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:)
Sunday, October 2, 2016
I won't pretend I've been in your shoes...but I want to tell you my story. And I'm hoping you can somehow relate. It happened 10 years ago, when I lost my baby....I went in for a prenatal appointment at 11 weeks and they couldn't find her heart beat (I've always felt in my heart we had a girl). So they did an ultra sound and she looked perfect, but only measured 8 1/2 weeks. She had passed away without my body realizing it. I delivered her unexpectedly at home while I was still praying for a miracle. It was the most devastating moment of my life. I know this isn't the same as what you're going through. I cried out to God for a rescue, a miracle, but I had no power to choose. I know there are so many reasons to consider aborting your baby, you might think you're too young, maybe you're still in school. Maybe you think you're too old. Maybe you had a one night hook up, maybe you conceived with your husband but just don't feel ready. Maybe you're living in a state of crisis and feel you have no other option. So many reasons. I was only 24...but wanted to be a mom with all my heart. And after a long period of grieving, we tried again, and kept trying, but it wasn't working. We went through testing and the doctors said we were both healthy and there was no reason they could find, diagnosis...unexplained infertility. It was frustrating, unfair, confusing. But now I know why...and I have 3 beautiful explanations. I became a mom at 27, after a young woman looked through a binder of couples and picked us. And I fell in love with her. Because when someone gives you the greatest gift, when they choose life and choose you and carry the baby you've been aching for, for years, and then deliver that baby into your arms...you fall in love. I won't go into all the reasons why she chose adoption, but some would say our son was "unwanted"...except he wasn't. He was so wanted, and pleaded for, and prayed for. Our two older children came home to us through the foster care system. They were once abused and neglected...born and uncared for. I've heard the argument that abortion is better than being born unwanted. That there are too many abused and neglected kids in the system and we can control those numbers because abortion is an option. But if you met my beautiful children, I can guarantee you would agree that no matter the circumstances they were born into, they deserve life. They're worthy. And here's the thing...there are SO many women like me, couples, families, just waiting for someone to pick them. Waiting to turn an inconvenient situation, a crisis, into their greatest blessing. Maybe you think you want to abort your baby early on...before people even notice. Maybe you're embarrassed or afraid you'll disappoint someone. Maybe you don't even want children. This list could go on forever. I don't know where you find yourself, what you're going through, or how badly you're hurting. But maybe you can look deep down in your heart, realize your carrying a life, a gift...whether to you or someone else, and make a choice beyond yourself. Make a choice you will never ever ever be ashamed of. You created a life...a miracle that so many women never get the chance to experience. You have a living baby growing inside of you. And however unplanned that baby may be, they're powerless and pure and worthy. And someone is praying right now...I can promise you. A woman, a couple, a family, is pleading with God to give them the gift you might not be ready for. And the journey may be so hard...but you won't regret it and you'll be stronger because of it. You may even change your mind and decide you are ready. Give yourself that chance. You deserve it...you are worthy. You are here for a reason, you're pregnant for a reason. God put a life inside you, just like He knit you in your mother's womb. You have a purpose so much greater than anything you're thinking about right now. I wish I could know you...hug you, pray with you, listen to your story, look you in the eye and tell you...you'll get through this. Please choose life, not just for your baby...but for yourself. Consider my story...and the stories of so many like me. Consider your own story...how do you want this chapter to end? Or begin? Once the baby is born, you'll see that face and hear that cry...and never ever ever regret letting your baby live. I promise. And I love you.