My dear friend,
I almost can't believe it. After years of trying to become a foster parent, you suddenly have a little person to care for. She arrived last week and she calls you mommy.
Welcoming a child into your home like this is just about one of the most big-hearted things you can do. I made the leap into parenthood, but it was really more like a roll down a gently sloping hill. I had months to prepare, and I had hormones getting me ready. I read and worried and dreamed while I felt my baby growing inside me. We had the privilege of getting to know each other slowly as I felt things out and eased my way in.
But you, dear friend, you have opened your heart and your home and your life to a little person that you have been preparing for and dreaming about for years, without ever knowing if the dream would come true. Those false starts must have felt like opening your arms to hug someone who might either hug you back, or shrug and walk away, or punch you in the stomach while your arms were tied to your sides.
And now that you have your little person, does it feel like you got both the hug and the punch to the gut?
Here are some true things that you may need to hear right now.
You do not need to be a perfect parent - you just need to keep showing up. You have promised to be there as a protector and you will do your best, but you will not be able to protect this child from all hurts. You have promised to be a healer, but you will not be able to heal all of the wounds your child brings from the past. Yet every day you will show up. You will be a shining light in this child's life. You will be you, and that will be more than enough.
You will not always feel at your best. Sometimes you will feel like you are at your lowest. Sometimes you may even feel horrified that your child can see that you are afraid too, and that you hurt too, and sometimes you get angry, or upset, or frustrated. We all move through emotions but they do not define who we are. Over time your child will come to know that your one constant is your love. I know you, my friend, and you know how to love. That is a beautiful gift that you are offering this child, and everything else is just noise.
Sometimes you might feel so afraid and out of your depth that you wonder if maybe you really did something crazy. Maybe you took on more than you can handle. But guess what? All parents feel this way sometimes. More than sometimes. Maybe most times. Doubt and fear and even anger and regret for the life you have left behind are so, so normal. They do not undo the love, and they are not signals that you have made a mistake. They are signals that you have decided to do something big and brave with your life. It does not need to feel right all of the time. It just... is.
And when you feel utterly alone with thoughts so shameful that you can't possibly say them out loud? That's when you call me, and you say them out loud, and I yell, "ME TOO!" and then we cry and laugh together. I will remind you that the sun comes up again every day and we just need to breathe and ride through our love and pain and joy and fear like the waves that they are.
I am so proud of you. You are a person who feels so deeply and commits so fully, and you have opened your heart in the most profound and generous way I can imagine. I feel privileged to be able to share in this journey with you as part of your village.