When my husband and I began our pursuit of building a family, we considered several avenues of adoption and ultimately decided to start the process of becoming approved as foster parents. Our hope was to eventually adopt children that we fostered, if we were legally able to.

When we got our first placement of a newborn baby boy, we were completely enamored by him and, to be honest, we already started to wonder and hope for adoption. However, during our foster care journey there were several “aha” moments that changed our mindset about foster parenting and set a new understanding of the path to adoption.

  1. The first time I met our oldest son’s birth mother, she looked at me and said, “Ah, so that’s what you look like” was my first “aha” moment. She went on to tell me that she was worried her son was placed in an overcrowded foster home where his needs were not being met. Seeing me in person, talking with her about him and giving her a picture book of him that I made set the root for a comfortable relationship.

  1. During our visits with his birth mother, I watched as she loved the little boy we absolutely loved. I listened as she talked to him, comforted him and just grinned from ear-to-ear when she was with him. It was during these times that I realized this whole process was not about us and was never meant to be.  (By the way, my husband also helped with visits and realized the same thing.)

  1. The moment when we embraced that our little guy had a whole other family that loved him just as much as we did was a big “aha” moment. This was the reality and to ignore it would have been a huge mistake. If we failed to acknowledge this, we would have been doing ourselves and his biological family a huge disservice.

  1. The painful and heartbreaking times of not knowing what was going to happen ended up being the most riveting and faith-building moments of our foster parenting journey. This was a big pill to swallow. While we knew what we signed up for, we completely underestimated the hardship of it. The times of complete despair with the unknowns became, in a strange way, our reason to dig in a little more, rely on prayer and choose love over bitterness.

After nearly two years of fostering our oldest son, we adopted him. We went on to foster and adopt a girl, and a few years down the road, adopted a relative of mine. Even though foster parenting was a tough road and we built our family through it, my husband and I both recognized the incredible role we were given as foster parents. We gained so much through the experience and would do it all over again, even the hard days.

There were many “AHA” moments that changed not only our path to adoption, but also our hearts towards it. We consider ourselves beyond blessed for knowing and loving the biological mothers, for being humbled by the process and for recognizing that kindness and showing love to others is never regrettable.