My husband and I have recently shared the news that we are in the process of becoming foster parents. I was as excited to celebrate this news with family and friends as I was to celebrate the pregnancies of our two babies. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have been shown. So many of our people have reached out to offer words of wisdom and kindness as we prepare for this beautiful and heartbreaking journey ahead of us.
But I was upset by a comment I received the other day over the phone.
“Just watch out for those older ones, they’re nothing but trouble. You have your own babies to look out for!” she said.
The line was silent. “Did she really just say that?” I thought. I quickly ended our conversation and sat in my living room, devastated by her words. I know in my heart her intentions were good but what she didn’t know was that I used to be one of the “older ones.”
My biological mother has been a drug addict and alcoholic since before she brought me into this world. Though I have many physical scars from this woman, the scars on my heart have made the healing process the most difficult. I spent the days of my prepubescent life cowering as my mother would strike me time after time, using objects if her fists could not do a sufficient job. My nights were spent sobbing and hopeless under the suffocating weight of the men my mother brought home.
When I was old enough to be a teenager, I felt used up. I had been beaten, broken, and ransacked. Then one day a family stepped up, and took a chance. I wasn’t in their plan, but they believed in me anyway. These people, nearly strangers had hope in me. They didn’t see my brokenness as something bad, they saw it as something to love and nurture, something to restore and hope for!
They saw innocence where I only saw disgust. They saw light where I only saw heartache. They saw ME when I couldn’t. I was one of the “older ones” and they believed in me anyway.
They took me into their home at age fourteen and they held my soul in their arms and rocked me to sleep in their hearts. These people showed incredible courage and incredible strength but more than anything they showed up. It was not a smooth transition for my new family and me, we all suffered at the hands of change. But by the grace of God these individuals never caved, never faltered and never once did I question my place in their home and hearts after fourteen years of searching for them. My forever family.
So please, any of you out there with foster or adoption weighing heavy on your hearts, please remember us “older ones.” We are not just trouble. We have so much love left to give and so much love left to receive.