Forever Grateful – Saying Goodbye as a Foster Parent

I saw our baby girl last night. I saw the 2 1/2 month old baby girl who entered our lives as our foster child.

Except now she’s almost 4.

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Yet, there she was. That baby face, hidden away in the kid that stood before me. That adorable baby with the cheeks and the dark curls had somehow morphed into a young, tall, beautiful girl with long, curly hair. But the eyes were the same.


Those eyes that first looked up at me almost 4 years ago and saw me as her “mommy.”

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Her caretaker, yes. The one who got up in the middle of the night with her.


The one who took care of her when she was sick.


The one who played with her and loved on her and joyfully watched her grow.

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But it didn’t take long for that role of caretaker to grow deep roots and then flourish into the much more passionate and enduring role of mommy.

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Am I her real mommy? No. Does she have a real mommy that she knows and loves? Yes. And she’s going home to that loving mommy today after all this time. But do I still feel like her mommy in a way? Absolutely. Because that was my role. A role I took seriously and wouldn’t change for anything in the world, even now as we say goodbye to her for the third time.

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It has been a long, crazy journey being the foster parents for this precious girl off and on for almost four years and for her precious brothers off and on for two, who we’ve also helplessly fallen in love with.





But this time, saying goodbye is different. Yes, we’ve said very tearful goodbyes before. But this time…this time they go home to their mother, a mother who loves them very much. A mother who, along with their Nanna, will take good care of these kids and show them the daily love that I won’t be able to anymore.


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And she is also a mother who has been so gracious in our relationship with her over the years, even expressing her desire of keeping our relationship with her kids alive after they go home.


That’s why this time is so different. I will still mourn their absence from our home. I will still miss them terribly. And going from “mom” to  “Miss Dusty” or possibly “Aunt Dusty” will be an interesting transition. Still, I am forever grateful for the time we got to spend with all three of these precious kids.

And I will be forever grateful for every second we get to spend with them in the future.



~ by Dusty Crabtree - Author of Shadow Eyes on December 26, 2016.

2 Responses to “Forever Grateful – Saying Goodbye as a Foster Parent”

  1. Thank you for posting this beautiful story.

  2. Dusty, these children were so blessed to have you there when they needed you. I’m certain they will not forget that love you gave them, no matter what they call you, just as you will never forget them.

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