

Experience, grief, and heart break as a foster mom painfully reminds me that one day my lap will be empty (as will some places in my heart). One day I would give anything to watch "Tangled" one more time with my baby girl cuddled up on my lap. Whether its because you are a foster mom, due to unexpected loss/ death, or an unforeseen medical hardship around the corner.... Life is lived best when we are ever mindful that each day, each moment, is a gift!!! Unwrap every beautiful one you've been given... Before its too late.

In the wise words of Ferris Buehler, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

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