Although their hearts and homes are big enough for children, the arms of Yvonne (38) and her husband have unintentionally remained empty. This led them to apply for foster care. With love, they recently welcomed a foster child of a few months old into their hearts and homes.
Five years ago, Yvonne and her husband were finally told that they would never have biological children. “We longed for children together and thought that children would play a big role in our future. The fact that this turned out to be impossible for us causes a deep pain that will probably always be present.”
The vision of the future had to be adjusted. “We had to start thinking about what our future would look like now that we cannot have children.” The couple thinks of ways in which children could still play a role in their lives. “At the same time, we wanted to mean something to other people.”
When Yvonne and her husband hear that there is a serious shortage of foster parents, they decide to register for foster care. They make themselves available to children who can no longer live at home due to circumstances and sign up for long-term foster care, with preference for a child that is as young as possible. “We open our hearts and homes to children who would otherwise have to grow up in an unsafe home situation or to children whose own parents cannot care for them due to circumstances.”
It is always preferable for a child to grow up with its biological parents
When it comes to the care of very young children, it is often unclear whether the foster care is temporary or whether the child can eventually return to its biological parents. “It is always preferable for a child to grow up with its biological parents. This is carefully examined in the first phase after an out-of-home placement,” says Yvonne.
After Yvonne and her husband register for foster care, a family assessment takes place and the couple must follow training. “Once we were on the waiting list for foster care, we had to wait more than a year before we finally received the call.” In the meantime, the couple is preparing for the arrival of a child. “We tidied up a room and bought furniture, but we could only buy clothes once the baby arrived.”
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When the phone call finally comes after a year of waiting, it feels very surreal for Yvonne and her husband. “Especially because the baby would be delivered within a few hours. On the one hand, I was eagerly awaiting his arrival and wondering who he would be, but on the other hand, I also felt tense about how things would go and was sad for him and his parents about this difficult situation. .”
“Once he arrived and we could hold him in our arms, there was an overwhelming feeling of love. I wanted to offer him our closeness, safety and protection. It was all new to us, but fortunately we received explanations and a lot of support from foster care. In addition, we were able to contact the health clinic and our own network with all our questions.”
The interests of the children come first
“Although we knew in advance that there was a chance that our foster son would return to his biological parents, the idea that he might leave again is more difficult than I thought,” says Yvonne. “We have taken him to our hearts.” Yet she realizes very well that it is best for a child – if possible – to grow up with its biological parents. “Because we have known since his arrival how special it is to care for a child, it will be extra difficult when he goes home again. We now know what we are missing.”
We hold him in our hearts
However, the judge decides whether a child can go home again and is informed about this by the youth care workers. “The views of the parents are also taken into account. Only if it is impossible to grow up with its parents is it decided that a child will remain in a foster family.” No matter how great their desire is to care for one or more children for a long time, the interests of the children come first for Yvonne and her husband. “If it turns out that a child can go home again after some time, then we have to accept that.”
“Ever since we heard that we wouldn’t have children, Mother’s Day, for example, has been a difficult day,” says Yvonne. “Although I feel grateful for my own mother on this day, it also confronts me a little more with my loss. Since we became foster parents, I have fortunately noticed that in addition to this loss, there is also joy. The arrival of our foster son gives color to our lives. This also puts a day like Mother’s Day in a different light, making this day feel less stressful.”
At the same time, Yvonne wonders how painful this day must be for parents who, due to circumstances, cannot care for their children themselves. “When I try to empathize with them, I can well imagine their sadness at the loss of their child.” She realizes that the joy that caring for this little boy gives Yvonne and her husband means the sadness of his parents. “They are forced to miss their child. This makes it quite complex,” says Yvonne. With this in mind, they do not celebrate such a day extensively, but try to find a way that is suitable for their foster son, his parents and for themselves.
I look forward to what’s to come; one day there will be no more sorrow
Yvonne realizes that they are not the only ones dealing with unfulfilled longing, loss and sadness. “There is so much pain, sadness and injustice in the world. I think that this suffering is close to God’s heart and that He suffers with us. It is sometimes difficult to understand why God does not intervene (yet), she admits. “I also sometimes experience this as a struggle in my own life. Still, I look forward to what I believe is yet to come; a new heaven and a new earth, where God will dwell among men and wipe away every tear from their eyes. That gives us hope!”