Hey, I’m Scared Too: Diary of a New Foster Mom


We had been in the process of adopting from Uganda for the past 7 months, when on a random Monday laws changed that caused our adoption to hit the brakes with a screeching halt. I was wrecked. Beside myself, really. A good friend who loves me hard and well, asked some prodding questions to get me thinking. I know she really wants the best for me, so instead of taking offense to her questions – I took them to heart. “Are you for orphans in general? Or just international orphans?” She went on to say, “Because I know there is a desperate need in our community for foster families, and maybe you should think about it.”

Hey, I'm Scared Too: Diary of a New Foster Mom | Duluth Moms Blog{ Photo credit: New Earth Natural Light }

For the sake of honesty, I’m going to keep it really real here. Foster care has always seemed scarier to me than international adoption – which is maybe why I hadn’t given it much airtime in my heart as we looked over our options. International adoptions seemed pretty certain. You pay your dues + you get your home study + you fill out your mile high stack of paperwork = you get to bring home a child. I had romanticized the whole situation in my brain. But here I was, I had done all the things and government changes half a world away slammed the brakes on all of my plans.

I believe people are made for different journeys, but the more I have dug into some major truth and into my own heart I have rooted up this reality: If you are for orphans – you ARE for all orphans. You are for the orphan in your community AND the ocean a world away. You don’t have to pick one. One is not more valiant or more courageous. Loving brave means looking with compassion at every need – near and far and asking, “How can I engage?”

Hey, I'm Scared Too: Diary of a New Foster Mom | Duluth Moms Blog{ Photo credit: New Earth Natural Light }

A month after that conversation, my husband and I sat across from a county social worker in our dining room. Our two kiddos were running circles around us yet she was grace filled as she answered our million and one questions. I found out a lot that day around my dining room table that I can’t un-know. I heard about needs in our little city on the edge of Lake Superior, that I can’t forget. She shared about full shelters, and foster homes at their max capacities because the need is just too much. The sheer desperation for families to make room at their tables, and plant seeds of hope into children’s lives is at an all time high.

My husband saw my tear streaked face and the heartache I couldn’t numb – and we both knew we were in. We got a few papers notarized that day and ordered a set of bunk beds that night. But here is the reality: I’m still scared. We are taking it one day at a time, one placement at a time. There are no guarantees, absolutely zero security. We are open to being a permanent placement for a child but we must prepare our hearts for saying goodbye to kids we will grow to love. We know there will be growing pains, and that it will hurt at times. But the good kind of love gives with no strings attached – it just loves without conditions of what it is going to get back in return. We have 2 (soon 3) small children at home, and we are aware that they will go through these same hardships alongside us. But our dream is that they would learn to dish out hope like it is their job and discover what it means to meet someone where they are at. We expect tough days, but we also anticipate our 3 kiddos being filled as they pour out to each child that walks through our door.

I don’t know where our story will go. I don’t have a single clue when we will get our first placement or what their beautiful faces will look like. I don’t know their names or what it will be like to tuck them into bed for the first time in a strange place to them. I don’t know if there will be more good days than bad. And I don’t know if the seeds of hope we plant into their lives in the time they are with us will ever bloom someday into anything beautiful. But I do know – there is a mighty need and we have some extra space in our square footage and hearts. I do know that I don’t have all the answers or any superpowers but one small, “yes.”

Hey, I'm Scared Too: Diary of a New Foster Mom | Duluth Moms Blog{ Photo credit: New Earth Natural Light }

There will be more to write about as we walk this journey out step by step. But in the meantime, there are carseat classes to take and fire extinguishers to be bought. There are beds to make up and prayers to be uttered as I create our home into a haven. There are fears to be addressed and extra leaves to be added to our wood table. Life has a way of surprising you – of writing a different story than you may have ever dreamt up. Of teaching you to hold everything a bit more freely because you never know the gifts to be taken or the ones to be sweetly placed into your palms.

If you are interested in learning more about the need in our community for foster families, and what it entails to open your home to children in need please visit: http://www.stlouiscountymn.gov/GOVERNMENT/Licensing/Child-Foster-Care-Licensing

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Anna McParlan
Anna was born + raised along the shores of Lake Superior. The water and the dear family and friends that call Duluth home are the magnet that keep her and her growing family adoring this place. Anna married her high school crush and together they are raising two darling compassionate adventurers with a love of fresh air and grace. Anna loves all things that shout of beauty, hope, truth, and pointing people towards joy. Her love for writing started in kindergarten where she would come home with long stapled together novels- recently found in her Moms chest of saved childhood projects. That passion for stringing together words would only bloom in the many years to come. When Her Dad battled brain cancer for 17 years, writing became her safe place to wrestle with both joy and pain as well as a place to search for beauty. Today you can find Anna running wild in the things that bring her joy. Falling more in love with her tall sweetheart of a husband. Doing her best to raise kids who chase after truth, love a good hike, and give away kindness. Gathering friends old and new in their home to share good food, hearts, and life. Filling out adoption paperwork to bring home their third (and maybe 4th!) babe from Uganda home. Chasing sunsets with her minis + capturing couples promising their forevers as a wedding photographer at Along An Inland Sea Photography. She shares about heaven breaking into the everyday mundane on Instagram where she likes to mini blog and post about those darling babes of hers-- pop over and say hello to her on Instagram


  1. Bless you for putting yourself and your family out there! I have been a foster parent in this area for over 18 years. I understand many of your fears, but the truth is, the kids right here in our own beautiful little town do need people like you. I would be lying to you if I said it won’t be hard because it will. But I can promise you that it will be worth it. Reach out for help when you need it and know that you are not alone. Your own children will go through it all with you and during tough times remember that you are raising them to be kind, caring, compassionate people that will help when needed, and that they will be better people for it, because they will. Good luck to you in your journey and feel free to contact me anytime!

    • Thank you for your kind words Shelly + especially your encouragement. I’m so thankful for the incredible people who have paved the way before me. Thank you for championing young foster mamas and for doing the hard work of brave messy love for so long to our community.

  2. Love you! Your hearts are large…having done foster care, I know just how hard it is to let a child go! Just take things one day at a time and you will be fine!

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