Guest Blogger: Foster Mama Reflects on the First Hello and Goodbye

In May of 2016, our family made a decision to change our lives forever. We decided to join a system I'd been part of as a baby over 42 years ago. We believed God called us to grow our family one little life at a time through foster care.

We were licensed in September, and then by October we were picking up the 2 week old baby boy we'd been praying for. For 18 1/2 months we helped him grow and learn. For 81 weeks, we watched as he explored this awesome world. For 567 days, we taught him what a safe, stable and loving family/home is like. Now, this baby boy lives with his forever family, a family we love, who will give him a lifetime of chances and opportunities.

Is foster care difficult? ABSOLUTELY! God never said following Him would be easy. It's hard to see his empty bed and it's quiet without his footsteps. But, it's incredible to see how God protected him from harm, used us to care for him for a season, and then provided him a family that will be there to meet all his needs and support him forever.

As hard as our first case has been at times, and now in the letting go, it's even more amazing. Seeing God move in our family and friends through this little boy is a wonderful sight. Our church has blessed us with many prayers, and sometimes, just because; cases of wipes. Our friends and family loved and supported us/him the entire time and helped us love him like he was born to us. It is our best friend's family that is adopting him.

We have a strong village of other foster families who lend an ear and share their shoulder to cry on when we need it. We have a support group of knowledgeable other foster parents and community leaders to help us navigate the system that sometimes seems really broken. We felt an entire community who donated clothes, diapers, meals, baby sat for date nights, and so much more.

Now that we've been through our first placement and our first goodbye, we ask ourselves and our two teenage children....Do we do this again? Do we open our home to another little one? Do we open our hearts to so many emotions? Do we say goodbye again? The answer without hesitation is YES!!

Oconee County Foster Mama

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Abby Crooks