I was being selfish, wanting freedom from mommy-ing a toddler. We only take in sweet babies so they stay put when you put them down and you don’t have to chase after them, making sure they don’t take apart your drawers and everything else. She was supposed to have gone back to her birth family way back in November, I repeated over and over again in my mind.
But I wasn’t remembering the why. Why do we do this? Not only because a child needs a family and a home, but because the Lord Jesus came to live and die for us so we may be in communion with our Father in Heaven. Because He calls us to live a selfless life giving to others. Because of the gospel, the good news that God sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. God did not withhold anything because He loves us so much.
I idolized freedom from being bothered when I had other things I wanted to do. Why didn’t her birth parents hurry up and finish up the case plan? Why were they taking so long? They’re supposed to get 12 months to work their case plan and the year was up in December.
I was itching for a break so I could participate in all the other wonderful activities of my three bio sons. Because of her, I couldn’t volunteer my time elsewhere. She’s been with us well over a year. My dear friend suggested that maybe the Lord was protecting Baby D from harm. Or perhaps God was saving me from stretching myself too thin. Perhaps He wanted me to see how vital it was to be Baby D’s mama for longer than expected. What if it wasn’t best for me to throw myself into school booster clubs, performing arts, or church ministries? What if the best thing for me was to stay at home with my baby daughter for a prolonged period of time? Why did I believe other things were more important and why was I drawn to them?
Those in my life prayed for Baby D and for her to return to her birth parents as soon as possible. They encouraged me and reminded me that God is sovereign and in control over the entire case plan and that His timing is perfect. I should not be living for myself and my desires, but for Him.
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
One evening, the mother of one of my former foster daughters encouraged my heart so much. Google Photos sent some memories to my email inbox and I wanted to share it with Martha (not her real name). We had a parent visit at the mall food court and I bought two boba drinks for her and her husband so I had to take a photo to commemorate the special occasion. I also shared with her that my current Baby D had a bad cold and it reminded me of her Baby S being extra cuddly when sick.
She texted back, “You’re the most important person in her little life.” I cried. She was right. Here I was with a complaining heart, but Baby D knew only me as her mother even though we visited with her birth mother briefly at least twice a week.
She further explained that she herself did not feel bonded enough to her own Baby S when Baby S lived with me so it was difficult to motivate herself to efficiently complete her case plan. She acknowledged that birth parents can feel “too” comfortable with the situation since a great family was taking care of their baby. “But one thing is for sure…NOTHING is in vain in the Lord. He pays good. Keep doing it. He’ll give you the strength and the joy and everything you need. I’ll be praying for you and I’ll add this situation in the prayer list at church.”
I was floored. This was coming from the birth mother of my previous foster daughter, encouraging me and exhorting me to keep doing what I’m doing. Didn’t the foster parenting classes teach us that WE were supposed to be the ones mentoring the birth parents?
She continued by sharing with me how she learned about phileo love, that human love has limits according to the Bible. “We [birth parents] have this kind of love and that is why we messed up as parents even though we love our kids. It shows the world that only the love “agape” of God is the true one. It’s kind of cruel and crazy but definitely I see it like that. In church they say if you don’t have Christ you don’t have nothing.”
Oh my heart! To hear that from a former birth parent of mine, to see how GOD CHANGED HER HEART and brought her close to Himself to the point that she is exhorting me to keep going strong…that was proof that we needed to continue with a joyful heart…to practically, by example, be the love of Jesus in this dying world so that the name of Jesus will be praised.
“so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11
So we will joyfully carry on, fulfilling our personal calling by the Lord…picking up after our baby girl, playing with her, teaching her new words verbally and in sign language, reading to her, teaching her how to walk, holding her, hugging her, loving her… for the purpose of all those we encounter to know the name of Jesus.