[TESTIMONY] Foster care when you know you will have to say goodbye
Five-and-a-half years ago the foster care journey began for Linley and Phillip Todd from St Luke’s, Liverpool.
They now have a family of four children – two biological and two through long-term foster care.
“I grew up with an awareness of fostering and God clearly kept bringing it to my attention,” Linley Todd
“God has been planting seeds since my childhood. It was something I discussed with my husband early on, although we decided to wait until our youngest child was in school. We felt their ages would then mean they could understand what fostering was and how it would affect our family.”
It hasn't been easy
It hasn’t been an easy journey for the Todds. “There is no sugar coating the failings of the foster care system,” she says. “[You may experience] case workers who fail to meet your expectations, the politics and personal agendas and what can sometimes seem like a lack of child focus. You enter the role with rosecoloured glasses in a way, and it’s not until you see how politics can play out that you gain wisdom about which situations to advocate for and which to leave in God’s hands.”
Todd says that choosing to become a carer is a leap of faith – something “definitely not for the faint-hearted”.
“It has challenged us in so many ways – ways that we never thought possible,” Linley Todd
“In our current season, more days are difficult than not. We always come back to the fact that God has our back and did not set us on this path to abandon us but to see the little ones he placed with us grow and flourish, and for them to get to know him as their Lord and Saviour.”
Even with the difficulties, the Todds have experienced support from family and friends during their time as carers. “Some were apprehensive because of their own preconceived ideas as to what fostering was,” Todd says. “Others were concerned in relation to placements ending and how our hearts would cope with goodbyes.”
And while both Linley and Phillip Todd acknowledge that goodbyes are hard, both believe the joys make it worth it. “Nothing can bring more joy and a smile to your face than to see a child grow and meet milestones,” she says.
“Sometimes those milestones are hard-fought and require extra effort. It can take patience and time to see results. But our greatest joys have been seeing children we’ve cared for settle quickly into long-term placements with relatives. We know that adjustment has been made possible by the attachment that they’ve made with us during their time in our family.
“Yes, our hearts are hurting at the time but we’ve done what God has called us to do – provide love and care. Our full-time role is done and now it’s time to watch from afar.”