Every night, little bear & I have a routine. I feed her a purée mixture of fruit, veggies, & protein, give her a bath, lather on the sweetest smelling lotions & oils, pull on some jammies, follow with a bottle, & finish with rocking & singing her to sleep.
Last week, she was requiring a bit more singing than she typically does & I was running out of nursery rhymes I knew by heart. Naturally, the first song that popped in my head was Ain’t No Mountain High. She was snoring by the third verse. So, every night since then I’ve ended with the classic duet, reciting a promise to my perfect little bear.
Tonight during the second chorus, I broke down. Tears just started falling because I realized that the words I was singing might not be true. They might be true for a season, this current one. But there might come a day where a mountain might be too high. A valley too low. A river too wide. That day won’t be because I’m not fighting hard enough to weather difficult terrains, but because she might be reunified with her biological mom. And that’s the hope. That is the dream. That is why we became foster parents.
If foster care works how it’s intended, that is the best case scenario - that Ain’t No Mountain High becomes her biological mom’s anthem to our little bear & my voice starts to fade. Hopefully not forever, but it’s no longer the loudest. I well up occasionally when the reality of our situation floods into my heart once more. You see, me head knows all of this, but my heart typically does deep dives into emotional pools & forgets that the deep end can be exhausting & that sometimes it needs a float to stay above the water.
This is where I enter in the tension - the reality check that reminds me of this: one woman’s tragic loss is another’s most cherished moment. My heart alone cannot bear to think about the pain a parental rights termination could cause, yet it also breaks all of my insides thinking about not being her mom forever. But it's a loss I’m willing to take if it means that I get to be a small part in a story of redemption & love & grace. I can suffer for those things, because we are made for those things. (tweet) We are created to experience the beauty of them. God doesn't intend for us to live our lives without them, so I don't intend to keep them to myself. I will gladly share, and I will need tender hands to hold me after I do because “God only gives us things we can handle” is a load of crap. (tweet)
When our kids go back to their forever home, it’s a heck of a lot more than we can handle, but we have our people dragging us through to the light. They are the ones sharing their redemptive love & grace that we fall desperately into. And we have the reminder that our kids are losing too - if we have done our job correctly, these kids will experience loss with us. And we have Jesus, the One who sources all of the redemption, the love, the grace.
Throughout this journey, I’ve learned that while I cannot control how a single minute of my life is played out, I know the One who can. I’ve had this false sense of control. We all do. You see, none of us ever really have full control. We think we do. We put systems in place to ensure that we have the final say, especially when it comes to our kids, but we forget that these little ones were not and never will be ours first. They always begin with their Creator, & He never loses possession. They were His first, they are still His now, & they will always remain His. I wish I could say that brings all the comfort I need. Maybe it should, and maybe someday it will. But it doesn’t. However, it does provide enough to take another step toward the darkness & allow God to light the way just far enough ahead so that I can take just one more.
So little L bear, I promise I will climb to the peak of every insurmountable mountain, walk through the muck of every valley, & swim through the current of every raging river that I can to get to you.
But here’s a better, more faithful & unbreakable promise: God will do more - and not just more, but the most. And He will bat .1000 doing it.
Callan Sims is a foster parent living in Atlanta, loves mac & cheese, and is learning how to follow Jesus. Follow along with her journey here.