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Swell Hearts

Foster Swell: Hidden Faces

Foster Swell: Hidden Faces

Foster Love. Foster Kindness. Foster Swell.

A Celebration of National Foster Care Awareness Month in May

Hidden Faces by Kimberly V.

It was 10:00am. I sat on the couch and looked out the window anxiously awaiting their arrival. “Ten more minutes,” the social worker told me. I started to pace back and forth, thoughts racing in my head. Two little girls would soon be here. I walked in their bedroom and adjusted the pillows on their new beds for the tenth time that morning. I lit a candle. I paced some more. I whispered prayers over these little lives that were about to enter our home.

I heard cries in the other room and went and picked up the little boy that had just entered our house 3 months earlier. I dried his tears, changed his diaper, and held him close. I prayed over his life and his future that was unknown. I remember the day I first laid eyes on him and the long nights that followed. I remember the first time we bonded, head on chest snuggle, a moment I will forever cherish.

I continue to pace. I hold this little boy close and think of the last baby boy that was in our house. I remember the day he left. I remember that painful goodbye. His memory is all around, his picture hangs on the wall, and his cry still resounds in my head; raspy, melodic, and perfect, a sound I wish I could hear again. I pray for him. I wipe a tear from my face.

I look out the window, no car in sight. I pace some more. I pick up a picture from my wedding day and look at the man I married, the man I walk this journey with. I remember our conversations about our future family; never did we imagine it would look like this. I giggle a little and put the picture down. I pray for him as he continues to lead our family and open his heart to two more little lives.

Finally, I hear a car pull up outside. I take a deep breath and run to them, yes run. I see their smiles through the window. I open the door and help them get out of the car seats. I hold back tears. I need to be strong. I tell them how excited I am to see them. I give them each a hug. I hold them tight. They tell me they are so excited to show me their stuff. I hold back tears as the driver unloads two small trash bags with their names written on them from the trunk of the car. They start unpacking these bags on the front lawn; their only belongings lay scattered on the ground. They want to show me everything.

We made our way into the house. I showed them their new room and introduced them to the baby boy in my arms. They ran around with nervous excitement while I signed a few papers. We said goodbye to the social workers and stood on the porch as the big white van drove away.

Two hours later these girls called me Mommy, a title I thank God for every day. We became an instant family. I started to fall in love with these weary travelers and their eyes that tell a story full of brokenness. My heart began to swell. This is Foster Care.

Tonight I sit on that same couch after having just tucked all three kids into bed. I think about the laughs that we shared today and the dance party that we had in the bathroom. I think about the look on her face when she told me she loved me, and the way she looked at me as she asked if she could stay forever. I don’t know what the future holds for our family. I will never know what tomorrow brings. But I do know that these three kids are loved, they are wanted, and truly cherished. I thank God that today I get to be their mommy.    

I started to use Instagram as a way to document our story. I choose not to show my face on my Instagram account to stand in solidarity with the thousands of children in Foster Care whose faces are hidden.

These faces are beautiful. These faces are unique. These faces each tell a story.

The Foster Care community that I have found on Instagram has allowed me to walk along side others who are also on this journey. This community has encouraged me on the days when life seems so incredibly messy and has offered prayers through the painful goodbyes. We aren’t meant to walk this path alone. I pray that this community grows immensely for the sake of these beautiful children. Day by day our story continues. 

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