Updated: Oct 4
Hello Motherhood, it's me Annie. You’re not at all what I expected, but you’re no less beautiful.
I am the youngest of eight children. Typically, the question I am immediately asked after that statement is, “Are/were you Mormon, Catholic? or "Did your parents do this on purpose?”
No, not Mormon or Catholic.
And yes- they “wanted” us.
I told my mom at the insightful age of 5 that I would have marry a very rich man because we would need a nanny... but I still wanted to be a stay at home mom like her.
I saw that my future nanny was necessary due to the sobering fact that I didn’t have the patience she did, but I still wanted a multitude of children.
Here I am in my early 30s - no nanny per se, and I certainly am not the stay-at-home mom I imagined I would be. Along with foster care comes daycare for the kiddos in our home while I am working at my full time job at our church.
It was always a dream of mine to be a children’s pastor and partner with families to raise their children to know and love Jesus. That dream ironically was realized just months before our first unplanned kinship foster placement of 4 children in 2020 (everyone's favorite year am I right?).
Over the last three years, we have had seven children in our home, ages ranging from 5 months to 12 years old.
A healthy balance of trauma, teething, and puberty-all whilst newly overseeing Kids ministry and 6-12th grade student ministry as well. It was like going from no babies … to ALL THE BABIES overnight. Sleep is for the weak and the dead, and… rest? Who needs it? (Psstt - I do. You do too😘)
What words come to mind when you hear these two words? (no judgement- if we can’t be honest what can we be?)
Do you think to yourself, “Oh bless her heart that’s way too hard for me.”
How about, “Well that’s is impossible, I could never imagine doing that - what if you get attached? Will you keep them? They must be orphans right?”
Or maybe you’re like us, and you think, “Sign me up, we will rearrange our entire house and build an add-on if needed. BRING ON ALL THE BABIES! We will love them in Jesus name. How hard could it be? We have grace, and we can do all the things... Love conquers all and all that... ”
Yeah- over the last 3.5 years we have learned a lot of our preconceptions about fostering were WRONG.
Also to answer those questions above in case you really are asking… We are not saints, we are not special (though our moms say we are. Thanks Moms!) The children we’ve cared for aren’t orphans and foster care is not for the purpose of adoption.
I remember in the very beginning of fostering, the first year and a half to be exact, I unknowingly would tell my self. “I think this is going to kill us.” The demands were unreal.
In the transition between the first set of fosterkids and the ones we have now, the Lord spoke to me in a dream. He said “Annie, you think you’re like a fish in the desert about to die. No, you are a lizard made to thrive in this environment. You will not only SURVIVE but THRIVE!”
I didn’t know any of these things before we were foster parents. Amidst my “ideal motherhood daydreams” at the age of 5, I didn’t think that it would be hard to become a mother once my husband and I decided it was“time” to start our family. I mean honestly it seemed like most families spend most of their time avoiding getting pregnant, not TRYING to get pregnant. That’s the next part of our story.
This word stings. Maybe you know someone dear to you that is in this battle. Maybe it is you that knows this pain, and if so, sister I want you to feel my hugs right now in this moment. No matter your story- the pain of this word and the pain of longing is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. I weep with you. I see you. Jesus sees you. You’re not alone, and yet your pain is so personal to you. I pray one day I get to meet you and we will look into one another eyes and there will be a sense of knowing. I understand. It hurts and it’s hard.
With infertility being a part of our story that we don’t yet know the end of it, it complicates my experience with motherhood. It opens doors for judgement and anger and bitterness and desires for control. Foster care also opens all the doors and opportunities for those things.
So there you have it. Motherhood- you were not like I expected. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe motherhood in your life looks nothing like you expected, too.
Let me encourage you- The Lord is WITH you. You were made for this. You CAN thrive. I pray you bring all of your desires to the feet of Jesus.
Let Him give you His dreams for your motherhood.
We will trust Him together.