first fosters.

where in the world to begin…

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three little birds flew into our home wednesday morning. into the car, more specifically, where we spent our first hour together, where I realized that they were foster kids yes, but at the root, just kids. copious amounts of “are we there yet?” asks and knock-knock jokes will remind one of that.

the next four days were a continual reminder of that kid-ness at the core, a whirlwind of mothering four, an exercise in growing immeasurable respect for moms of many and the recognition of a growing desire to be one myself. they ran us ragged in my favorite way, every night leaving that “camp tired” sensation coursing through me. i loved it. i miss it. i want my phone to ring and more sweet faces to walk through our door.

we did art projects and put together Legos and read books. we swam and ran and squealed and laughed. we lived like a family.

is all of this so very obvious, full of recognitions I should have had before the three came? I didn’t know that they would feel like part of us, even assumed they wouldn’t since their leaving time was always known. but maybe that’s just it, maybe the knowledge that their lives are full of coming and going, hellos and goodbyes unwelcome, maybe that’s what bonded them to me in a way unimaginable. maybe I’m just pregnant and sappy and idealistic. maybe I’m not going to worry about the reason and just ride this wave of first-time emotions, so sad to see them go, so glad that they live with a wonderful foster family, so begging God to bring them stability. they knew how to pack their bags far too well for children their age.

I’m so thankful as I think on the way the three were loved during their few days with us, the way our church family embraced them and friends came over to play and our families praised their drawings over FaceTime. I’m becoming okay with the fact that I’ve evolved into the pregnant, weeping, worshipping mama in the second row at church, lips quivering through lyrics of God’s sovereignty, love, protection, Fatherliness. those marks of Him cover every part of my life, do the three see it too? they articulated the gospel clearly to me, knew the truth of the body and blood and resurrection. I’m begging for the faith to believe that the Spirit will testify to them exactly Whose children they are when the answer to that question on earth only breeds confusion.

I’m just going to sit here in this moment of reflecting on our first fosters. I’m so prone to running ahead, ignoring the gnawing inside that asks me to just take a minute, just let this be important, weighty, sad. it is sad. it’s sad to say goodbye, and it’s infinitely sadder for little babies to be shuffled from one place to the next, lives shrouded in uncertainty.

remember how I was reminded that the three were kids long before they were foster kids, children just like Owen is, just like I was? this is a truth that burrows deep and demands my attention. just like one with a handicap is not defined by it, these children are not defined by their status in the system. all that that status means matters greatly, but it is not all there is. they do not have to be children of the system forever, defined by paperwork and packed bags. that we could be some minuscule part of showing them possibility, showing them Jesus and hope and life beyond is a calling above my pay grade, a mission fulfilled only by the Spirit’s empowerment. I cling to Him. I thank Him for letting us join Him in caring for souls. I feel sad and let it be so. I wait for the phone to ring.

Author: Abby Perry

Abby has written for The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, Upwrite Magazine, and The Influence Network. She is the communications coordinator for a nonprofit organization and co-facilitates two community efforts—one promoting bridge-building racial reconciliation conversations and one supporting area foster and adoptive families. Abby graduated from Texas A&M University and currently attends Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her family live in College Station, Texas.

4 thoughts on “first fosters.”

  1. this did my heart good. thank you for articulating so well many of my own thoughts and feelings that I cannot express when someone asks me how we came to this place of fostering.

  2. This is so amazing. Praise God for the way he is using you and Jared! You two are such an inspiration. My prayers are with you and all the kiddos in your care. Amen to all your prayers that they may constantly know themselves as children of God.

  3. Abby, it’s so great to see how you and Jared are doing and what y’all are up to! I don’t think I’ve talked to either of you since just before y’all got married. I ran across your blog today and saw this post. Awesome 🙂 We’ve got 3 little bio kiddos so far. And we will be licensed in a couple of months, ready to receive our first placement to head toward adoption. We are so excited and can’t wait to meet the next little members of our family. Thanks for your perspective! I look forward to reading along and following y’all’s family adventures!
    -Katie (formerly hoff-poff)

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