In honour of the brave, maternal, life-giving souls everywhere. But especially in honour of my mom and sisters who say goodbye to their precious baby boy today.
Foster Mama, I See You
You, with the sweet baby boy who is yours for now but will never be yours for good.
You, with the heart oozing out fierce love and protective instincts for this precious little human.
You, with your camera roll full of evidence of just how cute and smart and funny He is.
You, with the pride showing on your face because He is definitely the smartest baby in the whole world.
You, with the tired eyes and sleep-deprived brain and weary body because caring for a baby on the verge of toddler-hood is hard.
You, with the mind full of questions and decisions and doubts because, like all mamas, you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.
You, with the heart moving to the rhythm of loving Him with abandon but with the next beat remembering that He will leave you.
You, with the frustratingly undignified, unrecognised, undefined title of foster mother, when you instinctively feel all the emotions and fulfil all the roles of mother. Period.
You, the bravest, most selfless woman I know.
Because this little boy’s mama-shaped space? It would have been empty.
He would have spent all this time with an empty mama-space. But you filled it. And for that you will pay a heavy cost. You exchanged his emptiness for yours.
Because now…now that He transitions from your arms to Hers, that little boy-shaped space in your heart will be emptied.
And you knew this would happen. You stepped onto this heroic, scary, unknown journey already facing the inevitable. That you would lose Him. And that it would hurt.
And you did it anyway.
And isn’t that what any good mama does? Takes the pain, shoulders the brunt, carries the burden, empties herself and fills the spaces for her little people?
And isn’t that what you’ve done?
You, my dear, are a mama in the purest sense of the word. You have taken this beautiful, fierce, powerful maternal force and lavished it on a child, embracing Him as your own.
You are a woman in the truest sense of the word. You have bridged the gap, linking arms with two other sisters, birth mama and forever mama, proclaiming, “I will uphold you both. I will do what you cannot yet do.”
Your motherhood, beautiful, soul, is the kind of motherhood that changes the world.
My parents and sisters’ home has been a place of safety for the past 5 years, and they have loved on and launched twelve the children into the arms of their forever families. This piece was written late one night, as I grieved with them over the difficult goodbyes they were saying to “their” little boy, whom they had loved for over a year.
Allison Van Der Walt
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