It was November 2021 when our foster son was reunited with his biological family. We had loved and cared for him for over 2 years when we received the call from the social worker. She said the judge ruled to reunify him today. I pleaded with the social worker to allow me to pick him up at preschool and to give our family a chance to say goodbye. She conceded to the request, and as I hung up the phone tears filled my eyes. I thought, “I may never see him again after today.” I cried out to the Lord, “Please help me. Please help me to do this well.”
I called my husband and asked him to come home from work early. “I need you to come, Adam. We need to do this together as a family.” He didn’t even hesitate to come home. I quickly sent a text to my little guy’s school letting them know that today would be his last day. Then I called his previous foster mother who had become a grandmother to him and asked her to come and be with us. She asked if I was sure and I said, “yes, you have loved him so well and we don’t know if we will see him again, so please come.” She dropped everything and made the drive.
I contacted my immediate family and asked them to come to say goodbye as well. His foster grandmother, my father, and I picked him up from preschool and he was so excited to see some of his favorite people but also very confused. I did my best to explain to him all the transitions that were about to happen, while also celebrating the beautiful artwork he had completed at school and was now in a brown bag in our car. We went through the bag and came across a quickly put together goodbye book created by his teachers with scribbles from his classmates. I started to cry again. There is so much beauty and brokenness in each of these moments.
When he got home, he saw his personal items packed up and was so excited to ride his tricycle around the garage. I looked at him and thought, “I am so glad he is happy right now. I want him to be happy.” His foster sister got home from school, and I quickly explained what the judge had ruled and the ramifications for our family. As more family descended on our home and time quickly ran out, we had to say our last goodbyes. Some family finished writing and drawing on his personalized quilt (created by ladies from our church) with messages by family and friends as a reminder of their love for him, while other family members started sharing their favorite memories and things they were going to miss. With sobs and tears, we prayed over his life and asked God to protect him and give his biological family the wisdom they needed to raise him well.
When the social worker came to pick him up, we helped fill her car to the brim with countless memories. Each shirt, bicycle, toy, book, and blanket were filled with moments in time that were priceless to us. We gave her a Scripture lullaby CD that would help him feel calm and safe during the ride and we gave him one last hug and kiss and reminded him that we would always love him. I will never forget my family standing in the driveway with wet faces and shirts from the thousands of uncontrollable tears as a piece of our hearts drove away that day.
Everything changed in that moment, we were not the same when he left, and we will never be the same. I could finish this article right now and leave you with an understanding of deep love and loss that comes from foster care. But there is so much more to this story. I can’t say for certain, but when I think of the social worker taking him to his biological family that night, I believe there was great rejoicing. Our deep sorrow was met with their very real excitement. They had done what was expected by the judge to be able to care for their child in their own home. They could make all the decisions for him now and never had to say goodbye to him again. Wow, can you imagine being reunited with your child after years of visitation?
Though Adam and I will never be the same after having our little guy in our life, becoming smitten by him, having a deep love and affection for him, and then having to release him to the unknown. We put our trust in Christ. We trust in Him to make us complete when we feel like a part of our heart is missing. We trust in Christ to protect our little Fella from the evils of this world. In fact, we pray that God raises him up to be an evangelist in his hometown.
People often respond to our situation and say, “I could never be a foster parent. I would get too attached.” The truth is, we can all do hard things for the Lord, when we look to Him to be our strength. Will we be humbled in the process of doing those hard things? Absolutely! And that humbling process is often quite painful, but here is the truth from God’s word: in our weakness He is our strength. Quite frankly, I can’t think of a better place to be than relying on God’s strength each day.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11 says, But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
by Tammy Kaczor, member of Graterford Bible Fellowship Church
*If you have questions about foster care or would like support as a foster parent, please reach out to BFC OneVoice (bfc. email@example.com) for my contact information.