Friday, May 15, 2015

I'd Really Love to See You, Tonight




It has been a rough few months for me emotionally. I went on a date with my husband, last night (Gasp, I know!!). He looked at me, as I was just sharing how hard it has been to just get out of bed! It is hard to face the day, everyday.... and I can't peg when this became a struggle. It didn't happen just one day... Boom! But I feel like I should know why, and when, and certainly, how to make the struggle end. But I do not know.

As Toby shared with me his own struggle, he looked at me and said "it's ever since we said goodbye to K" and that idea has been rolling over in my head today. Has it really been since then? He seems to think that we haven't grieved properly, and that is the cause of the emotional lead, that  leads me to dread each day. But I am not sure that I know how to grieve properly. How do I MAKE myself process a loss that I can justify, in my head..... but still ache for in my heart? And I wonder if I loved her properly?  As I was washing the dishes today, I wondered if she still drooled when she got mad and cried....I know that it's such a weird thing to think about... but it was distinct... it was her! I wonder what her life is like.... if she is loved....I believe she is! But sometimes, I wonder, still. This is the part of foster care that makes people run..... but life is full of loss, you can't out run that.

So we face another immanent loss looming before us. We were supposed to say goodbye to the two girls that we have had for 9 months now, twice. Yet tonight, they sleep in our home, safely. The girls have been through an emotional beating, as the back and forth, and back and forth, have taken a toll.... without reunification. Honestly? I am tired!!! I am ill equipped for dealing with the effects. I need prayer. There is a review call in a few days regarding this case. I am essentially just going to be asked "how are the girls?"..... and I want to say the right words, I want to honor God, and not just say whatever I want, or speak out of my frustration, and anger. I want to convey the damage of the uncertainty in these girl's lives, after 9 months in care. At 9 months, this case is a mess. I have no answers but the back and forth can not be, the way it has been. I hold my 7 year old, while she cries, having no answers. She cries because we "leave her out", when she is not with us. She cries because she "does not remember". She cries because she doesn't know, and I think really that is as honest as it will ever get.  But it could be so much worse. She could be acting out.... instead, she feels. both girls are a bottomless pit of needs. So much need for safety, love, constant affirmation, hugs, more affirmation, and yet, more hugs..... and I love you's, which I echo back. I know this is truly a gift, but some days, my eyes are blurry and I can't see that gift.

Every part can be difficult, but that hope... the strong desire, for the kids, that I know God will put in our home..... that doesn't fade. I have moments of wanting it to all go away, but they are moments. If I got a call tomorrow, asking for us to take another case on...I would. This may be a strength... or it may be a weakness.... it depends on the day. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

And Just Like That It Will All Change

I am much more calm on paper. My friends, especially the close ones, can tell you that I tend to me much more intense when you meet me in person. In fact, you will either like me, or strongly dislike me..... fun fact, every single one of my closest friends throughout my life did NOT like me, when we first met.... turns out that the joke was on them, cause they all very much loved me, in time.

 I say this because I really lost it when I received news regarding our 2 foster daughter's case (Sorry Ashley for the "colorful" descriptive words I used when I found out the news). We foster parents can all unanimously agree that visits are the most challenging part of having foster kiddos. No matter how strong of a bond you build, or how safe and constant their lives become.... visits remind everyone that you are not a family. I do not mean this in a cruel or unkind way. But no typical family has to stop, then switch realities. There's flow and rhythm to a home, and a family. It is interrupted constantly with foster care. But with reunification.... the visits get longer and the overnights come.... which all lead to what the goal is always for kids in foster care... that they go back into a safer more capable bio family, situation. BUT, what if that goal cannot be accomplished. What if it's not in the best interest of the child? Then those visits are worst than the pits. And what if there's a new development that interrupts the reunification date? This is where our family and these two girls are.... it's called limbo. I am not fond of limbo. I very much like to what is going to happen next.... especially when it comes to my family.

But my life, my house, my time, my heart, and my mouth..... are not my own. As I follow Jesus, He slowly takes everything, and replaces it with Himself. So there is much uncertainty in a case that was supposed to move out of our care in 3 days. With foster care, everything can change. I do not know what will happen, but I am praying with all my heart, that everyone involved will think of and do what is best for these girls. Sometimes, the cases become about the parents... and the workers involved begin to think they are the heroes in these biological parents stories.... and things drag on longer than they need to.... at the expense of the kid's well being (btw, I have enjoyed dealing with every single one of the 16 kid's social workers).

Every child deserves to know where they belong. They deserve to know, without a shadow of a doubt, who it is that will protect, guide, defend, listen to, and love them. They need to know that there are people who are for them. We all long to find our place, the place we belong ..... children need that, as much as food, from birth. Kids in the system show you how devastating the disruption of meeting that need is..... or worse, they show you the faces of those who never had the need met, since birth. It does something to a child, to not have that. So we wait. Our girls and our family are in God's hands. I wonder what God's up to. Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Romance is Over

I went out with an awesome group of women friends the other night. Never mind that I was over an hour late because I had to hustle to bring my brood back from swim lessons, and my hubby insisted that I make a smoothie for my oldest, before I headed out (in desperate need of a shower). I made it! I was able to connect with beautiful mothers that I rarely get to. It was great, and rejuvenating. A couple of conversations spawned up about adoption. So, of course, I had a difficult time keeping my ever yapping, mouth, shut.

But the talking from a few nights ago, got me to thinking about how easy it is to romanticize adoption. It's what I did. I had the whole sad, but beautiful story, already written in my mind, long before we actually pursued adoption. It was tragically moving. The children were wounded but grateful to finally have a family, and be loved. On and on it went. But reality went nothing like my little romanticized world.

The truth is that adoption is messy!! No matter the route you go. In foster care, it's even more messy. I have been in the thick of it. I have had to try to let my pride get squashed.  Let go of any decency that I expect from rational human beings. I have had to say goodbye to expectations. All the while trusting in God and being reminded, daily, that my life is not my own. It is a daily death. I throw internal fits before Him, constantly.

As we reunify our 2 girls, I feel like I am being stretched to the max. I would like to give up on the whole situation. I do not want to be kind and eat dirt, before their biological mother. This is the truth, so the accolade of how great I am, really are not accurate. I have no love of Christ for the woman who is currently making my whole being cringe. I have no compassion and very little understanding. I have to continuously ignore texts and not respond to constant internal buttons being pushed. It is not natural. It is not normal. What is normal is to let her know exactly how I see the whole ridiculous matter, but I cannot.

Our house is in emotional shambles. We are terrible at saying goodbye. It doesn't come easy or naturally. I cry. And I am not even sure how I would like the story to end, for the girls, for their mother, or for our family. I just know that I do not like today, well actually, Monday. When the whole chaos begins of them teeter tottering back from our home to hers.

Eventually the pain will lessen. I have learned that is true. But the dull ache will never disappear. I ache for the little girl that we said goodbye to 3 months ago. I miss her. Our kids will tell me they miss her, at random parts of our mundane day.  All I can say is, I miss her too.

The thing about our adoption story is that one day....I will be able to reflect on this entry.... with remembrance of the painful journey. But there will be Joy. It is just how it always works with God's children. The painful events of this life are meant to declare Him faithful. To make Him shine. His Glory to be magnified. "She cried out to her God, and when all seemed hopeless and she looked foolish...... He answered".... That will be the last chapter in my story. I truly believe that. Not because I am worthy.... but because He is good.

So the romance is over. I am tired, all over. Pin It Now!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Prayers Answered in a Day

Today was kind of tough. I should have done more school with the kids, and they probably should have been sent outside. Instead I became a referee all day. My two boys and the two girls could not resolve squabbles all day. I did.

This morning I had more questions than I have this evening. We have had a little boy for the past month. He has another home that he should be going to with his teenage mother. We've done the whole teenager and child foster care, and it's not a good fit for our family. A friend of ours, though, is willing to open up her home, so she was emergency licensed today. I found out that he should transition into her home either today (obviously not) or tomorrow. I am hoping for something more stable for the little guy.

But perhaps, the most unexpected news is that the two girls we've been fostering for the past 6 months, are going to be transitioning into their mother's care in the next few weeks! There is a clear time table, and date even!! This is what I have been praying for, but as is the norm, I have a lot of mixed emotions over the process. The girls deserve to be with their mom , if she can parent. And truly the answer will only be answered sufficiently, by reunification.

I will need prayer. My desire is to support this mother, with all that I can. And my hope is that we can maintain communication with the girls. Lord willing. It just is not simple or easy. I have had birthmothers that I have loved instantly, with this mother it is has been touch and go. I do believe that she truly loves her girls and she has done everything that has been asked of her. She has earned this chance.

But the idea of our home going from 7 kids to 4, is strange. We'll see what God has planned, after today, I can say, I have no idea. But I know that He is good and faithful. This I know

Tonight, the weight of all the shifting makes me tired. I find myself at the mercy of my Jesus. Foster care is nothing like anything you picture. The kids are always different than the kids you picture in your head.   I'm not even sure if it's a conscious thing I do, picturing them, but I do.

I am dealing with each case one at a time. We will say goodbye to the little guy in the next few days, maybe even tomorrow. I will focus our attention on reunifying the girls, and giving all the support we know to. I am gearing up for a roller coaster ride of emotions for the next month. And then we will focus on our adoption of Silas.

Silas' case just got transferred to the adoption specialist. Our final adoptions day should be a matter of months I am starting to plan for it, as one plans for a wedding). Will we take any placements during this time? I don't think we will take any while we transition the two girls. And maybe after they are gone, we'll take a few weeks to breath, and do something as a family. But our local office knows that we would like to adopt. They know our preferences and so if we get a call for something permanent, I'm taking it as a queue from God. But if not, it will be a much needed rest for our home.  Only time and God know. Pin It Now!