What It’s Like to Be a Foster Mom on Mother’s Day

In the photo below, I’m holding my half-sister, Heather, who I haven’t been able to track down in over a decade. It was taken on my 7th birthday. Little did I know, that day in 1998 would become one of the worst days of my entire life.

My father and stepmother got into a horrific domestic dispute that resulted in me calling the police. My father was arrested, and my stepmother was taken to the hospital. 21 years later, thanks to therapy, my memory is no longer repressed and I can talk about my trauma.

It was on this day that I realized that not every child has a safe, stable, healthy environment to grow up in. I understood this because I was one of them.

 

It was on this day that I realized that not every child has a safe, stable, healthy environment to grow up in. I understood this because I was one of them.

 

This Mother’s Day, my husband will take our kids to pick out flowers for me. They’ll deliver me breakfast in bed with adorable homemade cards, to which I’ll act surprised and relish every second of it. They’ll tell me I’m the best and wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.

Then, we’ll call their first mommy to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day too.

I have cared for 16 kids in the last three years and yet, many do not recognize me as a “real” mom.

 

 

I’m a foster mom with no biological children. The most common question I receive is, “Do you struggle with infertility?” This question reveals the assumption that all women want biological children. It also insinuates that being a foster parent wasn’t a choice I made, but a choice I settled for.

Both of these assumptions are inaccurate and dangerous.

My husband and I have been married for five years now, and we choose to prevent pregnancy. Foster parenting has been our plan since day one.

 

I have cared for 16 kids in the last three years and yet, many do not recognize me as a ‘real’ mom.

 

Strangers and well-intentioned friends have made comments to me like, “Will you ever have biological children? You’d be such a good mom!”

Asking if I will ever have biological children is fine. I get that people are curious, and there’s nothing offensive about it to me. I always answer honestly, “I have absolutely no idea when, or even if.” 

But following with, “You’d be such a good mom!” stings.

What do they think I am right now? 

I’m not “kind of” a mom. (Is that such a thing?)

This isn’t just a sleepover or part-time gig. I raise my children 24/7. Their lives are in my hands. They are my whole world, just like yours.

 

 

I do the same monotonous tasks as you: getting them to school, signing their permission slips, doing their laundry, and clipping their fingernails. I engage in Nerf gun battles and schedule dentist appointments. I read bedtime stories and put love notes in their lunch box. I kiss their ouchies and fight with them over brushing their teeth. I wipe butts and by some miracle, potty train them too. I cry when they’re in pain, and I show off their newest school pictures with pride. I ship them off to Mimi’s when I need a break and then cry because I miss them. I praise them, play with them, and pray for them. My children consume me in a way that’s inevitable. They have my time and my wallet.

Most importantly, they have my unconditional love.

 

This isn’t just a sleepover or part-time gig. I raise my children 24/7. Their lives are in my hands. They are my whole world, just like yours.

 

I choose to be a mom through foster care for the children, just like me, whose innocence was stolen from them at a very young age. For the ones who hid their baby sisters in a closet and dialed 9-1-1. I choose this for the parents who need help and time to heal. For the ones who mouth, “I’m sorry kiddo” from the backseat window of a cop car.

I believe catastrophes are the catalyst of our calling, which is why I am made for this kind of motherhood.

So if you wonder if or when I’ll be having biological children, your guess is as good as mine. But if you think I’d be a good mom—please realize I already am one.

This Mother’s Day, let’s be wise with our language and intentional in our efforts to celebrate all moms.

After all, any mom knows that motherhood is about so much more than giving birth or sharing DNA.

 

Read More: A Letter to My Kids on This Mother’s Day, When Everything Is Different

 

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