It is Mother’s Day, many years ago. Six excited children are anxiously holding up pieces of cardboard; carefully wrapped in tinfoil, with large pink letters that spell “MOTHER,” taped on the front. While I took my turn with the other children speaking about the special qualities of mothers. “M” is for the many things… Little did this brown-haired, blue-eyed girl realize she would have the opportunity to be the mother of two wonderful biological children and the foster mom to over eighty-five children in foster care.
Mother’s Day in the Early Years As a Foster Mom
Every day is Mother’s Day when you are caring for a home full of children. Mother’s Day memories of handwritten notes, written with crayons slowly turned into store-bought cards with loving words of thanks and appreciation. Cards and treasured memories of the happy and stressful times of caring for children traumatized by those that should have treasured them.
Then there are the memories of seeing their faces shining brightly while singing about Jesus in the children’s Christmas programs. Giving them the opportunities to learn Bible stories and about the precious love of God. Seeing the sweet face of the troubled fourteen-year-old smiling because she invited Jesus into her heart.
The days of toddlers and young children turned into the busy lives of teens, school, and sometimes heartache. The good times of laughter and celebrating their “first” birthday party at fifteen years old, their first camping trip, their first time of cutting down a Christmas tree.
The Years Go By
As the teenage years turned into the young adult years, the excitement of reconnecting with them as they came back into our lives. They came with words of thanks and “I can’t believe I did that to you.” The memories of the past, not all good memories will always be there. The struggles of living with children that are troubled can be overwhelming and sometimes frightening.
Somehow, the hard times seem to fade and don’t seem so bad, as the years go by. Though we had difficult times, we had many good times. The pleasure of having the children, who were formerly in foster care, choose to be a part of our family forever has been a wonderful blessing. The joy of sharing life with them; family celebrations and happy times, fun, games, and food. Our small family of four has become a family of over twenty.
Through the years we have shared the joy of their lives and the pain of their poor decisions. The college graduations, marriages, divorces, disappointments, and heartbreak. The years of getting Mother’s Day messages from the county jail not knowing what will come but praying and trusting God when your heart is breaking. The quiet times when there are no phone calls, messages, or visits. The ups and downs, tears, and prayers in the night knowing God will answer; but when?
Every day is Mother’s Day
The special memories that flood my mind are of the times my arms were filled with my precious grandchildren after they were born. Not by blood, but heart, my twelve grandchildren; precious gifts from God. The joy in my soul when they see me and run into my arms for hugs and kisses from grandma.
Every day is Mother’s Day when the special text messages come that say “I am so thankful for you Mom”. When they ask me to teach them how to make a pie, or how to sew. The times they teach their children what I taught them. Realizing we taught our biological children well, as they stepped into the role of brother, sister, uncle, or aunt. Supporting and encouraging their younger brother, sisters, nephews, and nieces.
A Scripture, in the book of Psalms, mentions that children are a heritage from the Lord, and blessed is the man (woman) whose quiver is full of them. I am truly blessed to have shared the lives of so many children. Teaching them and supporting them in their endeavors. Being the best example to them that I could be. Wanting the best life for each one of my children but understanding that it is “their life and their choice.”
I choose to give them to God, every day. Just as I did when we dedicated our biological children to the Lord, when they were babies. I will trust God, continue to pray, and encourage them in all they do. I know in my heart I didn’t always do everything right, but I did my best and loved them all.