Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I’ll never forget when we first met. You had just been removed from your mother and separated from your siblings. I was surprised to see you seemed fairly unphased, but in reality, your 5-year-old mind hadn’t fully grasped what had just happened. 

The first few days with you went smoothly. I was shocked at how well you seemed to fit in. You were great with my infant daughter and enjoyed the pets in the house. You almost acted as if it was a vacation, and you would shortly return home. This is what they call the honeymoon phase.

RELATED: If You Give a Foster Family a Chicken Dinner

Then, a few weeks went by, and the trauma you had experienced prior to and during removal started to rear its ugly head. You acted out in every way possible, and who could blame you? You were dealt a terrible hand and you were angry at the world. In your mind, I was directly responsible for keeping you from your family. How were you supposed to understand that I and my husband were only trying to help? You had been taken from the only chaos you had ever known and thrown into this strangely quiet and clean environment. There were new rules and new routines, a new school and a new town. Nothing was the same, and girl, you were confused.

As first-time foster parents, and recently new parents period, we quickly realized we were not prepared to help you through your trauma and hurt.

We hung in there for as long as we could, but when things only seemed to be getting worse after several weeks, we made the hardest decision—to ask for your removal from our home. Our family had to come first. And we hated ourselves for that. 

Even though we had zero control as to where you would go after leaving our home, all we could do was hope and pray that the next family would be able to do what we couldn’t—hang in there through the healing process. 

RELATED: The Children in Our Hearts: A Foster Care Story

When I got the call that it was time for you to go, I began packing your things. We only had a couple of hours notice to try and explain what was happening. How do you tell a little girl who has already lost so much, that she would now be moving on again? My heart was broken. I prayed that you would forgive us and not feel rejection. You had such a sweet side, much of your behavior wasn’t even your own fault. 

As you walked out that door, I gave you a hug, told you to be a good girl, and I kept a brave face. But honey, the moment you turned your back to head to the caseworker’s car, I melted into a puddle of tears. And after you left, I cried. And cried. And cried.

I had failed you. Like so many others in your life. 

I tried to keep track of where you had gone. I broke the rules and sent my phone number in your things in case your new family had any questions. Much to my surprise, I got a message from your new foster mom the very same day you left. I was relieved to know where you were and that your new caregiver cared enough to inquire if you liked to sleep with a nightlight. I even got to talk to you on the phone a few times, it was painful and healing for us both all at the same time.

And then, you left that home. And you were placed into a facility. And then that facility was shut down. I have not talked to you since you left that second foster home, and I have no idea where you ended up. I blame myself, I could have avoided all of that by allowing you to stay in my home. 

RELATED: Dear Foster Families, Your Love Matters

Now, my daughter is almost two, and I’ve since had another daughter. We also fostered a baby for a short time after you left. I feel like I have more experience with parenting now, I’m a better mom. I only wish I would have had that experience when you were with us. I pray you are doing well, that you feel loved and accepted wherever you may be.

And I just want you to know that I cared. I still do. I still think about you. You are loved, you are valued. Never forget that. 

Your foster mom 

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 now!

Order Now

Kamrie Smith

Kamrie is a rancher’s wife, a mom of two girls, and an EMT. In her free time she enjoys horseback rides in the Montana mountains, coffee walks with friends, playing with her girls, and jotting down thoughts to share with others.

There’s Still Magic in These Tween Years

In: Motherhood, Tween
Tween girl walking into ocean waves

The water shimmers atop the electric-blue pool. The clock blinks 94 degrees. It is July 10th weather showing off. A friend asked me to watch her son. He is nine, like my son, and the two of them get along—swimmingly. They throw towels askew and fast-step-crash into the water, goggles on, challenging each other to do this and that. Nine-year-old boys, so alive. My 11-year-old daughter and I stand and squint, placing towels neatly on our beach chairs.  She looks from face to face, like assembly line quality control. A friend—her eyes ask . . . now plead—any friend.  I...

Keep Reading

Sharing Our Grief Frees Our Hearts

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two women holding hands over a hospital bed, color photo

Almost 18 years ago, we lost our first child. It was unexpected. It was public. It was traumatic. It was a moment in time that even to this day, burns with a scorching flame, running like a reel in my memory and igniting a pain deeper than anything I’ve ever known into the empty corners of my heart. And while time has marched on in beautiful ways—healthy children who I get to watch grow up, an incredible marriage with the love of my life, a gratitude for all the milestones each year brings—I still can’t help but hold space for the...

Keep Reading

God Had Different Plans

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of family swinging child between two parents

As I sip my twice-reheated coffee holding one baby and watching another run laps around the messy living room, I catch bits and pieces of the Good Morning America news broadcast. My mind drifts off for a second to the dreams I once had of being the one on the screen. Live from New York City with hair and makeup fixed before 6 a.m. I really believed that would be me. I just knew I’d be the one telling the mama with unwashed hair and tired eyes about the world events that happened overnight while she rocked babies and pumped milk....

Keep Reading

My Baby Had Laryngomalacia

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding baby on her shoulder

Life’s funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got the whole motherhood thing figured out, the universe throws a curveball. And, oh boy, did it throw me one with my second baby. There I was, feeling like a seasoned mom with my firstborn—a healthy, vivacious toddler who was 16 months old. Our breastfeeding journey had its hiccups, an early tongue-tie diagnosis that did little to deter our bond. Fourteen months of nurturing, nighttime cuddles, and feeling powerful, like my body was doing exactly what it was meant to do. Enter my second baby. A fresh chapter, a new story....

Keep Reading

Please Stop Comparing Kids

In: Motherhood
Mom and kids in sunlight

Let me begin with this important message: Please refrain from comparing children, especially when it pertains to their growth and development. If you happen to notice differences in a child’s height, weight, or appetite compared to another, that’s perfectly fine. Your observations are appreciated. However, I kindly request that you avoid openly discussing these comparisons as such conversations can inadvertently distress a parent who may already be grappling with concerns about their child’s growth trajectory. Trust me, I say this from personal experience. Recently, at a dinner gathering, a couple casually remarked that someone’s 1-year-old child appeared larger both in...

Keep Reading

This Will Not Last Forever

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman looking at sunset

“This will not last forever,” I wrote those words on the unfinished walls above my daughter’s changing table. For some reason, it got very tiring to change her diapers. Nearly three years later, the words are still there though the changing table no longer is under them. While my house is still unfinished so I occasionally see those words, that stage of changing diapers for her has moved on. She did grow up, and I got a break. Now I do it for her baby brother. I have been reminding myself of the seasons of life again. Everything comes and...

Keep Reading

She is an Anonymom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother standing at sink holding a baby on her hip

She stands alone in the church kitchen, frantically scrubbing pots and pans while the grieving huddle around the fellowship hall, and she slips out the back door before anyone comes in. She is an anonymom. She gets out of her car and picks up the trash thrown into the ditch alongside the country road. She is an anonymom. She sits on the park bench, watching her children play. In the meantime, she continually scans the whole playground, keeping track of everyone’s littles, because that is what moms do. She is an anonymom. RELATED: Can We Restore “the Village” Our Parents...

Keep Reading

You Made Me Love Christmas

In: Motherhood
Family in pajamas near Christmas tree, color photo

Hi kids, this is a thank you note of sorts . . . I’m about to tell you something strange. Something you may not “get” yet, but I hope you do eventually. I used to dread Christmas. I know, isn’t that weird? Most kids and a lot of adults have countdowns and decorations and music, but I had a countdown in my mind of when it would be over. To me, it wasn’t a happy time. From the age of about eight (right about where you all are now) Christmas, for me, became like a job of sorts. Long before...

Keep Reading

I Come Alive at Christmas

In: Motherhood
Kitchen decorated for Christmas

It’s time again. Time for the lights and the trees and candy canes and tiny porcelain village homes. It’s time to shake off all that this year has thrown at me and come alive again. My favorite time of year is here and it’s time to make some magic. My mom started the magic of Christmas for me when I was little, and I was infatuated with the joy that it brought to so many people. Loved ones come together and everything sparkles and people who don’t normally come to church are willing to join us in the pews. Everything...

Keep Reading

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading