So, how are you really doing?

Today my foster baby left my home.

This is the goal of foster care.

And the reason that most people who consider becoming foster parents decide not to do it.

So many of you have stepped in and asked me how I am doing, and I am grateful for every single one of you—even if I cannot bare my soul at the exact moment that you ask.

The truth is, this is hard.

Ridiculously, unimaginably hard.

So, how am I?

Today, I am not ok.

I will be ok again.

And that is good enough.

Today, no matter how hard I try, I cannot be the strong one.

I will be strong again.  Stronger, maybe.

In the meantime, I will be honest.

And that is good enough.

Today, I can only cry (and cry and cry).

Another day I will think and write about the gift of loving this little one.

And that is good enough.

Today, I cannot pray with words.

I have rallied the troops, the ones who have words when I do not.

They have whispered those words into my ears, written them down for me to read later, and spoken them in secret to the One who hears.

And that is good enough.

Today, I cannot bear to hold your baby (sorry!) or fawn over the picture of your swollen belly (sorry!) or even “like” your clever online pregnancy announcement (sorry!).

I will be happy for you.  One day soon, I will hold and fawn and like.  I will.

And that is good enough.

Today, I stomp my feet and shout that I am done.

Done with the uncertainty.  Done with the heartache.

Done with this whole business of mothering into another mama’s arms.

(D-O-N-E! Do you hear me?)

I know that this may well be true.  Or it might not.

And that is good enough.

Today, I am hurting and hopeful.

I am broken and held.

I know that I have loved well.  I know that I am loved well.

And, today, friends, that is good enough.

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15 thoughts on “So, how are you really doing?

  1. ruthie050573

    Oh Shannon, praying for you. I had chills and tears reading your raw honesty. Fostering is hard. Such an unusual calling – it is a love/hate relationship for me. Only by His grace. I love you and don’t even know you. Your heart is beautiful.

  2. Kelly

    Beautiful…..I know exactly how it feels. I have said the same words… I am done. Like many, I wasn’t done. We are now on our way to adopting our little man, who we have had since he was a month old.

    That little baby is better because of you. You can never take that away.

  3. carrie

    OMG friend if I wasn’t hurting for you enough not I really am. Made me tear up and put into words exactly the way I feel sometimes. Sending Hugs 😉

  4. Cee Jay

    Thank you so much for sharing this. We have asked to have a baby for an emergency placement which will be a 6 weeks to 6 months placement and I have been asked how will I cope, and the answer is, I will cry my eyes out, but long term, how will I be? I don’t know. But reading this, I read the words that I think sound just like what I will go through.
    Our thoughts are with you.
    You have given baby an amazing gift, your love.
    Thank you for sharing this and giving me strength from knowing, that when that is me, I wont be alone, and you aren’t alone either.

    • Shannon

      You are not alone. Foster parenting is hard. Saying good-bye is hard. But giving a little one a safe place and a happy start in life is totally worth it. Praying for you now.

  5. Erin W.

    Yes. Yes. Yes. June 18, 2014 rocked my world. I had him for 11 months and 3 days (but who’s counting, right?). My life came crashing down around me. Things I thought were solid in my faith came crashing down as well. I had a solid week of nights that I thought would be the end of me. So many tears and so much desperation that I thought I couldn’t bear it anymore. I was scared because I couldn’t see how I could ever possibly feel better again… Ever. But I do. I still have my moments. I see things or hear things, or even look back at his empty car seat and the grief crashes down afresh, like the crest of a wave. But I no longe get pulled under as the wave crashes down.

    • Shannon

      Oh, Erin, I hear you. You are not alone. I know it doesn’t fix anything, but all this mess means that we have loved well. Praying for you and this precious little one now…

  6. Cee Jay

    Reblogged this on Foster Care Tales and commented:
    I have been asked Can I say goodbye, and I’ve been wondering if I can. This post from “A little bit of Everything” touched me and lets me know, when I have to say goodbye and cry and cry, I wont be alone. It’s a touching post. Please read.

  7. AdoptiveNYMomma

    It is hard especially when you have them for so long. I get your done I have said it many times over my last nine years of fostering but somehow we come to get through it. Give yourself space and time to grieve. I am sorry it hurts so much.

  8. Cath

    It is a thankless job just like parenthood. You will always be the last important thing in the eyes of CAS in a supposive partnership. But even after all of that….even after all the pain….trust me, once the healing starts, you can look back on the pictures and moments together with the lucky little soul and not only smile but feel good about what you accomplished to help them out. Even if they will never know it. The fact remains that without us, there would be no hope for these children. None. So being done is okay or trying again is okay too. But hold on to the memories because those can never be taken away and neither will the fact that foster (to adopt) parents give a human being a chance for a better life.

  9. greenhouse04

    Wow, I LOVE this!! SO true. Thank you for your honesty. I especially love the line “mothering into another mama’s arms.” And for the underlying message that it’s ok to grieve for these little ones… I’m learning that the sorrow and pain and fear are not things to run from, but to embrace as tools to make me into a better person and strengthen my faith in God. Thanks again.

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