My husband and I have done foster care, we have adopted, and we have adopted from foster care. For the most part, we've done it all.
I certainly can't speak for anyone else, because I know we are all different, but here is what I have found:
When I foster, I can love deeply. But not fiercely.
There is a part of my heart that cannot go there. From the outside, the love might look the same, I will take care of that child, I will meet their needs, comfort them and rock them to sleep. I will advocate for them and love them to the best of my ability.
But I cannot love them fiercely.
I always use to wonder if that was to protect my own heart.
Now I think otherwise.
When I started adopting and making kids my own, I found that I could love them deeply, fiercely, and like it was nobodies business. In an instant.
The love came fast and furiously. It overwhelmed me at times and I was filled with an immediate FIGHT for that child: because they were mine.
I have had foster children that for brief moments I thought we would be able to adopt. I felt the switch flip and that ferocity came over me. However, the moment that I was told it wouldn't happen, the flip switched back again.
I kept on loving them, I continued taking care of them to the best of my ability, I even grieved when they left, but that fierceness was gone. I never could explain it at the time.
There are people in this world who were meant to foster.
There are people in this world who were meant to adopt.
I think they can overlap, and it certainly has for us. But I am starting to understand that in my heart God saves that fierce love for those that are meant to be mine. I think this is so I can tell my children, and know in my heart without a shadow of a doubt, they belong with me.
I have birthed two babies and adopted one from the womb, those babies got all of that fierce love in an instant. No questions asked, they were mine. And I love that for my kids who have come into my life much older, I can promise them I have that exact same love for them. It's like God saves it up and only unleashes it when it's the right time, and the right kid. The ones that I get to keep forever.
And I am pretty cool with that.
Rachel is a 32 year old mom with 6 kids married to the best man she knows, Joey. Her kids are 2,4,7,16,20, and 21. God keeps bringing them teens and asking them to adopt them. Like crazy people, they keep saying yes. What could seem like the worst possible age to adopt in the world, has become God's beautiful redemption story playing out right before their very eyes. And it is good.