Making the decision to become a foster parent is one that will radically change anyone’s life. It grows your knowledge of the 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, it breaks your heart for what breaks God’s, and opens your eyes, home, heart, and world to a child who desperately needs love.
The word “foster” means to be encouraged or developed, in a positive manner.
If you think about it, we’ve all been fostered in different ways throughout our lives. And through the gift of Jesus Christ, we have ALL been welcomed with open arms and patient hearts — adopted into God’s family.
Of course, it can be difficult for people to bring a “new” child into their home and risk pouring out all of their love to them, knowing that that may one day have to say goodbye.
But for most foster parents, they’ll tell you that the joy outweighs the heartbreak.
Showing a child who may have experienced trauma, or unthinkable situations, what safety, security, love, and kindness looks like — it’s the epitome of being the Lord’s hands and feet on the earth.
Being the mommy and daddy to a child who needs one can be so rewarding. But after a new placement with a -year-old girl, foster mom Jamie recently experienced how the word “mommy” took on a whole new meaning.
“She walks in confidently and with a smile,” Jamie shared on Facebook. “She knows the drill. In her two years of life, she’s spent five months in foster care. In her five months in care, she’s been in four different homes.”
Jamie explains how she got down on her knees and introduced herself to the little girl. She told her how glad she was that she’d come to stay with them before introducing her to the other kids.
“The other kids are the welcoming committee, the tour guides and the concierge service for our little residence (‘You’re here! Want to see your bed? Want a baby doll? Want a snack? I love you!’). They’re the key to a new child feeling at home.
Nothing makes me feel prouder of my bios than watching them do this. Nothing makes my fosters feel more like ‘mine’ than watching them follow suit.”
Jamie says that at this point, their newest addition became swept up in the excitement for a short time before she brought this foster mama’s world to a screeching halt.
“She wanders around with the other kids for approximately 11 minutes before she runs into the room with a smile and says, ‘Look, mommy!’
To me. The woman she met 11 minutes before.
To this little girl, ‘mommy’ meant the female adult of the house, the lady who reached something you couldn’t and refilled your juice. Having five ‘mommies’ in five months, she hadn’t yet had the chance to learn what mommy meant.”
She went on to list off things that actually make up a “mommy.”
“Mommy meant falling asleep on shoulders, kissing skinned knees, teaching ABCs. Mommy meant helping homework, whispering about friends, sitting outside dressing rooms. Mommy meant taking pictures at graduation, hugging on wedding day, cuddling grandchildren. Mommy meant security. Mommy meant commitment. Mommy meant life-long love.”
Jamie finished her post with a strong sense of hope for her newest foster daughter, knowing that one way or another, this little girl would have a mommy:
“She was only  years old, though, with a biological mom working hard to get her back and a foster mom willing to step in if she couldn’t. This little girl had the hope of learning that mommy isn’t just what you call a female who helps you… This little girl would know what mommy meant. This little girl would have a mommy.”
Jamie’s experience was an incredible reminder of the world that so many of the children around us know. Too many kiddos don’t know what mommy, or daddy, or love means. But we have the power to change that.
You don’t have to be a foster parent to make a difference in a child’s life.
There are plenty of ways to meet foster kids, and their families, right where they’re at — and show them the love and openness that Jesus shows us every day. Be the Lord’s hands and feet, and find out today what you can do to help a foster child in your community.