Today is Mother’s Day. A special day where we take a moment to recognize and celebrate mothers for all they do. As a foster dad, I want to be sure to directly celebrate and recognize you; a foster mom. The title foster that proceeds mother carries with it so much meaning. It implies that while you are a mother figure to certain children today, you may not be at this time next year. Yet, you are willing to accept all the duties, joys, hardships, and challenges that come with this title.
My wife and I became foster parents a little less than a year ago, and have taken in eight children since we got licensed. Three girls have remained with us and are longer term placements. Two of the three children in our home call my wife different variations of mom and have from the first day they entered our home. Yet, when they talk to their biological mom her title gets extended to foster mom. The oldest calls my wife by her first name, and has never called her mom.
Over the course of this year, I have watched my wife lean into our new normal with grace, compassion, and so much love. I have seen her fill the girls with joy, with faith, and with hope. I have seen her comfort them when they are hurt, angry, sad, or disappointed. I have seen her discipline them when they are wrong. I have seen her co-parent with me, and navigate the complexities of the foster care system with patience, humility, and a Godly love. I have seen her juggle her work obligations when it seemed impossible. I have seen her operate on nearly no sleep because she was willing to comfort a child she just met through the night. I have seen her be creative with meals for children with picky palates. I have seen her advocate for every child, and handle the seemingly endless mountain of complex paperwork. In short, I have seen her become a mom this year. And, as I have watched her, walked alongside her, and learned from her, I have been in awe of how she carries the burden of motherhood on her shoulders.
Like her, you didn’t become a mom the day your foster children were born, but you embraced your role as mom the moment they entered your home. Whether they call you mom, or by your first name, you provide them with stability. You willingly accepted children into your life knowing that they have a biological mom somewhere out there that you will share this day with.
You have opened your heart to children in need, and provided them unconditional love despite not having many years to form a bond with them. You have chosen to bring a broken situation into your home, and create an environment that will allow a child to thrive. You provide them with consistency, as your world is anything but consistent and routine. Your reality is that you live in a world where at any moment, you could get a call that the children are going home, or going to live with a different relative, and your title as mother changes abruptly. You simultaneously pray for reunification and restoration of their family, while also praying that if that isn’t God’s will, He would make clear to you whether or not you would be the right home for the children. Your heart is constantly being pulled in a variety of different directions, but you embrace it, accept it, and ensure that the kids only know one thing: love.
You love, you care, you stay dedicated, and you persevere. You work tirelessly to create a home environment while the outside world has little understanding what you are doing. You handle the typical parental duties of doctor appointments, daycare and school pick up, drop off, enrollment, and various extracurricular activities. But, you don’t get to enjoy the simple joys of posting adorable pictures of your kids on social media, and you manage the additional complexities of foster care by navigating parent and sibling visits, annual case review meetings, court dates, therapy appointments, and frequent check ins from judges, lawyers, social workers, advocates, and guardians ad litems.
You are a mother, and today, as we should every day, we celebrate you, recognize you, and see you for all that you are, have done, and will do.
A Foster Dad