Tales of Fostering

So Do You Get To Keep Her?

collage of Goldi

The most common question I am asked when seeing someone I know whether, at the grocery store, post office, or church, is no longer, “How are you doing?” but rather, “So do you get to keep her?” In fact, it’s only a little past noon, and I have already been asked “the question” three times today. This question is usually accompanied by a smile and their voice being full of excitement and hope, but they don’t understand.

They don’t understand the flood of emotions my husband and I have each time we are asked “the question.” They don’t understand the 101 thoughts that all of a sudden start invading our minds. They don’t understand that my palms get sweaty immediately following this question, and my heart begins to race. They don’t understand that even though their question is simple and innocent enough, the answer is not. It isn’t easy. It’s heartbreaking. It’s awkward. It’s complex.

They don’t understand that the three-year-old cutie patootie, whom I often refer to as Goldilocks, came to us through the Safe Families for Children program; a program where my husband and I volunteered to temporarily be her safe family due to her mother being in a crisis and the child needing a place to call home for at least 30 days, 90 at the most.

They don’t understand that the program is not a foster care program, and we were not licensed foster parents, but rather “host parents.” They don’t understand that when we welcomed this beautiful child into our home, raising her until she is 18 years old was never even in the front or back of our minds because this is not a program in which an adoption is an option. In fact, adoption is never an option as reunification must and always be the goal.

They don’t understand that due to an unfortunate chain of events over the past nine months since we first welcomed her with warm chocolate chip cookies and milk, the Department of Children and Family Services is now involved. We have been thrust into the role of becoming licensed foster parents, and she has now been forced to wear the badge of a “foster child.” 

They don’t understand that because of this major turn of events, my husband and I are in a tough position as we not only live our lives in a sea of uncertainty, but we have also had to quickly and without warning switch from the previous mindset that she will with 100 percent certainty go home, to the mindset that she might not. It has been tough, and I’ll be honest when I say that I’m not sure we have completely changed our previous mindset–make that switch.

It hasn’t sunk in yet that if her mother or father doesn’t prove themselves to be a fit parent to the caseworker, child advocates, states attorney, and judge within the next twelve months, we will be asked to become her ‘forever family.’ It hasn’t sunk in yet that I could be privileged with the opportunity to be the one dropping her off on her first day of Kindergarten, packing her bags for her first slumber party, or taking her dress shopping for her first prom. It hasn’t sunk in yet because it’s been difficult for me to see that far ahead when there is so much hope and time left for her parents to make the necessary changes needed to ensure Goldilocks has a better life before.

So to answer their question, maybe it’s even been your question, “So do you get to keep her?“, the only response I can offer you is, “For now.

For now, the goal is still reunification with her parents, and it will be that way for a minimum of twelve more months…

For now, we, along with social services, are advocating for them to make the necessary changes to give their children a better life and themselves a better life…

For now, we are doing everything possible to make sure Goldilocks has a fun, happy, and safe place to call home…

For now, we are taking it one day at a time and one court date at a time…

For now, we get to keep her.

With Love

I would love to connect with you, so if you liked this post, pass it on. Then come find Waiting for Baby Bird on the public Facebook page or join me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you!

If you are looking for a faith-based infertility community of other women who “get it,” then head over to the *PRIVATE* Waiting for Baby Bird Support group for hope + encouragement. There you will find opportunities to ask for prayer, watch *LIVE* encouragement videos from me, author of “Waiting for Baby Bird,” enter into exclusive giveaways, as well as be able to share your heart with others on the same path, and so much more! So what are you waiting for? Find us here!

78 thoughts on “So Do You Get To Keep Her?”

  1. I love this post. I can’t even imagine what that question must do to you. You and your husband are awesome–I honestly don’t know if I could live with that uncertainty. It is amazing that you are able to open your hearts up like that in the face of so much unkown. Truly admirable.

    1. I have also thought like you when I hear or talk to other foster parents. I have always said, “I don’t think I could do that.” But it’s amazing what you are able to do when put in the situation. It’s not easy…it’s hard…but worth it in the end. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. It truly means a lot to me.

  2. I love this, For Now. Proud of you and your man for stepping up and being so flexible and generous of your time, your finances and your willingness to love on little Goldilocks! Praying that the For Now ends in a beautiful reunification with her biological momma, and that For Now, while you fill that role you are blessed for your faithfulness. For Now, I am praying that you two are encouraged and filled with strength to endure such a long process! For Now, it’s a good season and we’re all cheering for the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

    1. oh Morgan! You are so incredibly sweet! I am blessed to have you in my life! You are such a wonderful source of love, support and encouragement! xo

  3. This is a great post and It is so amazing how you have become such an important part of this little girl’s life. It’s so selfless but I am not surprised at all, bc its so obvious what an amazing person you are (and your husband too of course). I am praying for you and little goldilocks. I cannot imagine all the stress I would feel with such uncertainty. Hugs!

  4. This tugs at my heart, so I can only imagine how much it tugs at yours. You want her mom to get it together for her sake, but you also want to keep her for the love you have found for her. Such a tough spot to be in, what ever ends up happening, you can only hope it’s with her best interests in mind. ((Hugs))

    1. It is most certainly a tough spot and I don’t think people really stop and think about how tough it is for us at times. Thank you for understanding and being so supportive!

  5. Enjoy every moment with that little girl and trust that God knows what is best for her in the long run. As a stepparent (who is trying for one of our own), there is a special place for people like us in the hearts of children. You are having an impact on Goldilocks on ways you can’t imagine. Whether it be for a few more months or the rest of her childhood, she will know she was loved by you and Daniel, and nothing is greater and more important to a child.

    1. We do enjoy every moment for sure 🙂 Thank you so much for your encouraging words. They mean a lot to me! xo

    1. awe thank you so much for your sweet words Heidi! I think my husband and I are just as lucky as she is at times. She does bring lots of life and love to our home.

    1. awe thank you so much for your encouraging and sweet words! I hope she always remembers her time with us as only good. xo

  6. Such a hard place to be in. I admire your strength. It takes a big person to do what you and your husband are doing. After all of this time I’m not sure if I could give her back. What ever happens it will require a lot of live,strength, and courage. You’ve got plenty of all three

    1. Awe you are so sweet for your kind words! I haven’t even been able to think about how I will react when/if she goes home. It’s all a big whirlwind and I literally take everything day by day. Like I said, the whole situation hasn’t even sunk in yet I am afraid when it does…it will hit me like a ton of emotional bricks. :/

  7. Wow, such a tough spot to be in. My heart goes out to you because I know you are torn between emotions. But Goldilocks is such a lucky girl to have you guys and I know you are feeling blessed to have her, as well. XO

    1. Yes we do feel blessed in every way to be able to plant positive seeds into her life. I know that no matter the outcome, God will make those seeds grow and she will flourish no matter where she is planted. I pray for her future every.single.day.

  8. I have seen how difficult these situations can be. You are lucky to have her and she is lucky to have you! Much love to all of you during this difficult time! <3

    1. Thank you Julie! I knew you would understand how tough this can be and how much of an emotional roller coaster it is for all those involved.

  9. Elisha, I am so proud of you and Dan. Not many could or would do what you are. I can only imagine taking on not only the physical responsibility but the emotional as well can be heart wrenching at times. She is such a lovely little child who deserves to be loved to the moon and back and that’s what she’s getting. Her life and yours will forever be changed because of this time. Love you!

  10. What a special story the Lord is writing for her and for you! Even though you don’t know how the rest of the story unfolds, what a gift for each day. She is precious. I’ve always thought of being a foster parent much “later in life,” but it would have to be a true calling because I just don’t know how I could keep saying goodbye. It’s hard enough to say goodbye to the kids I work with. I’m so glad you have her for this season, whatever the next will bring <3 Also looking forward to the day that the Lord blesses you with the miracle of life and a healthy pregnancy! Waiting with you with great expectation for what only the Lord knows!

  11. Elisha, I am so happy that Goldilocks has you and Daniel to give her all the love her curly haired self can hold. Yes, I’m sure there are hard days and weeks, but you are forever changing what she knows life can be. Blessing all around for both you and Daniel and Goldilocks! Love you all and as always, my prayers go out for you to
    have your own “little baby bird.”

  12. Amazing. The love is just beautiful. I’m so glad Goldilocks has you to give her stability and love that’s so needed in uncertain times. Know that love you give will always come back 10-fold. (((hugs)))

  13. I would love to just sit down with you, have a cup of coffee and pick your brain! Until reading some of your posts, I had never heard of such a program. My husband and I are both in the same boat of being done adopting for now, but not sure we are done with adding children to our lives. This gives me some other ideas in addition to the possibility of fostering some day!

  14. The thoughts that are running through my head. Oh how I love your insight. At first I thought of Hannah. She longed for a child more than anything. She promised if she ever had one “he” would be given back to God. There is so much there…so many promises, so much faith! “If” you have to give this previous one back, she has a firm foundation of God. Principles that she will be able to build on. “If” her mother has the courage to allow God to take control of the demons in her life they will have a relationship like none others.

    The other thing I thought of was my 3kids that were taken away from their mom and they found their way into my home. Yes, different path but none the less babies of mine from another mother. Somewhere it was instilled in me that people needed forgiveness. I told my 3 over and over that they should always pray for their parents, most especially their mother. She could have chosen abortion and I would have never known them. I may have told you this but a few years back (and kids all grown now) I had the opportunity to meet their mom. It was surreal. She hugged my neck and thanked me for raising her babies. I am very thankful that I love a God that is all about forgiveness. It was beautiful!

    The last thing I thought of was the new client I had the other day. Some how (God) we got on the subject of kids. My 3 being adopted and she had been an orphan. I mentioned that I always encouraged my kids to forgive their mother. She thought that was the most horrible thing I could possibly have told my kids. She picked up real quick that I had a faith that I held onto (and I never once mentioned God). I couldn’t help but think that she had a lifetime of misery because she couldn’t see passes her own misery. Who knows what the birth mothers story was. We are talking many many years ago. One can only imagine the possibilities. Again, “if” she could have forgiven her birth mother she could have found some peace with her situation.

    Short story made awfully long, Goldilocks is in your life for a season. At this point only God knows for how long. I know I will be praying fervently for you, Daniel, Goldilocks and her birth mother. Specifically, that God can intervene one way or another so that Goldilocks can know the full power of God!

    I love you!! Thank you for blogging! I love the things God has taught me through you!!!

    1. Oh Denise thank you so much for sharing this with me. We definitely talk only positive things about her mother and I make sure that for every picture she colors me, she colors one for her mommy to give to her when she visits her each week.

      Thank you for always praying for me…supporting me…and encouraging me! You are such a blessing to me and I’m not sure I will ever be able to thank you or hug your neck tight enough.


  15. At least until you have a final answer, she has somewhere safe and loving to call home. You guys are doing an amazing thing for this little one, and no matter what happens, I know she’ll be a better person for the time she has spent with you and your hubby. Give her all your love for however long you have her, and in the end everything will work out the way it was always meant to be. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I know that God is in control of this situation 🙂 If He wasn’t, then I wouldn’t have been able to get through the last nine months fo’sho! xo

  16. What a sweet post – your words are so elegant Elisha! Thanks for helping us ALL understand! I know it’s not easy to live in the now, but thankful for God’s guidance along the way! Praying over your home tonight! I always love Goldilocks updates as I too don’t want to be the girl who constantly ask you!

    1. Thanks twiny! I try to update on her as much as possible and I haven’t lately because to me, there isn’t much to update on. Her Mommer’s has 12 months and the time started ticking in August. So until then, we are just sitting ducks not really knowing what her future (or our future) holds. I’m just spending this season of “waiting” in prayer for her so that no matter what happens, she will flourish where ever God plants her.

  17. Oh hon. I got so emotional reading this. I pray her mother can make the necessary changes and prove that she can care for her, but I know that whatever happens, this little girl was brought into your life for a reason and she will forever be blessed because of you and Daniel. Big hug hon.

    1. Thank you so much Hun! I know everyone tells us that she is the lucky one, but there are days when I go to bed and think about how lucky I am to have her. She is a blessing that’s for sure.

  18. I’d be lying if I said “I hope she’s reunited with her bio mother”–because honestly I think she belongs with you. We’ll leave that up to God, but, that’s my two cents. XOXO

  19. I can only try to imagine how hard it is to find an answer to that question… If I’m being honest, I agree with mylifeasacasestudy. And I find you are both generous and brave for being available for this change, even knowing that she may not still stay with you in the long run. I guess it’ll be harder and harder to let her go the longer she stays with you. But, even if that happens, you’ll be able to be proud of yourself for letting her in your lives.. xx

    1. Yes that’s the hard part for us that makes it bittersweet. It’s sweet that she gets to stay longer, but bitter because we know the longer she stays, the harder it will be for her to return home as she is also getting attached to us :/ She also has two other siblings in different homes and I know it’s harder for them because they are older and missing her.

  20. WOW. That is all I can say. God is using you in such a HUGE way! Thank you for taking care of this sweet precious girl the way you are. We need more Elisha’s in the world. I will be praying over this situation and the uncertainty you have before you.

    P.S. I’m mentioning you in my blog post on Friday. 😉

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words and prayers. It’s such a hard time especially for her. She is getting so attached to us and I can’t imagine how hard it will be for her when she is returned in twelve or so months.

      You are mentioning me?! How exciting! I can’t wait to read! xo

  21. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for all of you. I think keeping your previous mindset, is probably the healthiest thing for you right now. Like with the Safe Child program you got Goldilocks through, Foster care’s first goal is always reunification. It is the reason that at this moment, although we took the classes, I don’t know that I can handle being a foster parent at this time in my life. Keeping all of you in my prayers and sending lots of love and hugs!

    1. I used to say the same thing about not being able to do foster care. Especially when I was a DCFS worker. I would always come home from work and say, “I could never be a foster parent!” But never say never or that you couldn’t do something because God will always give you the grace, mercy and strength. That’s the only way I have been able to get through the last nine months.

  22. I want so much for Goldilocks to be reunited with her mama, but I know that might not be God’s plan for her. I know she would have such a lovely childhood if she remained with you. You are so brave and strong. I will continue to pray for you and Daniel, Goldilocks, her mom and her siblings. I know it’s so hard but I pray Heavenly Father will keep you close to His side so you can rely on Him when you need extra strength. Sending love.

    1. Ahh thank you so much for your sweet and kind words. I can’t tell you enough how much your prayers are appreciated too. I know that every prayer you pray for us is heard! So thank you, thank you! xo

  23. Elisha, I love everything about your blog…your title, your posts, your pictures, the scriptures you share. You’re a true inspiration. Keep up the great attitude and love for God. Love you 🙂

    1. Awe thank you so much! You have made me smile from ear to ear! I am always praying that this blog brings inspiration, hope and most of all glory to God. xoxo

  24. Amazing post. You two are truly amazing people. Whatever ends up happening, whatever is decided by the court or by you and your husband…I think it’s so awesome and beautiful what you’ve done for Goldilocks. The safe haven that you’ve provided her. When my boys get older, I would love to look into something like that. My parents became foster parents expectantly when we found out a young woman from our church was being abused by her mother’s boyfriend. My dad, as the pastor, went to the court hearing to offer support and instead was asked by the judge if she could stay with my family temporarily. It ended up being “forever.” She stayed from eighth grade until college. It was the most unexpected blessing our family experienced. It rocked our world upside down, and hers as well. I won’t say it wasn’t without its challenges but it was some of the best years of our lives. I will be praying for you as you walk through this time. Love you!!

  25. Wow – I’m still new to your blog world, so I hadn’t really read much about Goldilocks, but I can’t imagine. To make a decision to be foster parents, or a decision to adopt… that is one mindset. And to offer to be a temporary home for children for 30-90 days… that is an entirely different mindset. But to be stuck in some strange limbo in which you don’t know what will happen…. where you don’t know if you will become her forever home or if she’ll be leaving in a few months… I can’t even fathom that. You are strong people and so full of grace to be in this position, but I can’t imagine the difficulties involved. Praying for you, your husband, and Goldilocks. *hugs

  26. Thank you for what you are doing for Goldilocks! As a kindergarten teacher, I had many precious children (within the foster care system) as students & loving, caring foster parents had a HUGE impact on those little lives. I witnessed that impact & saw children thrive (physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually) in those stable, loving environments. Thank you for allowing God to use you in such a mighty way!

  27. Well, I know one thing for certain….Goldilocks is beyond blessed to have parents like you (foster,adoptive or for now). And you, my friend, will be blessed too. You have such an inspiring spirit. Any time I read anything from you, it makes me want to be more like Elisha 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that and you are in my prayers always…xoxo

    1. Oh wow! That compliment blows me away. Thank you so much! You are right in that me and the Danimal (that’ what I call him) are so blessed to have her in our lives at this time. I hope you are having a great week! xo

  28. I LOVE you so much right now. You and your DH are so awesome. My DH and I have signed up for foster parent education classes. I hope we’re half as kind, loving, realistic, assured and mature as you are. I’m just in awe if and genuinely appreciating your honesty and real ness around GL. She sounds so sweet, and I can literally feel your love and well wishesre for her. I sooooo hope you guys get to keep her, raise her and let her experience the love you give in spades. You are kind, generous people. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I can’t even begin to tell you how humbled I am by your comment. I know that you will be GREAT foster parents because you have so much love and life to give to so many children. Fostering is hard…it’s not all playing tea parties and baby dolls but in the end, it’s worth it. If you have any questions, please email me at 10hopeingod@gmail.com

      I hope you have a great weekend!

  29. Thank you for linking up with Susannah and I!!!

    I loved reading about the goal being reunion with the families in that program that you are a part of! Too often, it seems that foster families delight (unintentionally, of course) in the demise of parents who are making the worst of life choices. These parents need the love of God just as much as the children who are thrust into the uncertainty that is foster care.

    What you’re doing for this little girl is right and the care that you are extending to her parents is just as right! Who knows what “for now” will come to mean, but you are willing to truly LOVE everyone in the situation and it has me praising God!!!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! Your words of support and encouragement are sooo appreciated. Fostering isn’t hard and if I were honest, trying to advocate for reunification is even harder especially when you know what the child came from. But I am a firm believer that through Christ, anyone and everyone can change. I know the mother can not change on her own so I am praying that she comes to know Christ so that she is forever changed and not just going through the motions to get them returned. Does that make sense? Please keep them in your prayers as I know prayers move the heavens and change things 🙂 xo

  30. Thanks for all you’re doing and the attitude with which you’re doing it. My wife and I are in a very similar situation with two siblings, a brother and sister. The state also stepped in and made them foster children after 8 months as Safe Families kids. That was almost two years ago. Still living one day at a time and praying God’s will be done in their previous little lives.

Comments are closed.