Hope in His Loving, Capable Arms

by Heather Bock

On March 11, after two months of living with us, our sweet foster daughter was picked up by her case worker and taken to live with her maternal grandfather until her parents are capable of caring for her themselves.

I have grieved for the loss of several beloved family members, including my 29 year-old sister, and I have suffered a miscarriage, and I can say losing my foster daughter was the same as a death to me.

Some might think, But you knew it most likely wouldn’t be a permanent arrangement. You knew she’d probably go back. Didn’t you expect it? Didn’t that knowledge help?

Does it help for a mother to know that the baby she has just given birth to will most likely die in two months?

Although she isn’t legally mine, I love her like she is mine. When the caseworker drove away with her in the car, sobs choked me. She took a piece of me with her. She took my child. For weeks afterwards, despite my three biological children, I kept thinking, My arms are empty. I felt a heavy hole inside me.

And that was only after two months. Many foster parents care for children for many, many more months than that, and if they’re doing it right, also loving them just as much as their own.

Why do this, then? Why put our home back on the call list? We do this because it’s not about us. It’s about giving love to a child who desperately needs not just a place to stay or three healthy meals a day, but love. These children are in one of the most vulnerable positions they’ll ever be. Love hurts and is extremely hard sometimes, but we still choose love. God definitely doesn’t call every person to foster, but we need to be careful about saying no to anything God might be calling us to only because it will hurt.

I am thankful, though. God was so kind to me, placing my sweetheart in what appears to be a very good, loving, safe situation. She was also too young to be as seriously traumatized by the separation as I was. I can’t imagine what it would be like, what it is like for hundreds of foster families who can’t say the same.

God also moved the heart of my foster daughter’s mother. She saw that I love her daughter. She resolved to send me pictures of her when she could. I don’t know how long she will, but she has occasionally already sent some adorable pictures of a happy girl, which has eased my heart tremendously.

I have another immeasurable comfort. When I made my foster daughter’s picture memory book to send along with her, I wanted to include a verse. I immediately thought of an obvious one to add, a message I would want her to know: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Before I included it, though, I paused and thought that I should pray about it first. I prayed for just the right verse, and immediately Jeremiah 29:11-13 popped into my mind: ” ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’ ” God has a good plan for her.

In addition to this, in the weeks preceding my foster daughter’s imminent departure, I prayed desperately for her future, for her protection. I remember one night on the way to work, it came to a head for me, and I was praying with all my heart, asking for hope, all the while trying to keep from crying before having to teach my students for the night. I came to a lull in my prayer, and I felt like I should turn on the radio to calm myself. The first words that came pouring out of the speaker, at least as I heard them were, “There is hope, hope, hope for the living; hope, hope, hope for the living.” All hope for dry eyes and saving mascara was gone at that point.

God has gone out of His way to comfort me and give me hope for my foster daughter in more ways than this, and all I can do is trust Him and leave her in His loving and capable arms.

34 thoughts on “Hope in His Loving, Capable Arms

  1. God bless you Heather for sharing your story. Your letting go of your foster child is a way to let God now guide her through the next journey in her little life. She will always remember your loving touch. You are an amazing mom, sending you comfort and prayers. Love Nora

  2. What a blessing your story is to my heart Ms. Heather. I wish I could find the words to express how much hope for this world your kindness brings. I love how you show God’s love to our world. Thank You for being who God has made you to be young lady. God’s blessings for you and your family.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, J.D. I’m thankful to be part of the large group of people who have been called to do this good work that God has prepared in advance for us to do.

  3. For those that have not done foster care, it is hard to imagine how much bonding and love occurs. I understand the sobs and deep awareness of empty arms. Keep going. The kids need you.

    1. Thank you, Laurie, for offering your understanding and encouragement. You’re a blessing!

    1. Thank you for reading my story. I’m thankful for having been able to love that sweet girl for the two months I had her

  4. Heather, thank you for sharing your heart with us. I have some good friends here who foster children, and I’ve seen the pain when it’s time to let them go. I love your heart and the way you minister to others. Thank you.

    1. Thank you—I’ve only had one placement so far. God was so kind to us while she was here!

  5. A beautiful story hardly ever comes with ease.. love your honesty in how hard this was yet how precious your time was with her. Thank you for sharing this!!!

  6. Thank you for writing this Heather. It is a blessing to read your heart for this precious girl and to read of how you and your family demonstrated Jesus’ love to her. Praying for your comfort.

  7. I’m so.sorry you had to experience this .My sister-in-law went through the same thing and decided they couldn’t do it again. I hope you find healing quickly.

    1. It’s hard—I can understand someone choosing not to do it again. It was a blessing, though. Thank you for your kind words

  8. What a moving story. Thank you for sharing, Heather. Most of all, thank you and your family for being there for the least of these.
    I cried with you as I read your post.
    I believe God will honor your prayers and your tears for this precious little one.
    God bless you.

  9. What a touching and personal post. I’m emotional just reading it. It’s a wonderful picture of selfless love, and I’m grateful you shared it with us. May the Lord strengthen, comfort, and encourage you, Heather. May he bring blessings on your household and protection to that your foster daughter,

    1. Thank you, Joshua. It’s an imperfect picture of what God did for us when He took US in! Thank you for your blessings

  10. What a precious story, Heather! I’m sorry for your sadness and the grief you’ve experienced, but what a perfect example of obedience to God for your family to embark on this fostering journey. May God continue to bless you all, in each and every detail along the way.

  11. Heather, I was wondering about you lately and was glad to see your post. And I was so touched. Recently, my son and precious daughter-in-law asked us for prayer as they are going to be foster parents. I couldn’t help but think of you. I’m so sorry for how difficult this was for you and yours. My heart goes out to you, sweet sister.
    Praying that God will use this (I KNOW He will) experience in mighty ways.

    1. Thank you, Beckie, for thinking of me! It was truly difficult, but it was so worth it and such a beautiful time while we had her. Thank you for your prayers!!

  12. Thank you for loving, Heather. I can’t think of anything that’s a greater example of sharing God’s love than to foster. You know it’s going to break your heart, but you do it anyway because of love. Thank you, my friend. Praying for you.

    1. It was definitely hard to let go (though I didn’t have a choice!). Thank you—she was a blessing to us

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