Dear Biological Mom of Our Foster Daughter,
Neither of us would have chosen to have our lives collide this way.
The first time I met you, I was picking up our foster daughter from a visit at the child welfare office. You had a backpack full of her clothes and favorite books for me. I was nervous. Were you?
You didn’t show it. You walked confidently with your child in hand and thanked me for meeting you face-to-face and for loving your daughter. We shared pictures and laughed together at the little person you knew so well; I was quickly studying and learning.
The next time I met you was at the courthouse. I walked into the building, and you wrapped me up in a big hug and introduced me to your family. That’s when I knew that we were going to be okay in the midst of navigating the awkward, heart-wrenching foster system.
We rooted for you. We still do.
Our stories are starkly different, and foster care seems to only highlight the inequities. Proximity to you spotlighted the differences in our opportunities, choices, families, and our future outlooks. It made systematic injustice and Oregon’s shortfall of resources for families in poverty very personal for me.
I learned to truly love you.
All the while, my husband and I loved your child with wild abandon and cared for her every need. When sickness hit, we comforted her late at night. When she was confused or hurting, we helped to navigate emotions. We lamented over her story, and prayed that both despite and because of this chapter, that she would be a leader who spread love and light to the world. We cried. We delighted. We loved.
And then it hit me.
You and I aren’t that different. You wiped dirty noses, and loved without boundaries. You beat yourself up over foster care’s role in your family’s story. You hoped and dreamed and prayed.
Life isn’t simple. In the messiness, we are given the opportunity to believe the best, and a choice to come alongside. We make choices to humanize rather than villainize, or to find areas of commonality or seek judgment.
I’m proud of us both. We’ve chosen the better—albeit the harder—path. It’s awkward, confusing, and emotionally complex, but the journey is also filled with joy, love, and friendship. I’m better because of our meaningful conversation and the moments we’ve shared with the little girl we both love.
Neither of us are limited by our greatest failure. You’re working hard to become the hero in your own story for your daughter, and I get a front row seat.
The Foster Mom