On Not Saying Goodbye

Our kindness advent led us to the library yesterday.  The kids made bookmarks and then left them in books on the library shelves in the kids area.  We added this activity last year and the kids were quick to add this one again this year when they were narrowing down our kindness for this December.  In the past I’ve been ahead of the game a bit…getting them to prepare the day before, but this year we’re kind of doing most everything the same day.  This has actually made things better in my opinion…somewhat slower and easier.  So yesterday after school they crafted all their bookmarks…paper, stickers, markers, pompoms, hole punch and ribbons…and then we headed to the library after dinner.  The pompoms were in heavy rotation and there was one hot glue gun casualty, but we all survived.

Today we are taking cookies to the fire and police department down our street.  This is when all those boxes of Otis Spunkmeyer cookies we purchased to support our school come in handy.

And tomorrow we are taking a special treat to a Salvation Army bell ringer.


It’s been almost 3 weeks since we took our foster daughter home.  Over the past weeks our family has done a lot of talking about our role as a foster family.  I’ve done a lot of thought processing and thinking about all those big feelings.  Lots of friends and family have asked how we’re doing and the truth is we’re doing good.  We’ve gotten to see her and her parents several times.  Babysitting and snuggles in church.  There’s even a sleepover planned for this week which we’re all super excited about.

When I received the official word she would be going home I immediately broke down into tears and proceeded to cry on and off the entire day.  This completely surprised me because I felt like we had gone to great lengths to continually remind ourselves and our kiddos of what the goal at hand was and that was reunification.  I had lots of feelings that popped up like “Well now what about us?  What are we to do now?”  I kind of felt like someone owed us a shoulder to cry on or something.  I was thinking about myself and how I felt instead of them and how they felt.  I realized how selfish I was being…real honest feelings for sure, but selfish ones.  From the beginning…before she was even placed in our home…our entire family had been praying for reunification.  I cannot even count the number of prayers I heard come from our children’s mouths asking God to allow her to go home.  And in my moments of “what about me” I was missing the miracle.

Over the 10 months we formed a relationship and deep love for her parents and we all so wanted them to succeed…to flourish…to make it.  We were their #1 cheerleaders because everyone deserves to have someone cheering them on and telling them they can absolutely do it!  I told our kids what an honor and privilege we have getting to see God answer a prayer in the manner in which we had been petitioning Him for over a year.  We were seeing Him bring about restoration and redemption in only a way He could and we got front row seats.

We moved from feelings of “what about us and our feelings” to a manner of “wow, look what God has done.”  And it was quite amazing to move between those two big emotions.  We miss her for sure and we still pray for her and her family everyday.  We still talk about her daily.  We didn’t want it to be a “goodbye, so long and good luck” moment, but a “you can do this, we’re not going anywhere and we’re here for you” moment.

When we all loaded up in the car…all 7 of us…to take her home that night, Josh Kelley and I had already prepped everyone for a quick drop off.  A non-intrusive drop off.  I tend to be the person who would want to go in and unpack all her things and have “my moment” with her, but Josh had reminded me we needed to respect their space and their moment with her.  They had worked so hard and she was theirs.  And he was right.

Being a foster parent has taught me a great deal of putting myself in the other person’s shoes…it’s constantly on the brain when you are caring for someone else’s child and you know they are missing the moments you are having with their kiddo.  I know we have so much to learn still, but we’ve definitely learned how important it is to be respectful of the other party involved.  They are real people with real hurts and struggles and hurdles to overcome just like us.  They are no different than us at all and we are all in this together.

So now we wait.  We are back on the list and already praying for the next sweet kid and their family who we’ll get the privilege of meeting and loving on like crazy.

Happy Wednesday.


  1. How awesome that you don’t have to say good-bye and can keep cheering this family on! Pretty amazing to read about the way it should be, even though very hard. Very proud of you and your family! Thanks for doing what you do and doing it in love!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing all of these intimate details about foster care. We just finished our classes and now are moving on to the next steps. I appreciate your honesty.

  3. novota@live.com says:

    You live the Christmas spirit. So admire you! And, your children are growing up with that experience. So much love!

  4. My husband and I have talked of doing foster care but had surprise baby #5! so we have put that on hold for the time being. I am loving following your journey because I believe it’s helping me prepare my heart for when the time comes for us to love and care for someone else’s child. Thank you for being real. ❤️

  5. Shaking my head yes to all of the above. So much love and prayers your way. The journey is so hard, but so beautiful and He is good. I JUST read this and I have to share with you–because I think you will get it too. “When this season of life is finished and the full story is told, we will not have even one complaint with the leadership of God.”–unknown. I needed that one for myself. Thankful for kinship in this together.

  6. Love this so much. I just want to print this out and munch on the words like a snack every day as we consider doing foster care.

  7. Love this.

  8. I do not know you personally … and yet I have been wondering how you were doing since your little one was taken home. I love reading your blog because you are truly living your life as the hands and feet of Jesus and it is so inspiring. You are so honest and real … and I can’t wrap my mind around how you do all that you do. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  9. Each day during this busy, wonderful, amazing, and hectic season, you have given each of us who reads your blog, the privilege of seeing what Christmas is truly about…..the season of being selfless, giving, forgiving, and most of all, LOVING! Thank you for being one of those families who can open their hearts and homes and for teaching your sweet children how important it is to being God’s hands and feet! May you and your precious crew being completely engulfed in Jesus’ love this Christmas!!!

  10. Beautiful story!

  11. Sara Ellenwood says:

    Laura! Thank you for sacrificing your heart like Jesus! Thank you for what you are doing and putting it out for the rest of us foster parents to read. We got a newborn and a 13 mo old (that went between houses as mom and dad were homeless) so we will pretty much be the most consistent adults in their lives that they have ever had. You encourage me to continue cheering mom on though her rights for her two older kids were recently terminated. God has a bigger plan in all of this, I just know it! These past three weeks going from no kids to 2 little ones and no sleep has been one of the hardest things we have ever done!!! We almost thought of bringing them back :O But now that we are over the shock and overwhelmed feelings a bit more, the one feeling that resounds deep in my soul is “IT FEELS GREAT NOT TO BE STINKING COMFORTABLE ANYMORE!” It is an incredible filling that says “this pain is us stretching into the image and hands and feet of Jesus to those who DESPERATELY need Him!” I already ache for the day we have to give these kids back or up for adoption, but I am so thankful for the pain of serving and sacrifice over the empty pit of comfortablitliy and stagnation!

Leave A Comment