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  • Writer's picture Harlie Cloyd


Foster care is hard. You've heard me say that about a million times, but lately it's been really hard.

I haven't written anything in over a month because I simply couldn't find the time or energy to word vomit on you all like I love to do so much.

But I promised to stay real with you as much as possible throughout our foster care journey. My goal is to bring light to the relatively unspoken world of foster care and empower others to embark on this journey with us.

Foster care is rooted in brokenness. There are beautiful parts of it, redemptive parts. But at its core, there is heartache and suffering.

Right now, we are heartbroken.

On May 8 we took in the oldest sister (Biggest Sis) to the two foster daughters we have had since September 2019. We knew she had challenging behaviors, but after talking with her previous foster mom, we were all hoping being reunited with her sisters would help her.

Unfortunately, things got worse.

I can't and I won't share details of the girls' story or their negative behaviors, because honestly, it's not any of your business. Their behaviors are a direct result of the trauma they've endured, and that story is not mine to tell.

What I will say, is we tried absolutely everything we could. We enlisted the help of a team of therapists to help us help her. We were doing everything "by the book." We offered her our whole hearts. We fought for her, and so did her counselors and daycare teachers.

But sometimes love isn't enough. At least, in this stage of her life.

The behaviors she has are NOT her fault. I want to make that very clear. We do not, even for a second, believe she is a "bad kid." She has experienced more in her 5 years of life than I probably ever will. She is not her behavior.

I am guilty of toxic positivity, and so is my husband. We both tend to re-frame the hard things in life into positive things. Often times this serves us well.

But this time, we HAD to come to terms with reality, which is, we cannot offer this child the type of help she needs -- the type of help she deserves -- while also sufficiently caring for the other three children in our home.

It was just too much.

It broke my heart to utter the words, "I can't do this anymore."

But I had to.

There are definitely feelings of failure and guilt. We're sad because we know the statistics. Every time a child in foster care is moved to a new home, they are set back about a year in their journey towards healing.

But there's also a tremendous amount of relief... I hope that doesn't come off as cold. We just know we've made the best, safest choice for everybody in our home right now.

The day she was removed from our home, there were a lot of tears shed. I stayed home with her, packed her things, and took her to say goodbye to her sisters and teachers at daycare. I refused to send her away with her things in a trash bag, so I gave her an old Vera Bradley duffel bag of mine.

I prepared her favorite snacks and gave her a coloring book to take in the car, one of her favorite things to do. I told her how much we loved her and we would see her soon, and then I shut the door to the DHS transport car.

My prayer is her new foster home will offer her the space, resources, and love she needs to heal. I pray she believed me when I told her how much we loved her. I pray she doesn't become a statistic. I pray she succeeds.

This is the hard and ugly part of foster care.

Biggest Sis had to be placed in a home almost 3 hours away from us, and we were already an hour and a half away from their home city. This is not okay. We desperately need more people to step up and be foster parents.

I know a big concern for many of you who feel the tug is that you will get "too attached." But I am telling you, that is EXACTLY what these children need.

Imagine growing up never having felt loved or never having healthy attachments with an adult caregiver.

If my heart breaks, so that a child knows how to be loved, I would say that is absolutely worth it.

It's hard, but it is always worth it.

I look forward to the day when our two younger girls can have a healthy, stable, and safe relationship with their sister and (hopefully) other members of their birth family. What a joyous day that will be.

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