After daycare drop off, I have fifteen minutes where I typically drive in complete silence. There are days that I call friends to check-in, other days I worship…most days, I sit in silence and listen. I think. I talk to God. It’s become a cherished drive to work every morning.
On yesterday’s gloomy drive, I had this thought repeat over and over in my head:
in a perfect world it wouldn’t be like this
in a perfect world it wouldn’t be like this
And it’s true. It wouldn’t be…but unfortunately it is.
Children shouldn’t be taken from their home and from their parents…but devastatingly, it happens.
We shouldn’t have these two beautiful kiddos with us but here we are – having our hearts wrecked by them.
We are completely attached, all-in in loving them – through time and lots of conscious effort, we’ve gained the attachment we feared before taking our jump into foster care.
And boy is it a beautiful thing.
We now get to have our little one lift her hands with a big smile on her face, wanting to be held by us. We now get to have a solid five minute back and forth “I love you, good night” before he actually begins to fall asleep. And there are all these other moments that I don’t want to share…because they’re our’s. And I love those memories.
In a perfect world, we would have never known these two. But in this far from perfect world, we get to love and be loved by these children while we walk through all the unknown with them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered questions with “I don’t know buddy”. It pains me that I don’t know and that waiting is all we can do. So while we wait…we attach. Attachment has been why they’ve thrived in our care. Attachment is the thing that will cause so much pain if/when they return to parents but it is also the very thing they need to thrive today.
So we will continue to let ourselves be wrecked by these little lives. They matter far too much to stop. And listen…I know the possible outcomes. The sheer thought of them leaving causes a lump to rise up in my throat and my heart to literally ache. It’s not happening now but…it could happen. What we’ve learned so quickly is that nothing is certain until it is. So we take it one day at a time, praying God would help us soak up every moment we get with them, for however long we get to share in them.
One thing we all have in common here is that we don’t get forever on this side of heaven. None of us do. So I pray, like Moses prayed: Lord, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. … May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:12, 17)
Maybe this could be the reminder we all need to take a broader view for even a moment. Let us not take for granted the days we get with those we love. I say that all while the memories of screaming fits, whining, and me dealing with a level of anger that I never knew existed in me come flooding in my mind. I know it’s hard. Offer grace to yourself and to them – I’m learning how to live out this invaluable piece of advice as we speak. Choose to take the time to create memories, really look into their eyes, laugh with them, and play. I pray that the work, the actions you choose today will be blessed by our gracious and merciful God. That no matter how short a time you have or however long you get…you choose to attach even when fear begins to creep in; especially when it threatens to convince you that distancing your heart will make it easier. It won’t. You’ll miss out on so much. (And I’m saying this to myself by the way. If it helps you too…I’m so glad.) With my eyes fixed on Jesus…I will follow His lead and move in close like He always did and like He always does (John 12:20-36).
And so here we are, living a story only God could write. Becoming first-time parents through foster care and having it completely flip our life…
frankly, I don’t want the old one back
Foster care has wrecked any ounce of eloquence I thought I once had. Seriously…I have always loved written expression and now, one look at my journal and you’ll see a big ol’ jumbled mess. I started this journey thinking I knew, thinking things were clear. And now…the only thing I know is that I don’t know anything but have an immense amount of gratitude that I am known, that these children are known, that their parents are known and that the One who Is will always Be. I am grateful that the old is gone. Following God into this calling has been worth every hard part in our [seemingly long yet short] three+ months. I resolve to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:1-2). And in Him I am confident. I don’t know what is best here but He is our “why” and He is our Light, illuminating ours lives (Ephesians 5:8-16) while we walk with these precious children in the dark, unknown places. We will never walk alone.
The picture has absolutely nothing to do with this topic. It’s just my dogs and I can safely post pictures of them.
This was taken on a day that I was “forced” into a personal day. I had a minor mental breakdown the night before and could not get myself together. All the nonstop going without taking time…a significant amount of time to regroup spiritually and mentally took its toll on me. It wiped me out. I am grateful for that day – to walk without an end in mind, to leave the dishes in the sink, and simply be. I can tell you…the world didn’t end. My stopping and resting didn’t cause our lives to fall apart. What it did was make me better, more available to face our life. I am learning the art of rest. And like my dad continues to say to me: “Life is a game of adjustments.” So we learn and we adjust.
Last one I swear…
If you want to learn more and get your hands on some awesome resources, please check out The Forgotten Initiative. Its podcast has been so HUGE in getting us started. And of course…if you’re in PA (or one of the other six states they have services in) and want to get information on becoming foster parents (that does not mean you’re locked in…it’s literally just information) please contact KidsPeace. You won’t regret it. God bless you on your journey.