Steady, As She Goes
TERM: Steady as she goes (adv)
DEFINITION: A command to the helmsman to observe the compass direction on the present heading, and maintain that course.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I have thought about this phrase in more than one way this past week.
In terms of staying the course, I have questioned whether or not fostering was the right choice for our family. It has wrecked us. For the past year we have poured our heart and souls out to 4 amazing kiddos. There is nothing to regret in that. As much as we have given, much has been taken. This past week was by far and away the hardest time in this journey we have taken, by choice. I have tried to find a way out of this, a way to stop hurting, to feeling so much sadness. But the phrase “Steady as she goes” kept popping up in my mind. I don’t have answers yet for when or how, but I know this journey is where our compass is pointing, and we must maintain the course.
In another way, I have had to try my hardest to steady my heart, steady my emotions as our Sparrow has gone. A million, shattered pieces of my heart lay all around me. I see her face in every thing. I hear her laugh, I close my eyes and I can still smell her lavender scented hair. Never in my life have I experienced this kind of grief. I loved, and raised this sweet soul for almost 8 months, and now she is gone. My arms are as empty as my heart. I am not so steady.
7 months, 2 weeks and 4 days are the number of days I had the privilege to love and cherish this little Sparrow that flew into our hearts and made everything seem so right. Not one second went by that I took for granted or didn’t know how good I had it. I was well aware of what a gift she was. The way she would hold my face in her sweet chubby hands and put her forehead on mine, we bonded, as any biological mommy and daughter would.
In all this hurt and pain I have questioned if I could go on doing this. Losing one's heart over and over takes a toll. I wouldn’t take back even a nanosecond of my time with her, even knowing that she would leave me. She changed me. She made my heart bigger.
All of this is part and parcel to fostering. I should know this. I remind myself of this daily, but in the end, it doesn’t make it hurt less. Even in this hurt and unimaginable loss, I would still tell someone - who has the heart - to do it. We aren’t meant to live our lives for ourselves. We are meant to live for others, to take care of these little ones and give them our whole hearts every time.
I will fight for these babies because someone has to.
May is National Foster Care Month. I’m not finished yet. There are changes that need to happen within this system, and giving foster parents more rights is a BIG one. We are the ones who take care of these kiddos. We are the ones who lose sleep, change diapers, clean skinned knees, wake up for the 2 AM feeding, hold them close when they are scared. The list is endless. We are the soldiers in the trenches. We are the ones risking our hearts and putting ourselves on the front lines to make the every day difference.
Yet, we are not recognized by the courts or the system as anything other than care takers. The people that make all the decisions for these little souls don’t even know them. They don’t know what their favorite food or movie is. They don’t know what to do when they have a bad day or why something made them cry. They don’t hold them in their arms at all hours of the night as they cry and comfort them with gentle whispers and songs. So, I will be the change. I will fight for these babies because someone has to. One day, God willing, foster parents will be able to stand with the team of people who give their recommendations to a judge for the child. One day, God willing, someone who has some power will recognize the role that we play as more than caregiver and actually listen when we talk. Until then, I will stand, arm in arm, heart to heart, with all the other foster parents who sacrifice themselves daily for this cause.
Don’t be a spectator. There are a 1,001 ways to help and support. Whether you want to become a foster parent or just take a meal when a family gets an emergency placement, it matters.