Apparently today is Bereaved Mother’s Day, which is a holiday I would never in a million years thought I would be a part of. But, after losing our boys, I’ve found that there is a whole world of holidays and memorials that I never knew about. From Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness week/day, National Infertility Awareness Week, days to recognize and remember stillbirth, miscarriage, infant and child loss, a whole myriad of days that I became painfully aware of as a loss momma.
I’ve also found a whole calendar-full of personal holidays and special days. One year ago today, we announced our first pregnancy, with Noah, to my parents. Then there’s April 26, May 13, May 20, May 25, September 6 and 9, November 10, January 7, January 12, and so many more- days that are of or for one of my sons, everything from first pregnancy tests to announcements and loss.
You’ll notice that May is maybe overrepresented here. We announced Noah’s arrival and experienced his loss all in May of last year, and Omie’s due date was in May of this year. Together with Bereaved Mother’s Day, traditional Mother’s Day, Jason’s graduation, and my graduation from law school, May is a whole month of hard or busy days for me and for Jason. One of my loss momma friends has a similar experience with this month, and is taking a break from all social media for May to give herself some distance from it all. I can’t say I blame her in the least.
But, I’ve recently discovered that May is also National Foster Care Month, and that is something big worth recognizing and talking about. I haven’t blogged a lot about this yet, because everything is in early stages of discussions and info sessions, but foster care has been weighing on my heart since we lost Omie.
Shortly after his birth and death, I was surrounded by loss mommas on all forms of social media. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, nobody supports you like a social media friend you’ve never met. As a bereaved parent, these women on Instagram and Facebook make up a large part of my tribe and provide constant sources of support and hope.
One of the first loss mommas I followed in those dark weeks was another Stephanie, coincidentally. She lost her daughter Blake to spinal muscular atrophy at only 11 months old, and she shares about her family’s life after loss in such an honest & open way that touches my heart. Stephanie is also a foster momma, and shares on that part of their life as well. She was my first introduction to the foster care world, something that I’ve never had experience with or even really thought about.
After connecting with her, following so many other loss/foster moms, and reading hours upon hours of information and blogs and all the must-knows, I felt a pull in my heart to foster. Jason and I have talked about it, prayed on it, and are continuing to have important discussions on the hows and the whens, but this is something we’re feeling called to do. It may not happen this month or this year, but we are going to go to the information sessions and check out some training, seek out ministry groups focused on foster care and adoption, start the process, and see where God leads us. Maybe this time next year, I’ll be blogging about life as a foster & bio momma!
It’s funny because once we first felt the call to foster, I typed up a whole post on the whys for us, about how we see foster care as an important way to step into the broken and give care, about how we see Jesus’ redemptive love in so many of these stories, about how we feel in our hearts that foster care is one way for us to demonstrate the gospel. I planned to share that post once we got licensed to foster, but then Virginia passed new legislation to revamp our foster care system and established Virginia Fosters to create awareness & change, and May came around, bringing so many hard days and yet also the promise of more. So today, now, just felt like the right time to start sharing on this.
Not everybody can foster or adopt, not everybody is called to that – but everybody, every single person, can do something to help these families and these children. Fostering is not easy. The system is broken and often time fails everybody – bio families, foster families, adoptive families, and all the kids involved. I’m worried about a lot, about whether we can really do this, whether we’re qualified at all. There will always be reasons to say no, but the reasons to say yes are so much bigger & more important. It is amazing what we are capable of when trust in Him, when we trust His ability to equip us and work through us, when we simply say yes.