verb (used with object), gut·ted,gut·ting.
to destroy the interior of ....
It‘s the only word I can come up with that adequately describes what being a foster parent is like.
Imagine a three year old hysterical child is brought to your door at 9am on a Friday night after being forcibly removed from the only home she’s ever known. She has no known injuries but witnessed domestic violence. A caseworker drove her almost two hours to your house, she hasn’t eaten, changed her clothes or been comforted. You are told her name (pronounced incorrectly you later discover), given a trash bag of belongings and left alone with her. “Another caseworker will be in contact in the next few days.”
From the first night you comfort her the best you can to try to sleep in your strange house, to visitations with her family that leaves her hysterical to go and hysterical to leave once she gets there...it’s YOU.
You drive to therapy, court, Drs appointment and visitation. You learn horrible things you didn’t even know about, let alone that could happen to a child. You support her through rape kits and forensic interviews. You also drive her to paternity tests and preschool programs and Sunday school.
Every DAY. EVERY SINGLE DAY could be the last day you spend with her.
YOU LOVE HER WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.
But she may go “home”. Then she may go to “Kin”. Then she may stay. But then they found a long lost relative in another state...and she may go there.
AND you are settling into life together. And She is learning trust and the ABCs and days turn to months that could turn to years.
Until it ends.
You could pack her things and never see her again...or you could plan a huge adoption party and she becomes your forever daughter.
“to destroy the interior of”
Foster care has gutted me...in the best way possible. It has destroyed my ability to try to control, it has taught me to live in the HERE AND NOW. It has shown me what real love looks likes. Love without conditions or manipulation...love that just IS.
It has gutted me because when I prayed “Lord break my heart for what breaks yours..”. HE allowed me a glimpse in.
What a privilege, to be destroyed internally only to emerge on the other side richer in love and grace and knowing YOU made all the difference.