Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

Our first fostering experience was a baptism by fire into the world of child welfare. It was a NICU infant. It was an ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) case. The family had a lengthy history with the court system. There was a case plan and paperwork and visitation and court dates and that was all just in the first few weeks of our life adjusting to a preemie in the house. While we had had a hand in parenting lots of boys through our group home work and the adoption of our first child, we had never had an infant. There was a lot to learn, but in all of that, one thing became very clear to me.

This child was wanted.

I wanted to be his mom for today, for tomorrow, for as long as he needed me. He had a biological mother who wanted him. She was going to do what she could to convince the state she could parent him. He was wanted by the parents of his biological siblings and by his biological grandparents. Each of us had our role to play in his story and we knew the ending would mean only one of us could be his family, but there was no lack of “wanting” involved in his life.

I remember my first visit to the pediatrician with this five pound bundle in my arms. I was exceptionally proud of this little guy and absolutely in love with him. His future was very uncertain, but how much we cared for him was an established fact. The woman next to me in the pediatrician’s newborn waiting area leaned over to look at my swaddled baby (who I obviously didn’t birth) and began to ask what I would later find are the typical questions. This was my first time answering them and I wasn’t quite prepared for her response when she found out he was a foster child. She looked at the beautiful baby in my arms and said, “Oh! A foster child? That’s great! I have a friend who wants to have a baby, but it’s been taking awhile. I bet she’d take this one since nobody wants him.” To this day I have no idea what I said to her after that. My mind was spinning. What could I have possibly said to indicate that nobody wanted him? It was the furthest thing from the truth. I knew I would never say he wasn’t wanted, but the label FOSTER CHILD communicated more than my obvious love and care for him could.

While nobody since that day nearly 6 years ago has been quite that blunt about it, it is still a sentiment I hear expressed when people find out the child they’re interacting with is a foster kid. Maybe they say, “I can’t believe her mom didn’t want her” or “There are so many kids out there that don’t have anybody to love them” or “You guys are angels for taking this on” or any number of things that sound kind of nice on the surface, but imply that these children are alone in the world and not worthy of the kind of love we’d give to our biological kids.

I can understand why we may even want to think those things. Surely a woman who desperately wants her child wouldn’t be separated from her? How could a foster parent really want this child knowing the likelihood of having to give him back? But those sentiments have never been true of the parents we’ve worked with, the community of foster parents we’re invested in, or the children in our home. These children have been wanted by a large circle of people around them.

There are many things we want in life that we can’t make happen. There are major obstacles to parents trying to reunite with their children. As much as they may want it to happen and may want to be the parent their child needs, it takes time. And when reunification can’t happen a foster child may have a lengthy wait for permanency, but many times they are adopted by the same loving foster parents who have cared for them from the day they left their biological family. While each of my children adopted from foster care may have had a moment in time where no one person had parental rights to them and they were technically an orphaned ward of the state, that was never a moment they consciously knew about. All they knew was being loved and wanted until we were able to make them legally a permanent member of our family.

The foster children that have been in my home are not public property. Their stories do not belong to the taxpayers because they pay for their care. They are not in a legal free fall with no one watching out for them. When the random lady in the grocery store told me she thought the child strapped to my chest should have been aborted to save the state some money, she was not talking about some theoretical idea. She was talking about the child I loved and cared for and desperately wanted.

As long as the picture in society of these children remains one of the neglected, maladjusted, unwanted, drain on society, foster children will continue to struggle for acceptance. When we understand that these kids are wanted, watched over, fought for, and loved, then maybe it will be easier for us to value their lives and their best interests.

Are there children who don’t seem to be wanted? Who truly are alone? Yes. This is why we need more educated, committed, and passionate advocates for children either through foster parenting, adopting a waiting child, becoming a CASA, or serving them in whatever ways you are gifted.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, please contact Christian Heritage.

[adrotate banner=”84″]

[adrotate banner=”82″]

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at www.amusingmaralee.com.

3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child

In: Adoption
3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child www.herviewfromhome.com

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. Remember that old nursery rhyme? I can still hear it playing in my head. Growing up, I had always assumed that would be my story. The love and marriage part certainly happened for me in an amazing, storybook ending kind of way. However, the baby in the baby carriage didn’t come as quickly for my husband and me. As a few years passed, we began to feel a little restless and disheartened. However, God opened up His perfect plan for our family by leading us to...

Keep Reading

I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I Didn’t Let Go

In: Adoption
I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I didn't Let Go www.herviewfromhome.com

  I am often asked, when people find out I am a birth mother, “Why did you decide on adoption? Didn’t you want her?” In the tidy nutshell version of my response it was the logistical factors of being pregnant at just 16-years-old that was my why. Being a junior in high school when I saw those two pink lines in October of 2004, I still needed to graduate, plus I wanted to attend college. I did not have a job to support us. In fact, I did not have my driver’s license or even the few dollars it took...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing

In: Adoption, Child Loss, Miscarriage, Motherhood
Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing www.herviewfromhome.com

To the one with healthy children in your lap, YOU are a great mom. Whether you work full-time or stay at home, you are amazing and deserve to be celebrated every day, but especially today. You sacrificed your body and your own well-being over and over again and I know you don’t regret any of it. You are enough and you are appreciated even when you don’t feel it. To the one holding a child someone else carried inside of her body, YOU are a great mom. Whether you faced infertility, surrogacy, chose to adopt, or have biological and adopted children,...

Keep Reading

4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know

In: Adoption, Journal
4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know www.herviewfromhome.com

The minutes on the hospital clock dwindled as I swaddled my infant daughter one last time before she was permanently placed in the arms of her adoptive family. In those final moments, I thought my heart might shatter into a thousand slivers without any hope of being mended. I was broken. Scarred. Devastated. When I left the hospital without my baby, it felt like someone was pounding on my chest with both fists and I couldn’t catch my breath. The emptiness that followed was inconceivable. A piece of me, my daughter, was gone. I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of my...

Keep Reading

No Matter Life’s Season, God Provides What We Need

In: Adoption, Faith
No Matter Life's Season, God Provides What We Need www.herviewfromhome.com

When my husband and I adopted our older daughter Lilly 15 years ago, she was nine-months-old and weighed about 17 pounds. That might not seem like much, but she was a chunk of a little girl—so much so that people we met in elevators and restaurants in China often mistook her for a two-year-old. I had worked on my cardiovascular fitness in the months leading up to our adoption trip, and my regular runs on the treadmill prepared me to traverse the Great Wall with relative ease. My upper body strength, however, was a different story entirely. My arms and...

Keep Reading

Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption

In: Adoption
Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption www.herviewfromhome.com

  “Don’t do it! Adoption is the worst!” His voice echoed through my entire body, his words hitting every unprepared bone, and I clutched the full glass of ice water ready to plunge it in his direction. There were hundreds of people in the darkened bar room, on dates mostly, sitting in the crowd enjoying the comedy show. My insides twisted and lurched, I heard nothing but the reverberations of laughter, and my mind kept envisioning myself walking over to him and punching his face in. When the comedian began working adoption into her show, my body began tingling and...

Keep Reading

Adoption Is Love

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Is Love www.herviewfromhome.com

  I pull around in the car line and scan the group of kids for my daughter. Usually, I can find her easily, chatting it up with her friends as she waits for me to pick her up from school. Today, though, I don’t see her. I look again and I finally spot her. She is slumped on the curb, her head in her hands and her eyes downcast. My momma radar instantly goes off as I watch her slowly get up and drag her feet to the car and I can tell that something is wrong. She slides into...

Keep Reading

The Ache While We Wait to Adopt

In: Adoption, Faith
The Ache While We Wait to Adopt www.herviewfromhome.com

  There’s a persistent ache, but sometimes I can ignore it. I can turn up the volume of what’s around me and drown it out for a bit. I play hostess and invite the noise to come in: come fill up my heart, come fill up this empty nursery, come fill up this planner. I’ve got two kids, and they are experts at noise, so my days are full of it, and it works. The noise narcotizes the ache, making it manageable, day by noisy day.  In my former life as a teacher, I used to make my students write...

Keep Reading

How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father

In: Adoption, Journal
How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father www.herviewfromhome.com

My husband’s earliest memories of his adoptive mother are as blurry as the black and white photos he has taped inside a leather-bound family album. He recalls the gentle hands that tucked him into bed each night and the smell of her lavender scented soap, but these memories are intertwined with the last and most painful of all: sitting on the cold hospital steps, muffled whispers in the hallway, and the tight grip of his adoptive father’s hand as they made their way back to the car without his mother. Death was an abstract concept that he was unable to...

Keep Reading

Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama www.herviewfromhome.com

I remember etching our family plans into a napkin at our two-year anniversary dinner. We were eating at Rio in Sisters, Oregon and I couldn’t wait to get back to the little cabin we had rented to watch Harry Potter and dream about babies. Weird combo? Probably. First we would conceive and carry a miracle baby in my actual womb. Then after a bit of time had passed, after we got “the easy one” birthed, we would enter into the adoption world. I think back to my barely 20-year-old self and think about how naive she was—I still only have...

Keep Reading