Guest post from Larissa Green, a foster, adoptive, and homeschool mom living in rural Kansas.
When I first became a foster mom I had a dream. In my dream I was holding and cuddling and loving a darling baby, feeling so proud to finally be a mother. But I soon realized something was wrong – this baby wasn’t real. It was a doll. In my dream I continued to caress the lifeless form, but my heart sank with disappointment and shame.
I woke the next morning with the dream still vivid in my mind. And I knew exactly where it came from.
Being a foster parent is hard. Being a foster parent while at the same time hoping a praying for your own child – either biological or adopted – is really hard. Perhaps idiotic. You have to deal your own hopes for a child, your love for the children you are currently parenting, your desire for their best, the inconvenient dreams of adopting them, and the reality that you probably won’t.
My husband David and I went into foster care with the hope of one day adopting a foster child. We cared for Caleb and Elisa for 6 months, and then they went home. Then we cared for Danny, and it looked like he would go home, too. We’ve also cared for Emily, Mari, and Mason. I love being a parent, but as a foster parent there’s always the knowledge that one day it might end. They go to their real home. They return to their real mommy.
As a foster mom, I did not feel like a real mommy. They were not my real children. I was just pretending, playing with dolls.
It was disappointing, painful, and yes, shameful. I wanted real children. I wanted to be someone’s real mommy.
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But then, a few nights after my dream, I had an epiphany. It didn’t come with flashes of light, or after a long, emotional time of contemplation and prayer. It just came to me as I lay in bed thinking.
I’m a unique kind of mom.
I am a real mom, and I’m more than that. I’m a mom who stands in the gap for kids. A mom who gives them a home and a mother during a time when they’re without both. It’s easy for many women to become a mom, but there aren’t many foster moms. We’re a rare and special brand of mom.
Putting words to this epiphany makes me smirk through my tears. It sounds awfully arrogant! But this realization gives me purpose and energy. I am proud to be a foster mom.
The only dreams I have now are of my two real children whom we adopted from foster care. And for the foster babies we’ll never adopt, I am proud to be the real mom they need right now – their foster mom.
Larissa Green is a foster, adoptive, and homeschool mom living in rural Kansas. She and her husband, David, have fostered six children since 2010 and adopted Danny and Emily from foster care in 2012. She writes about her foster and adoptive journey at houseofgreen.wordpress.com