Why Would Anyone Set Himself Up For Heartbreak?
I’m not sure I can answer that, but I think that there are those people in the world who are willing to hurt their own hearts if that’s what it takes to help heal another’s, and that’s the best answer I can give you. Well, at least it was until I actually sat down with Robbie and Shelley Williams, foster parents who live in the little town of Comanche, Texas, and asked them that very question. Why?
Shelley actually gave me her answer in a Bible verse, “And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:5
The Williams have only been foster parents for the past ten months, but it does seem as though they truly have found their calling.
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that’s waiting for us. -Joseph Campbell
“It all began last year at ballgames,” Shelley told me. “We were going to a lot of games, and I began to watch a good friend of mine who was a foster mother. She would have her foster children with her, and I saw her loving them just like they were her own children. I actually even held some of her babies, and I just realized that this is what God wanted me to do.
“I love babies and toddlers, and if they need me to love them, protect them, rear them, or wake every three hours and feed them, then that’s the job for me. It is one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever had, just knowing that I am giving a child a loving and safe home, even if it is only for a little while.”
Of course, God does have a way of laughing at our best laid plans, doesn’t he? Robbie and Shelley were prepared to take a child, had asked for the child to be anywhere from age three and down, and when that first call came, the age was perfect…an infant…times two…TWINS!
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
-Winnie the Pooh
So, for the past ten months the Williams have been foster parents to two darling twin boys who will turn a year old on July 16, 2014. Then, eight days after that birthday party, Shelley and Robbie will learn what is to happen to the twins. At that time a judge will rule as to whether the boys are adoptable or whether they will remain in foster care with the Williams family.
And again I had to ask the couple how they would handle it. If that is the day when it is time to say goodbye, will it have been worth it? The answer I received is the same one I’ve been getting all year from Shelley.
“Thank goodness some of us just choose to dive into this calling because if no one did, these children would have no one! You never know how long you will have your children, you just love them daily like tomorrow is the last day. And you praise God for the time you are blessed with them.”
And then I looked at Robbie because for some reason, and even though he does not know it, his is the heart I’ve carried a little tighter in my own heart this past year, wondering just how wounded he might be on the day that goodbye has to come.
“It means the world to me to be able to care for a child who has not experienced the lifestyle that all kids should experience. Yes, my heart will break, but I will know I gave them my all when they were with us.
“I cannot imagine what goes through the minds of these precious, innocent children. I wish no children in the world would ever have to go through the pain [of being taken from their parents]. I will always open my heart and arms to any child God calls us to care for. We believe love is always worth it.”
And just so you understand the deepness of the well from which Robbie uttered these words, he has never been able to speak them aloud, instead, choosing to write the feelings that he just can’t bring himself to verbalize.
And as an outsider looking in, I can truthfully say that these are some very blessed little boys. It only takes one short glance at the boxes piled (The family is moving to a new home.), toys scattered, babies cooing, and Robbie calmly tending to it all to feel the calm that should be chaos and the intense love that holds it all together.
In fact, if one day the twins were able to remember the first year of their lives together, and if someone were to ask them about their experiences while living in a foster home, I’m certain they would both raise their eyebrows, look at each other with puzzled expressions, and answer, “Foster home? What’s that?”