We Can Do Hard Things

If you’re a regular reader, you might know about my day job with a nonprofit foster care organization, Angels Foster Family Network. Angels is an amazing place where we see miracles happen every day, and the biggest ones are performed by our stellar foster parents.

I don’t know how we find these truly extraordinary people who are willing to take a broken baby into their hearts and homes, give them all the love and care they so badly need as if they were their own, and heal their wounds, all the while acknowledging that one day they might have to say goodbye.

So meet Kristen — one of our best. Kristen and Dan have fostered several of our kiddos (one at a time … we only put one child or siblings with each family to maximize one-on-one attention), had their hearts broken once or twice, adopted the most wonderful little guy EVER, and are now loving a little one who came to them starved. Literally days away from death, because his birth mom was mentally ill and struggling.

Kristen wrote this post on Valentine’s Day in celebration of her family.

 I’m in LOVE. How appropriate, right?

Of course, I’m in love with my husband (hubba-hubba) and my son, that’s a no-brainer, but that isn’t who I’m speaking of: this little fella has only been with us a handful of weeks and has my heart in his teeny, little hand. He’s my new, special little Valentine. Brought to us by our personal Cupid: Angels Foster Family Network.

I’m feeling wildly fortunate today upon realizing that for the past three V-Days I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a brand new little Valentine in my life. Although they aren’t in my life forever (well, one is, insert a ridiculously huge heart here), I was able to make them feel special, wanted and unconditionally loved.

After all, isn’t that what today is all about?

Saint Valentine would be proud as it is something of a “forbidden” love. In some places (not Angels) a foster parent would be advised, “Don’t fall in love, don’t get too attached… as more than likely there is no future for your family with this child.” My response to that??…PHOOEY!!! I’d rather see my heart broken than to deny any child in my home the most love and care that I can humanly give. And in order to do so, my husband and I both agree to this, you have to fall deeply in love right from the start. That is exactly what these babies deserve, just as our own children do. There shouldn’t be any lines or barriers or shields denying these children an environment of complete acceptance and adoration.

My husband and I don’t do flowers, presents, even cards-it’s more about just spending time together as a family and truly appreciating one another. This year, instead of celebrating our family of three, we are celebrating four. Appreciating this little, helpless person that continues to grow and flourish into this ridiculously healthy and happy baby. That is what today is all about.

For those of your who are foster parents with us, I’m so grateful to share this day with you. Today is a day that we don’t need to focus on the heartbreak that could very well be on our horizon, but a day to relish what we are able to do.

We Can Do Hard Things

and I’m ridiculously proud of us.

We are too, Kristen. Proud and humbled. May we all strive to open our hearts as wide as you have, whatever that looks like for the rest of us.

To read more of Kristen’s blog go to Diary of a Foster Mom.

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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?

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