Tales of Fostering

Why I Pray Our Foster Daughter Returns Home

Why I Pray Our Foster Daughter Returns Home Square

I have drafted this post in my head several times in the last few months, especially in the past few weeks. But every time I sit down to put my thoughts into words and pen them on paper, I can’t. I fall short every single time of being able to express my heart adequately. A heart that wholeheartedly loves and cherishes a child who has called my home her own for the last 21 months. But also from a heart that aches for her mother, a woman who has caused my faith to stretch in unimaginable ways, and my love for the lost and hurting to reach a level that doesn’t make sense.

I’ll never forget the first time I met her. Our foster daughter had been living with us for almost six months before I shook her hand and looked her in the eyes. Eyes that…well…pierced my soul. I will never forget the emptiness I saw in her that day. She was hurting. Her life was in a hopeless state. I could see her heart was broken. Actually, shattered. And her mind seemed to be controlled by the pains of her past that I just couldn’t understand because I had never faced them.

I remember our foster daughter taking her five tiny fingers wrapped in mine and letting them fall to her side as she sat next to her Momma and colored. My husband and I just stood in the corner, watching from a distance as we waited for our case number to be called. I wasn’t jealous. I didn’t sense the need to try to compete. I surprisingly didn’t have feelings of anger or thoughts that she didn’t deserve her. But I must admit before I saw her for the first time that day, I did. In my eyes, she was the sinner, and I was the saint. She was the one undeserving of being her mother.

But on that day, while walking up the steps to the courthouse, I asked the Lord to help me see her the way He saw her. I didn’t want to see her the way the investigators painted her. I didn’t want to look at her the way her past and present spoke of her. I didn’t want to see her as the sinner I had written her off to be. I didn’t want to condemn her for the poor choices she has made. Or label her as a bad mom, sister, daughter, or friend. I wanted to see her the way He saw her.

I wanted to see her through the eyes of grace. 

Because friends, who am I to judge?  Her life could have easily been mine. I could have been the one seeking the love my soul craved from men who didn’t care about me.  I could have been the one chasing friends who were chasing the world and the emptiness that worldly pleasures so often bring.  It could have been me sitting in the courtroom with my children taken away, broken, and lost…but it isn’t. And I believe it’s because I had parents who weren’t afraid to put their foot down.  And friends who genuinely cared about my life. But most of all, I believe it’s because I fell in love with a man named Jesus 15 years ago. A man this woman has probably never met, but I pray every night she comes to know.

Because I have hope to believe that if she meets Him? If she sees her worth in Him? If she understands the love, He has for her? She would be set free from the chains that hold her down. The chains of depression. The chains of hopelessness. The chains of meaningless drugs and alcohol and friends who influence her in ways that keep her captive. And the chains that keep her from being the Momma this precious little girl desperately needs her to be…

This is why I often look away when a friend, family member, or even stranger says to me, “I hope you get to keep her forever.” Because while I would love to raise this beautiful five-year-old little girl who has captivated our hearts with the sweetest giggle, cutest smile, and softest blonde curls, I hate the notion and even the idea that if I do get to keep her, and if she does take on my last name, it will be because her Momma failed. She lost, and I somehow won.  And so, my heart is often pulled in two different directions as war rages within my soul. Because truth be told, I really don’t want to win. I don’t want her to fail. I don’t want to see her continue to live the life of brokenness. A life full of heartache that has been damaged and destroyed. Instead, I want to see her living in the fullness that Jesus mercifully died to give her. A life that is happy and healthy. Restored and redeemed. Blessed and full of joy.

Don’t get me wrong, this prayer I pray isn’t easy. It is not always done in love or without tears. They are not always spoken without fear and doubt. Because let’s face it, as a former child abuse caseworker, I know first hand the grim statistics and the harsh reality of those who return to their old ways and nestle back into their bad habits. But friends, I can’t help but choose to believe nothing is too hard for the Lord (Gen. 18:14) and that He desires, loves, and even craves to make the broken whole. And that He specializes in taking our “uglies” and making them beautiful again.

Jeremiah 18:4-6 is such a beautiful image of this. It shows God sitting at the potter’s wheel, looking down at the flawed piece of pottery, and refusing to toss it. Refusing to overlook it and write it off as worthless, damaged, and without hope of ever being useful. Instead, God, the potter, makes another jar using all the same clay and cracks to make something new. There is no junk pile or flaws. Only the beautiful art His mighty, yet delicate fingers creatively restored.

I also can’t help but think of Saul.  He was on the road to Damascus, ready to kill the disciples. He was on a mission to stop the message of the gospel and destroy anyone who tried to get in his way.  But while on that road, God stepped in. And Saul, who later became known as the Apostle Paul and wrote 13 books of the New Testament, fell in love with a Man that he once ran from. A Man that he once hated. A Man that supernaturally turned his life around and empowered him to not only heal the sick with just his handkerchief but also raise the dead. And you know, if Jesus can save Him? If He can turn this sinner’s life around, then why can’t He save her? Why can’t she be rescued and delivered?  Why can’t her family that is broken and destroyed meet His unfailing love and receive His healing? Why can’t this woman who has been wrecked by the sins of this world be saved by His grace? I have hope to believe she can and faith to believe she will.

For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:45).

And so this is why I pray our foster daughter returns home; returns to her mother’s arms.  Now, hear me out. I don’t want you thinking I am cold and heartless, and every night I bow my head and pray that she no longer be in my home, nestled underneath the blankets I just tucked her in. But I realize that, in a sense, I am. Because when I bow my head every night and pray for her, Momma, I am doing just that. And you know, I am okay with it. I have peace with my prayer. Because ultimately, I know that if she does return to her family, it will be because her Momma’s life has been ravished by the One who has been relentlessly pursuing her. And the chains that have been holding her down for most of her life? Have finally been broken. And the Momma God designed and created her to be for this little girl?  And the woman He designed her to be for His Kingdom? Has finally been set free.

Will it be easy to pack our foster daughter’s bags and say good-bye? I don’t even have an answer for that. There aren’t words in my vocabulary to express how painstakingly hard it would be. Or how many tears I would shed. Or the ugly cry groans I would make. Even typing this post was unimaginably hard. But I know that at the end of the day, God will hold me, and He would be just as faithful to mend my broken heart, just as He was faithful to mend her Momma’s. I realize not everyone will have these same feelings, thoughts, or opinions. Nor will they have this same hope for her family, and that is okay. I don’t expect everyone to. But for me and my convictions? I can’t help but hope for the impossible and pray for a miracle. It’s what I do for my life and my family, so why shouldn’t I also do it for hers?

With Love

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61 thoughts on “Why I Pray Our Foster Daughter Returns Home”

  1. Oh, Elisha. This beautiful. You are such special, loving soul. I had tears in my eyes reading this. You foster daughter — and her mama — are so lucky to have you on their side. Xo.

    1. Girl…each time I proofread this thing I had tears streaming down my face :/ Fostering is such an emotional thing! yikes!

      1. hI,after carrying around the foster care # in one of my many journals only to have it continually find itself in my hands over & over throughout the past 6 or so years, I made the call towards the end of last year to begin the process of becoming Foster Parents with Antoine, we are now in training…;) That testimony and prayer has helped me tremendously just now, for I know too, I am called to this. May God bless you in your continual service, I do pray also, she returns home and that your prayers will find the answers in all the ways you have expressed to God & to us, I type a wholeheartedly Amen to that Dear Elisha! You are such an inspiration!

  2. Elisha, your Faith in God and his healing is just so inspirational to me. You’re right, so many wouldn’t pray that prayer. Heck, I don’t know if I would. Praying that whatever happens with Miss Goldilocks, the Lord will give you peace about it and carry you with His strength when you need it!

    1. Thank you so much sugars! It’s hard to pray but praying any other way (because honestly, I have caught myself) just doesn’t feel right in my spirit. I know that no matter what happens I will always pray for her Momma and keep in touch with her so that she has a positive influence in her life. Because even if Goldilocks stays with us forever, I still want her Momma to get better so that as Goldilocks gets older, she can know her for who God created her to be…not for what she was. Does that make senses?

    1. Ahh thanks girl! As I said in the post, it’s not easy having to love like this sometimes but it’s the right thing to do…i always remind myself that the right thing isn’t always going to be the easy thing…

  3. May I say that you are amongst the most generous human beings Ive had the good fortune to know even though its just virtual?
    That prayer, I don’t think I can say it. Loving another’s child as your own and knowing very well that one day this child will go back to where she belongs, yet loving her and providing her with all the comfort and security expecting nothing in return, or even know that you may end empty handed is something only those who have strong faith can do.
    Your faith will help you reach your goal. Lots of love to you!

    1. It is such a hard thing to do :/ It’s only by the strength and grace of God that I am even remotly able to do this. I have always been heard that He doesn’t call the qualified but qualifys the called and it’s so true. He called us to this (it was not something we jumped in on our own) and He has equipped me with everything to fight this battle both spiritually and emotionally. Thank goodness! Otherwise I would be a hot mess 100 percent of the time! LOL

  4. Girl you blow me away with how selfless you are and these words are beautiful! You want nothing but the best for this mother and daughter and I just know God has his hands over this entire situation. Prayers for everyone involved. Hugs to you!

    1. Thanks girl! This hasn’t been an easy road that’s for sure. Every day is a struggle whether to mentally stay in the game or emotionally not lose it. lol!

  5. Beautiful and so meaningful. I don’t know what to hope for but if I’m honest, as a kid from a home with drug addicted parents who also had mental health issues and abuse etc (we were often taken out of the home and put back within a few hours) I hope you do get to keep her long-term. I know that little girl is hurting for her mother and vice versa – but a little while longer with you guys will help her get one step closer to ending the cycle of addition, outside validation and poverty for herself. In my case, it was neighbours and teachers who helped and I learned a lot from them about how to be in the world I couldn’t have learned at home. I like to think God put you in her life so her mother could use the time to change some things and so she could have you as a support when she needs you most.


    1. Thank you so much for your insight. I know the longer she is with us the better to an extent, but at the same time, the more she gets accustomed to our life style, structure, etc. and then returns to a completely different life style, structure , etc. the harder it will be on her. I know that she loves living with us (she says this often) but I know without a doubt she misses her siblings, momma, and other relatives. We will be driving down the road and I will hear sigh and the comment about how she wonders what they are doing, etc. It’s a heartbreaking situation for all involved :/ If I had one wish in the world it wouldn’t be to fix my infertility, it would be to somehow change this entire situation from the beginning so that she would have never needed to go into foster care. But I can’t :/ And it sucks.

  6. You’re in such a hard position! Of course you have grown to love this little girl over the past two years, and you only want the best for her. It’s so incredible that you know deep down in your heart that the best for her would be with her mom. I hope that her mom has the strength to get herself together so that she can one day have her little one back. I know that it will break your heart, but maybe you will be able to keep in touch with her? I don’t know how it works, so I have no idea about that. You and your hubby are such special people to take on this mission in life. My heart goes out to all of you. <3

  7. She is SO blessed to have you as her momma, for now. I know I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I just love your attitude and your willingness to put others (like her) first. So respectable!

  8. Just wanted to say you have a beautiful way with words! And your heart is so beautiful and selfless! One day I hope that can be me!
    I felt led to say this…I believe God is using your (and mine) journey of infertility to open our hearts to the hurting lil ones who need a voice and a home full of love. I know from my own experience that if God had given us kids right away, foster care would have never crossed my mind. So even tho the infertility journey is a painful one, I’m thankful that it has brought me to the place where I care deeply about the innocent orphans in a way I have never felt before. I trust the same is true for you. Blessings.

    1. Oh thank you so much! I have found that after a couple of posts (several months ago) in which I got some nasty comments about some things, I censor myself more :/ It’s not good and I’m slowly coming out of that shell of worry. Your comment has helped me as well. So thank you! xo

  9. So beautiful! Your words inspire me as a foster mom myself it is so incredibly hard to know how to feel and what to pray, I hope to have your strength when the time comes.

    1. It is so hard! For me sometimes I literally have to stop and switch up my thoughts from the negative to the positive. It’s a choice and not always an easy choice :/

  10. I can’t help it–I want her to stay with YOU. Screw her egg donor–you are the only mother she’s ever known. Who cares that her egg donor is sad? I don’t. You reap what you sew. I hope she gets clean and finds Jesus. But Goldilocks deserves to stay with you. I’m casting my vote with God as well. XOXO

    1. I totally tget your thoughts and feelings…but she does miss her Momma and siblings. Because to her? Her Momma is not just an “egg donor.” She remembers her. She loves her. She cares that she is sad. And so when you see it first hand? When you hear her sigh in the backseat because she is thinking about them… It changes your thoughts and your heart becomes torn. xoxoxo

      1. I didn’t know she still talked about them. That is a tough situation. But she needs to be protected–what you’re doing for her is something her bio mom (I’ll drop the egg donor title) neglected to do–protect her. My family is so screwed up at this point that blood relation means almost nothing to me–I surround myself with good people and I call them family. So there’s that perspective. XOXO

      2. I totally appreciate your perspective. xo The one thing I have always admired about her momma was that she always made sure the kiddos were safe. Thank GOODNESS! Either a relative was taking care of them or when she couldn’t find someone, she called Safe Families (that’s how we got her) for help cause she knew she was struggling. A lot of parents wouldn’t call an agency and risk losing their children in order to place them in a safe environment. I am so thankful she did.

      3. I won’t argue with you but I believe in my heart that you are the person that can best provide for Goldilocks’s needs–to give her a *stable* home, to keep her safe and help her grow. I’m scared for her and I don’t want her to struggle due to her bio mom’s ineptitude. That’s from my heart. XOXO

    1. That’s all I want to do…plant seeds and watch God has He alone makes them grow. I would feel awful if after this experience I looked back and all I saw was a person (me) focusing on MY wants and desires. I know that God has His hand in this and while her Momma has a free will to do as she pleases, I at least know that I did my part in praying that what she does…benefits not only her children but herself. Her life and well-being matter just as much as anyone elses 🙂 It’s hard to think like that about certain people some days, but it does help me rest easier at night. Love you girl and thank you for always being there for me and understanding my heart. xo

  11. This post is clearly fuelled by many a river of tears. And twin mountains of faith and hope. And an overwhelmingly sense of love. Well done. You are an example to us all.

      1. My mom fostered and had the same goal or if not possible a permanent home and always tried to keep family relationships and contact for the kids whenever possible. It’s a heart wrenching kind of love and compassion. Such invaluable work you do!

  12. Wow… Learning so much about foster care and love from you and your posts. Such bittersweet prayers and bittersweet outcomes. No matter how this all turns out, I think God will (and has already been) glorified. xo

    1. Thanks so much Lisa! Fostering isn’t easy and it does take quite the emotional and spiritual toll on a person but I will say that God has always equipped me and strengthened me. He never leaves us alone on our journeys. I seriously couldn’t do this without Him and I often wonder how non Christian foster parents survive. It’s tough!

  13. You are so expressive which makes me so emotional…and I am not even an emotional person. This is just heartfelt truths, I don’t know what to say… God bless you Elisha;=)

  14. I came across when your blog when I googled “bible versus to deal with infertility” and yours was the first one that popped up, and I am so glad it did. I have been sitting here all day reading through your posts, and I just know I was meant to see this today. My husband and myself are going through the exact same thing, almost identical to your entire story. After just dealing with another negative pregnancy test, and with our case worker for fostering a child, I was in tears this morning when I came to your blog. You are helping more than you will ever know. Thank you. I will be praying for your sweet family.

    1. Hey Markie! Thank you a million times over for commenting! I have been battling those typical devil thoughts all week that my writing isn’t good enough…it’s not offering encouragement…it doesn’t give hope…and there are a thousand other blogs out there that do. So thank you for this! You have encouraged my heart to keep writing my story. And know that right now I am praying for you. God has big plans in store…He never promised us a life without sorrow but He did promise to see us through it. And girl? He will see you through this. He will fulfill the desires He has placed in your heart as you continue to delight in Him. So hang in there. The holidays are tough…but you got this! xo

    1. Totally understand 🙂 It’s not a post that I knew everyone would understand, agree with, or like. But thank you so much for taking the time and commenting though. xo

  15. Hi Elisha, I came across your blog a while ago as I have a daughter dealing with infertility for over six years. As you well know, it’s very difficult yet God teaches so much throughout the journey. Sharing your experiences and heart is a ministry. Tears flowed as I read this post. God is using you and your husband to bless His precious little angel as well as those of us who are praying for you.

    1. Donna, Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and ready my blog. My heart aches for you and your daughter as I know the struggle…but I also know that God is faithful and He will get us through this. He gave your daughter this desire and I firmly hold on to His word that He does fulfill the desires He places in our hearts. So hold on sweet Mama…Hope in God doesn’t disappoint. I look forward to hearing from you one day that your daughter has made you a grandma 🙂 xo

  16. Absolutely beautiful. God just spoke through your heart – through your writing.

  17. Beautiful post. 🙂 I know that prayer would be hard to pray, but when you’ve had your life transformed by Jesus, you want everyone else to know Him as well. Goldilocks’ mother was very brave to be willing to ask for help when she was struggling, and for keeping her children safe. That says a lot about her.

  18. I’ve read through quite a bit of your blog after seeing your post on “In Due Time”. I relate to you in so many ways, years of infertility, pregnancy, loss, life after loss, foster parenting. I admire you so. I don’t know how to put into words all the things I wish to say so just know that you inspire me. Simply that. The rest are words that I believe when people have been through similar things they just don’t have to say. You are strong and so much more than you may ever get credit for.

    1. oh wow! I can’t tell you how your comment brought me to tears (happy teas). I appreciate the love, support, and encouragement your words brought me today. Lots of hugs to you! xo

  19. Love this post. Standing in agreement with you for her mom and your foster princess in prayer. God You are able, in Jesus name. Amen.

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