One of my favorite titles is “BB”.
I get the privilege of being an Aunt to 6 kiddos, currently.
I say currently, because my sister and brother-in-law are in the process of Fostering to Adopt. At first, when this whole process started, I really didn’t understand how we, as the extended family, would be a part of all of it. My heart didn’t understand it most of all. We have watched our friends both near and far adopt and it made sense for them, but when it came into our world directly, I didn’t know if I knew my purpose or my role. Then it happened, the first call to them and my heart began to change in that instant. To be real honest, I was more nervous than anything. Would I be able to treat them like family from the beginning knowing we really had no clue what the end result would be? What if I stayed guarded and missed out on what my real purpose was in the whole thing? Even bigger, what if they changed me?
It’s funny how this life works. It’s funny how love works. Like I said before, I was very nervous about meeting the first little “foster love”. The very first time I met him, my brain wasn’t sure how to do this whole thing, but my heart knew exactly what to do. My heart knew that I was more than “just the aunt”. I was part of the big picture. I was part of the puzzle of love and bridging the gap for this little guy. I decided in that first moment, that I would and could love without any boundaries because (just as our day to day truly is with those we love) we didn’t and don’t know how long we have with these children that are placed in our care. It didn’t matter to me that my sister and brother-in-law were the foster parents. What mattered, is that I felt called to be a big part of the love and nurturing as the extended family.
The hard parts….
Foster Care comes with a price. A price that was hard to pay the first time we saw a set of children we had grown to love as our own, leave. But the beautiful thing about Foster Care is that returning home is the goal. Reconciliation to a healthy home is always the goal. I know that this isn’t always the case. And it’s hard to think about those situations, but our goal and our prayer is that we can be the bridge when it’s necessary and the final goal when it needs to happen.
In the past year, I’ve heard people say to my sister and brother-in-law that “they just couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t let them leave.”. I thought the same thing. However, now that we’ve seen it happen and had to endure saying goodbye…more than once, I’ve come to realize that it was never about me or my feelings. It was never about the foster parents. As you get to know and love these kids, you begin to understand why people do it. I’m grateful that I get to be THE AUNT to these kids that are coming into their home. And I’m grateful that they challenge us to think about what role we can play in these lives. I’ve been forever changed by 5 kids in the last year and I’ve seen reconciliation and some amazing eternal things happen in the lives of the moms.