You create your precious bundle of joy while I try to recreate a lost childhood, because I am a foster parent.
You have baby showers and well-wishes while you create the perfect nursery. I wonder how to help them cope with another new bedroom, because I am a foster parent.
You gaze into their eyes for the first time and feel an amazing rush of eternal love and devotion; I gaze desperately into their eyes searching for a remnant of a soul that has already weathered a terrible storm, because I am a foster parent.
You mold them and guide them day by day, forming their little personalities into the amazing person that you know they will be. I pick up the pieces of a tattered being so broken that they are little more than a wild thing, because I am a foster parent.
You approach every milestone with gusto knowing that your child is the smartest child to ever walk this earth; I watch each milestone pass by hoping that they will soon catch up, because I am a foster parent.
You pray every night that the Lord will keep them safe from any harm; I pray every night that the courts don’t return them to the living hell that they have already endured, because I am a foster parent.
You teach them right from wrong by leading by example and providing endless love; I erase years of fear and teach them that love doesn’t hurt, because I am a foster parent.
You hold your child in your arms as they drift peacefully off to sleep. I hold my child in my arms while they withdraw from whatever substance they were addicted to before they were born, because I am a foster parent.
You pick up toys and wipe up spills while your child looks at you sheepishly and whispers “I’m sorry.” I pick up a child from the fetal position on the floor– so fearful from spilling their milk that they are shaking and silent, because I am a foster parent.
You drop your child off for play dates and birthday parties; I drop my child off for play therapy and family visits, because I am a foster parent.
You explain that he looks like your side of the family; I explain that if they smile they look like an angel.
You say “when.” I say “if,” because I am a foster parent.
You attend dance recitals and football games, cheering at the top of your lungs, shouting “That’s my kid out there!” I attend court dates and meetings, praying that I don’t hear “reunification” or “6-month extension,” whispering “Please, will somebody listen to me?” because I am a foster parent.
You celebrate each holiday trying to top the last; I celebrate each holiday not knowing if it’s their first and hoping it’s not their last, because I am a foster parent.
You tuck in your little ones wishing them sweet dreams, assuring that there are no monsters under the bed; I pray that they will sleep tonight, knowing that they’ve already seen monsters and they weren’t under the bed, because I am a foster parent.
You look to their futures and you see college and endless opportunity; I look to their future and see a cycle that needs to be broken before any more damage is done, because I am a foster parent.
You see yourself growing old with your child by your side. I wonder if they will be taken away before they know just how much I love them, because I am a foster parent.
You smile and wave as your child grins out of the window while they travel off to summer camp for the week, wondering how you’ll sleep not knowing how they are. I smile and wave, choking back the tears as their faces are pressed against the window of the county car, wondering how I’ll live not knowing where they are, because I am a foster parent.
You talk with your spouse about if you want another child, not knowing if you have enough love for more than one perfect angel in your life. I answer the phone when the social worker calls and without hesitation, say yes when they ask if I can help another angel with broken wings, because I am a foster parent!