I got a placement call last night. My first placement call in over two years. It came while I was signing a medical form for my daughter, the first medical form I’ve been able to sign. I felt my phone buzz and I interrupted my internal reverie on being a legal parent to see the name of the foster agency on the phone. I thought that was odd timing and didn’t answer.

I said no to a handful of placements before my family ended up as it is today. They didn’t work out due to needs or timing. It was never easy, but I forgot how difficult it is. I didn’t even say no to this one, I just didn’t call back.

I don’t have the space. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the energy. We need to work on getting our little family secure and stable first. 

I expected it to be easier to say no from this place of being a permanent and complete family. I thought it would feel more right. I know this break is right for our family and these children, my children, are my priority now.

Except. This child was the age of my children when they first entered foster care. Suddenly, from the side of a parent, it’s not easier. It’s harder, and even more horrifying. What happens now?

I know, in theory, what happens now. Someone else says yes. Someone else takes this little one. Hopefully that someone else is someone who will hold and cuddle them, someone who will sense their fear and try to comfort them. Hopefully that someone else isn’t already as stressed as me.

I’m angry. I’m angry because I can’t unsee it anymore. I can’t snuggle this baby right now, but I know a lot of people who could. I know that if my question to them was, “Want to hold a baby?” they would say yes. Yet when the question is “want to become a foster parent?” the answer is no.

This is wrong. All of this is wrong. Two years of foster care burned out my adrenal glands and broke my brain completely, and I thought it had used up all my emotions but apparently not, because suddenly, here they are again.  Here’s something alive and on fire way deep down saying this is wrong. Someone must hold and love that baby.

I know it can’t be me, not right now. So could someone else please step up? Maybe even someone else that I know, one of so many who like to fawn over my children and oh they’re so beautiful and oh they’re so precious and oh they’re so lucky (they aren’t, not at all). Maybe one of you would like to try this now? Because all of the children are beautiful, and they are all precious. I can’t unsee them as my children.

For those who want to help but have legitimate barriers, please know that you are doing exactly what you can right now. Before you know it, “maybe someday” will be past and it will become right now. Soon you will be sitting on your couch, looking at your carpet, remembering how it used to be clean.

For everyone else, please step up. If you’re waiting for some sense of “calling,” it both does and doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist but if you need it to, here it is. This post was it. You are called. Pick up the phone.