Even When



Our first foster arrived a few years ago on a Friday afternoon.

Our license wasn’t even active yet and I was completely unsure of what to expect, ask and feel. We were re-fngerprinted at our kitchen table by a case worker we had never met so we could take baby girl as a non-relative placement. During this time, our precious girl and her sister sat in a running car in our driveway, supervised by a transporter-for almost an hour.

Screwy, stressful start.

We are almost four dozen kids into this wreckage and I still find myself frustrated, annoyed and disappointed in a system, people and processes.

But I’m invested in this injustice. I’m in over my head and drowning in the desperate lives of this community we call home. You feel it too. We can be paralyzed by the pain pulsing through our powerlesness, becoming bitter and jaded…or we can press on, continue the fight and endure.

It’s a choice, sometimes an agonizing one. But nevertheless, one I’ll keep choosing.

I will keep saying yes even when things don’t go the way I planned.

Even when case workers don’t do what I ask or keep their word.

Even when the referrals take days, then weeks, to even be entertained.

Even when family care counselors surprise me sans makeup, braless in my pajamas, holding a naked toddler and a cold cup of coffee. Yes, even then.

Even when every seven days for an over-cap visit almost drives me to drink.

Even when my babies’ naps are interrupted because visitation can’t occur at any. other. time. Lame.

Even when I’m not invited to staffings or made aware of critical deadlines and I’m treated like the hired help instead of the sole provider for this kid’s entire everything. Don’t mind me, I’m just the foster mom.

I’ll keep saying yes when no one really seems to think my opinion matters.

Even when I feel unheard, invisible and insignificant, I won’t stop.

When the system sucks and attempts to steal every hint of hope I had in humanity and the weight of wondering what will happen to these little lives and their mamas and daddies is crushing, I will say yes.

Even if no one sees these scars of sacrifice and the trail of tears I’m saturating this sinking sand with.

Even when the glares of judgement about my biracial, black, and hispanic babies are relentless. I’ll keep saying yes to the public scrutiny of having too many kids. I’ll keep going even when I feel less than or not enough.

Even when I have to sit for two hours at the WIC office for cheese and milk and bread I could care less about. I will say yes again and again to immunizations at the health department because Medicaid doesn’t cover those at my primary pediatrician. I will make trip after trip to After Hours because the liability of letting a little one that isn’t legally mine stay sick because I didn’t act in time is always at the back of my brain.

Even when licensing loses my paperwork and people are rude. When my eyes are stuck from all the rolling they do and I get a new case manager that has less life experience than my ten-year-old, even then.

Even when the GAL knows nothing about the case and I have to explain all the details and catch her up. She hasn’t even seen the kids in person but she has paperwork to hand in.

Even when transporters don’t know how to install carseats and I have to unstrap, fix and properly place the seat when I’m already running late. #professionalcarseatinstallerhere

Even when others don’t show up and the rest of the world isn’t enough. Even when my family and neighbors and church ask me if we are done with this stuff because don’t we have enough? EVEN THEN!

The interruptions, annoyances and absurdity of the broken welfare system can break us or inspire us to push through the poppycock that prevents so many from continuing their pursuit.

If we let little offenses build walls around our breaking hearts, who will change things?

We can’t quit. We can’t give up. We can’t say no.

The enemy says it’s stupid to have to lock up your laundry detergent and give an infant “allowance”. And so do I, because really.

But Jesus says to fix our eyes.

We are willing to jump through every hoop, sign every sheet, and check every box because that’s how we hold little hearts and are used by him to break every chain.

Even when kids return to the darkness we have fought so hard to keep them from, even then, especially then, we keep saying YES.

This fight is far from over. The war is won but the battle rages and people need you. Lives are lost when you let the other side have the final word.

Be victorious mama, not a victim.

There is so much work left to do. And so much heartache to heal. And to that, even when, we keep saying yes.


  1. Lisa R. | 8th Feb 17

    Amazing read and just what my heart needed today. Some days it is so hard to press on…but we fix our eyes on Jesus and He gives us the strength to wade through the mess.

  2. Sandra Westbrook | 9th Feb 17

    Kristy, I so love to read your Posts! Unless you have Fostered you have no idea of the cost & hardness. I know your thoughts are true because I have been there. Had to stop after 30 years, but I loved doing it! Took a toll on me but I Really miss it. If Health was better I Would return. Too many need a Safe Place. Thanks for doing your part!

    • Kristy Sutton | 9th Feb 17

      You’re a inspiration. Seeing your littles is still ingrained on my memory.

  3. Shelly Ivins | 9th Mar 17

    Oh my word. TRUTH! This is my life! I have wanted to quit all last fall, but we pressed on and turned in renewal paperwork today. (But scanned it all though because we just learned of a friend whose was “lost.) Thanks for the encouragement to press on today!

  4. Colleen | 13th Mar 18

    This is beautiful and inspiring. Just one quick question. I didn’t understand the part when you said giving an infant “allowance.” Can you please explain?

  5. Natalie McVay | 17th Mar 18

    We are just about to begin this journey, you share such an encouraging message. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  6. Boholistic Mom Foster Parent - Our Life Thus Far with Foster Care - Boholistic Mom | 2nd Apr 18

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  7. Kaitlyn | 6th Jun 18

    Amazing and real!! Thank you for sharing this!
    I love your blog

  8. Rose B | 5th Jan 19

    I have been fostering for 37 years this story made me cry things have been the same for lots of years the last 15 has been the most difficult I mostly do teenagers at this point I did many many babies I watch them grow up. Some of them had babies that returned to the system its a never ending story. I was going to quite so many times then the call would come in this one really needs you, God would whisper your time is not up yet. Story after story we would hang on now after all these years 470 plus children later we are still going (I want to say strong) not sure that is true non the less we are still doing what we feel is God’s call. The only heartbreak is we can’t seem to change the system, even though the children live in our homes. God bless all of you as you except the call.

  9. Julia Arpag | 24th Jun 20

    I have no words besides thank you, thank you, thank you. Beautiful and right and true. Amen.

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