I wrote the blog below over a month ago and didn't click publish. Some of you probably know we had a court hearing last week...and after 15 months of inconsistency and irresponsibility and having no real investment in his daughter's life, the judge ordered that our baby girl start having weekend sleepovers with her birth father. Starting immediately. We walked out of the courtroom feeling confused and heart broken. I've been trying so hard to make sense of it...to find the wisdom in her decision. I think I might know what she's trying to do...but I hate that it's at our baby girl's expense. And you know what? I understand that we're all in this for mom and dad...DCS, us, the various providers, we're all doing our "part" to help them. So they can improve, get on their feet, learn how to parent appropriately. But my God...there has to be a timeline. Especially with babies who can in no way understand what's going on. At some point, can it please be about them? I think if the judge could feel what I feel...what the baby feels. When it's time for a visit and she clings to me so tight, refusing to go to the lady that transports her. I can't peel her off of me so I have to be the one who puts her in the car with tears streaming down her face while she reaches out for me, and I just have to shut the car door. Like a robot. And I'm supposed to protect her...when I know she'll come back home smelling like an ashtray. She has asthma. If the judge could for a second, feel what that's like, watch what we're doing to this baby who has no voice in this, who didn't choose any of this. Would she have made that decision a week ago? If there's a heart in her chest, I would think not. Why do we hold the hands of adults for months upon months while their babies live and grow up and bond with another family? The children are the ones who lose in all this. Not foster families. Not birth parents. We got to make our choices and put ourselves in these spaces. I would say sorry for the rant. But I'm really not. That was real and honest and raw and this is hard.
So I wrote this blog over a month ago...just kind of explaining our hearts and who we are and why we do this and how on earth we find ourselves in this place...again.
Can I tell you what foster care means to us? It's a ministry. A way for us to be world changers, a way to connect with people we would otherwise never cross paths with, a way for us to share what God has given us, a way to love and live beyond ourselves, it's a witness to our faith. What it has never been...is a means, an avenue that will hopefully lead us to adoption. We have never invited someone's child into our home with the intent of making them forever ours. Even if my heart starts to wander in that direction (because I'm human), I don't pray for it. I talk to God about it...He comforts me, gives me peace, and we keep going. Honestly, it feels wrong to pray for it.
That being said, there's something that happens. I know it's real and I know God's giving me permission. I remember it with our kids...I call it the shifting. I was so blessed to know their birth mom, blessed to be a resource and have that relationship my heart craved. And by God's grace, I still get to have her in my life...in our lives. But once we reached that 12 month mark, something happened. I won't go into all the details of what we experienced in those 12 months, but 12 months...and there was no end in sight. Nothing to make us hopeful or even encouraged about reunification. And all of the sudden, the fight I had for their birth mom shifted and I began to fight for our children. I believe God did it. He had other plans for His children and He wrapped His arms around me and said...It's okay and I want you to feel this way. I'll pave the road for you, just keep running. And once I had that freedom, I ran like the wind and His blessings were too numerous to count. He gave us the greatest gift...they have our last name.
We were in the process of adopting through a private agency when they first came. He was born 6 months into their "stay" with us. He was our forever baby, he was planned for, prayed for, pleaded for, and in His perfect time, God said yes and he was in our arms. That is how adoption should look, right? Wrong. God has so many plans for us...and sometimes He uses pure hearts and intentions and we give Him our "yes" and then BAM! He blesses big. He leads you down a very particular path and reveals plans that blow your mind. And He gives you your huge, deep, desires...when you least expect it. Sometimes, I fall on my face with gratitude. He has given us so much. He trusts us. I say this a lot, but at times, I still can't believe this is my real life. But it is...and I look at their faces and I'm literally overwhelmed by His goodness.
So flash forward to now...our baby girl. We welcomed her into our home on June 6th, 2014. She was 6 weeks old. Pure heart, pure intentions, ready to put ourselves out there and simply love. After almost 16 months of being completely in love with this baby girl in our home...the shifting has started. I don't yet feel the permission, the freedom, I felt before. But I feel like it's coming, and we need prayer. It's a weird thing...praying to a God who completely knows your heart...and then telling Him that He knows your heart, but He also knows what's best for His baby. And I don't.
So please pray for us, for clarity and peace for our family, for protection over our baby, that her heart and mind would be unscarred no matter the outcome, and she'll grow to fall in love with Jesus. Just pray us through this chapter. And hey...by all means...if He's given you permission to pray "that" prayer for us, go right ahead! A friend reminded me this passed weekend...that when we pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. I instantly had this image in my head of Him going to war for our baby. There were so many people praying this weekend. What a privilege! The Holy Spirit is alive and well and He was there with her every second...keeping her safe, guarding her lungs, maybe even working on the heart of her father. I found so much comfort in that image and the reminder that prayer is power.
Thank you prayer warriors, so very much.
In His love,
Crazy Mama Crook
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
I love the way she claps when I walk into her bedroom. I love the way she takes off in her super speed crawl when she sees me walking toward her with a diaper. I love her weird nervous baby giggle she's had since I can remember. I love her baby smell. I love the way she goes into spaz mode and loses control of her limbs when daddy gets home. I love watching her constantly learn new things. I love the way she eats like a monster, even though the clean up process is a daily time sucker. I love the way she smacks her lips when you're eating something that she'd like you to share. I love the sneaky smile she flaunts right before she does something “naughty”. I love her backwards wave. I love her joy, her confidence, her cuddles, her enthusiasm over just about everything. I love the way she loves us back with so much faith...knowing we'll never stop loving her. And we won't. But today...that's the hard part. We still have no idea what the future holds for our family. We're sitting tight in our current chapter...love...completely and blindly. And if she leaves, I don't even know...can't comprehend what it will be like. Watching our children suffer will be devastating on top of devastation. But we'll be okay...somehow. We'll process the pain together and call on God to heal our brokenness. But the baby...I hate....hate thinking about what it's like for her. What is it like to be taken from all that you know, the family you know as yours, your safety, security, everything you love, your life as you know it, gone. Your every day, routine, home, the walls you've been raised in, the room you wake up in every morning, all of your people...not just your family. All of it...gone. And replaced with a new life that doesn't bare any resemblance with the only life you know. That's where I am today. Thinking about the thing that I hate. And I remember this with our kids, I remember visions I had in my head of them waiting at a window...watching. Because they know we will always come to get them. Praise God those visions held no truth and they'll never wait at that window. The unknown feels impossible some days. Loving her for a year...a year. And we'll continue to love every second we have...we wouldn't change a thing. This is where God wants us. It's just a hard day, the thoughts I hate, the ones I work to avoid, are hanging out in my head and heart. My love for her is so completely full. There's no “guarding my heart” (dumbest phrase ever). It belongs to her and she's given hers to us and she trusts us like a baby trusts their family. And it hurts today. Still so much uncertainty. And I think...I know...it would be different if efforts (by all parties involved) had been made to build a bond during this year...her first year. It would be different if we were blessed with the kind of relationships we've had in the past. That's a crucial part of this ministry. I need and depend on pouring into the people who love our babies...THEIR babies. I need to fight for them...as hard as I fight for their children. That's the only way to do this right. Trying to choose love on a level that seems impossible...and failing. And I know I'm not trying hard enough. Of her 13 months of life, we've been hers for 12. That's a lot of time gained, and a lot of time lost. And I'm striving for thankfulness instead of despair as we approach this anniversary. I'll get there, God is good.
Thanks for walking through this with me today. Thank you to everyone who's covered our family in prayer. We are so incredibly thankful for this year we've been given. Our family is crazy madly in love with our longest ever house guest:) And we're all better for it...no matter the ending. We'll see where God takes us from here. I'm thankful for the power of prayer and a sovereign God whose already got it all mapped out. I know that will be my safe place when and if she leaves. He's faithful.
In His amazing love,Crazy Mama Crook