So it's that time of year when a huge manilla envelope comes in the mail and I spend hours filling out paperwork...documenting all the foster parent training we've done, paperwork for our doctor to fill out on my husband and I, medical exams for our children, paperwork on how to schedule ourselves to go get fingerprinted, criminal history check forms, background check forms for our children (yes, you read that right), forms for a water safety plan, child care plans, compatibility inventories, questionnaires, resource parent role acknowledgement, adult and pediatric CPR, 1st Aid, and blood born pathogens training (on top of the 15 required hours), copies of current pet vaccinations, water bill, drivers licenses, auto insurance and registration, and...I'm sure I left something out. It's exhausting. And today I decided to start on this pile right after a meeting that left me feeling kinda hopeless. So my joy tank was struggling. Let me back up...
I know the last time I wrote, we were in the process of moving our baby girl in with her biological father, after 2+ years with our family. It was impossible. We spent the entire summer trying to process and prepare for the impossible. And on August 6th, it came. Then after a hearing on August 9th, the judge ordered that our baby girl be moved back in with us immediately. It was unexpected. It was nothing short of miraculous. I can't share all the details surrounding her case and her situation and her story. But a rescue took place. And she came home. She was only gone for 72 hours...but those 72 hours were so dark and desperate. And so...after a heartbreaking summer of transitioning her and 3 days as a family of 5 in a state despair I'll never be able to describe...we've had her back for 2 1/2 months. I've relished in every second. I've sang and skipped and danced my days away. We got to take her with us to Disney World and It. Was. Everything.
Now our next hearing is 3 weeks away...and I can feel the anxiety creeping in, my chest is tight, and my hope is hard to hold on to. She can't go through that again. I can't. We can't. Hearings represent so much unknown and serve as a reminder of what this life is really like. You can pretend all you want...singing and skipping along...but reality hits hard and it knocks me off my mountain face first. No one knows what will happen. I wish I had even an inkling of an idea...something to hold on to. But I got nothing. We have a good case worker...but she's never seen anything like this. So she's got nothing to give me.
So starting on this pile of paperwork while working through my worst fears, maybe wasn't the best idea. But I started thinking. What we're going through right now...this isn't the first time. And we didn't sign up for this ministry to self destruct (just my current emotional state). We made it out of the first valley and gave God the glory and understood 100% why we were sent down that road. The blessing blew our minds and filled our hearts and changed everything. We came out of that valley with the sun on our faces and the healing was quick and easy. The agonizing journey was all but forgotten. We're still in this valley...and I know that either way, God has a plan He's working and He's so good. I can trust Him. But I can't fathom...can not fathom...going through this again...reliving this chapter in another season. This kind of heartache sucks the life out of you...ages you...scars you. So do I want to fill out all this paperwork? Do I want to find myself in this space again? Does foster care ever look like inviting a child into your home for 6 months or less while you lovingly pour into their parents so that you can send that child you undoubtedly fall in love with back into a home where they'll be safe and loved and you can forever keep in touch? Because after 8 years in the ministry...I'm beginning to think it doesn't. And please don't misunderstand...whether or not our baby girl of 873 days ends up with our last name...she is worth every bit of my so called self destruction. Her place in our family for whatever amount of time isn't something I would ever change...even if our suffering goes back to that place we were in August. Because I've been her mom for these 873 days...wholly, her MOM. Take off the foster. And my suffering serves a purpose in her life greater than I'll know this side of heaven. And she's worth it. Just like any child is worth the best love their parents can give them. I'm just looking forward and...you know...being human. Do we WANT to willingly lay ourselves on the alter and go through this again? As I labor through the most unfun paperwork in the universe...these are my thoughts. But I know we're called in this...I know I feel greater purpose living my life on mission in this way. I know it's right. I'm just feeling beaten down, kind of crawling my way to this next hearing, and questioning it all. How does any God fearing, child loving, heart giving foster parent do this over and over? I just don't know. Today. Maybe I'll know tomorrow...or after the hearing. This is probably so all over the place and confusing. I'm trying real hard to be okay. If I could just talk myself into being thankful for these last 11 weeks and nothing else...climb back up my mountain and fill up on those feelings of redemption and rescue I had on August 9th. I'm so full of fear...that's all it is...everything it is. I don't want to go back. There's nothing warm and happy and safe in the alternate ending...nothing my finite mind can see. And I need your prayers, friends. The hearing is on November 15th, 3 weeks away. I'm thankful for you and your strength and faithfulness through prayer. God supplies the peace I need through your petition, I know this. When I'm not strong enough...I know so many others are. So many. Also...I didn't mean "self destruct"...that sounds so selfish and...yuck. But I'm not going to edit, because...sometimes realness is a little "yuck". Just know I didn't mean it. Kind of:)
In His love,
Psalm 50:15- call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.
(God whispered to me through my 1st grader's memory verse:)