August 3, 2014 by greenhouse04
There have been foster children whom I have decided not to take care of, the “no’s.” We’ve said “no” more often than we’ve said “yes.”
One of the first was a newborn baby boy whose mother had abandoned him in the hospital. She came back a few days later to plead with the judge for a second chance.
Then there was the very young brother and sister whose parents were somehow living in Africa (that one still confuses me), and the one-year-old boy whose mother was expecting another baby who would also need a foster home.
A couple of years later, after two “yes’s” and two adoptions, another “yes” and a disruption, I said no to a 3-month-old boy whose mother had mental disabilities. I was soon to leave on a two-week trip to China, and I didn’t feel right leaving Mr. with another child.
When I returned from China, I said no to two baby girls at the same time: a 6-month-old and a 3-week-old. The littlest had been in the hospital since birth without one visit from her parents. That was a difficult “no” to say, but I was going in for major surgery in a few weeks, so the timing was just not right.
Right before Baby M. we said no to a little boy who was older than Emma.
Then last Wednesday we said no to an almost 2-year-old girl. On Thursday we said no to a 2-day-old boy.
It’s not easy to hear about a child who needs you, to hear their heart-wrenching story of abuse or abandonment, and to decide not to give the child a home. I’ve never regretted saying “no” – you have to know your limitations if you don’t want to drown as a foster parent (and a drowned foster parent can’t help any child!) – but I’ve also never forgotten. Sometimes I wonder what has happened to those children: do they have a loving home? Are they with their birth parents, or have they been adopted? What would have happened if I’d said yes?
Then I look at my two amazing children and our foster son, and I wonder what would have happened if I had said no to them! Would they be with people who love them as their own? Would they be happy? Would I have adopted different children?
It’s crazy sometimes in foster care, because each child who comes into your family was initially a choice. You get a phone call, and you have to say yes or no. It would be so easy to drive yourself insane with the “what-if’s,” the “I-wonder’s,” and the “if-only’s.” But I believe that God directed each decision we’ve made.
I’ll never forget the children to whom I said no. But at the same time I won’t let questions about them swirl in my mind; I’ll always be so extremely grateful for the children to whom I said yes.