By Kelcey Ellis
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
There are many reasons I chose this song as my children’s lullaby. The song I sing over them as they get drowsy. When they wake up scared in the middle of the night. What I hum in their ear as we slow dance together in the middle of the living room. In addition to the overarching theme of a deep love I pray they will one day come to know, one of the big reasons is that it’s not all sunshine and smiles. Because neither is this life we live.
We recently became foster parents to a 'little bug' that puts our household at #2under3. Parenting is tough. Parenting when you are not legally the parent is even more tough. Fostering is not for the faint of heart, friends. It brings out such a complexity of emotions that I struggle to know how to respond when people ask how it’s going.
We are filled with love for this precious bundle of life that brings such joy to such uncertain times. We are hopeful our son has a sibling, however long that is, to learn how to share and love and be with. We are exhausted with middle-of-the-night feedings, naps that won’t be had, toddler tantrums trying to understand why another person came out of nowhere to take away our attention. We are angry at the system that has little bug, just six months this side of the womb in the second foster home, fifth overworked social worker, navigating Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits and monthly social worker visits and doctor’s visits and cardiologist appointments and bi-weekly infant massage appointments and...
Parent visits make this even more complicated. My heart breaks as another mom, across the screen from me, wipes away tears as she smiles at her child that rests in my arms. As she asks, “Do you think my baby knows who I am?”
Tears flow as I put a picture of this precious babe in an ornament that says “Baby’s first Christmas” and stash it in the backpack to travel onward with him, treasuring our matching family pajamas and smiles under the Christmas tree.
The cruelty of our situation is that I get to daily squish those cheeks and rub those little toes, and all she can do is watch through a screen. The cry in my heart over the brokenness that existed for mom and little bug to be separated echoes across the brokenness of humanity that existed for the Father to send His Son to the cross. “Searing loss,” another phrase from my children's lullaby, is a vividly accurate description.
We didn’t celebrate the day little bug came into our home. No baby shower or fanfare. Just a mama and a dada with hearts overflowing for someone so small that has already gone through so much trauma.
We don’t know what the future will hold for little bug and mom. The brokenness that brought little bug to us may keep him with us for a long time. Mom may go through all the steps she needs to bring little bug back into her arms for good. Or we may get the privilege of being his forever family someday. But the one thing we do know is that we love little bug with all that we are and, as long as he is with us, he is home.
For those who worry that we will get too attached: yes, we already are. And yes, the grief will be overwhelming when or if little bug leaves our home. We love little bug fiercely and want what is going to be best for him, whether that means staying with his biological parents or going to a blood relative or folding him into our forever family. And with the example of a Father who demonstrated His love for us by placing His Son with adoptive parents so that we could be adopted into His family, what other response do we have?
A wise man whose father recently unexpectedly died shared these words that resonate with my heart right now as I process the loss that was, the loss that is, and the loss that is yet to come: “What we love in those who are dear to us is a divine gift, too, and so it is right and good for us to love the Creator through loving those for whom we care and those we have lost. And in this sense, without erasing or ignoring the loss, our love comes to rest in the One who cannot be lost.”
Oh for us to find our rest in the deep, deep love of the One who cannot be lost.
 Copyright © 2021, Thankyou Music, firstname.lastname@example.org. Used by permission.
 Words by Tim Gaines, inspired by St Augustine.
Kelcey Ellis works in education as a Program Director supporting individuals with executive functioning skill needs. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Family Life Studies, a Masters of Public Health and a Mild/Moderate Education Specialist credential. She, her husband, their two-year-old and foster kids live in San Diego, California.