Thursday, January 14, 2016

Too Attached

Most commonly said phrase when someone finds out my husband and I foster: I could never do that. I'd get too attached.

I don't say, "Oh really? Aren't you sweet? Aren't you the warmest hearted person ever to walk the earth? Because I'm not at all emotionally affected when they leave".

I don't say that, but sometimes I'd like to.

I've heard this so often, that for awhile I did actually wonder if God had specifically called us to foster because maybe we're cold-hearted, and can handle kids coming and going with relative ease.

And then came Malachi.  He came to us under 6 lbs and under two weeks old. He was a tiny live doll baby that we loved to pieces.  I reverted again to mom of a newborn, waking in the night for feedings. I read Babywise again. We watched Malachi go from tiny baby to a happy chunky boy.  He spit up in every square inch of our house.  We worried over him in the night. My kids learned how to change diapers, give baths, get him dressed, and get him in and out of the car for me. He had numerous nicknames. He grew and smiled and walked and got into everything. We often dreamed about keeping him.  And though that was never the plan, as the months went by, he felt like mine.  Ours.

He was given to his mother December 31st, 17 months after we brought him home from the hospital. My husband took him to the parking lot where he met his mother for the exchange.  I couldn't go. I was a mess.  And though Shann was a mess too, he did it for me. He told Malachi's mother that we love him like one of our own children.

I don't know how to grieve.  Its not something you study up on. I'm not sure how to help my children walk through this time while we feel Malachi's absence so acutely. Part of the difficulty is chatting with every person who knows me about my deepest feelings. And of course, our family and friends should ask how we're doing, but it isn't easy to keep rehashing.

And yet. He is near to the broken-hearted.  He binds up our wounds. His mercies are new daily. Joy comes in the morning. He restores my soul.  This list goes on and on. And its all true. We are sad. We miss Malachi. And we are okay. We are okay because I can feel the presence of Jesus.

We foster partly because we feel invited by the Lord into the pain and brokenness of the lives of children who need us. I foster for many reasons, and many of them aren't as pretty as that first one. But God uses my half-hearted weak gift and makes it something beautiful. But just because we feel called to foster doesn't make it easy for us.  This doesn't mean that we aren't sad when someones leaves or that we aren't 'too attached'.

So next time you chat with a foster parent, instead of telling them that you could never do it because you would get too attached to the kids, maybe tell them you're praying for their hearts. And ask the Lord what hard thing he's called you to.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Desperation

In this season of my life, I often feel desperate.  I feel desperate to get going on school for the day.  Desperate to keep the kids moving on school. Desperate to get school done. Desperate to drop off little man at school and maybe have quiet in the van. Desperate for Shann to come home. Desperate to get kids in bed. Desperate to make the right school choices. Desperate to get to the next stage in my life, sometimes. Definitely desperate to get out of Walmart.
But I am also desperate for God to work in me. Desperate for His presence. His help. His strength, and His encouragement.   I feel pulled in so many directions and I need God to sustain me. I realize I sound a bit crazed, and certainly I don't feel this way at every moment of every day, but lately the D-word has seemed to hover over my hours. 

God, may my desperation drive me to You.  Thank you that You are The Giver of Life and Peace.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hard things

I'm discouraged tonight. Noah was supposed to have his Christmas visit with his mom and she didn't come.  His grandma was there, and lavished him with gifts. But he told me that he cried that his mom wasn't there. Yesterday he asked me why he doesn't live with her. I told him that she's working on being a better mom and hopefully he can live with her again.

Tonight, after all the new toys were played with, Noah told Caden that his momma doesn't like white people.  "She doesn't like you, but I do", he said.

Why does this make me feel so ill?  This woman doesn't personally dislike me for who I am. She doesn't even know me. Perhaps she really does hate all white people. Perhaps she dislikes me because I'm getting some of Noah's affection right now and she wants it. Perhaps she feels that because I'm white, I can't properly care for a little black boy.  Maybe she's annoyed that he likes us.  If I were in her shoes, I might feel quite resentful of whoever had my kids. But I'm super annoyed that she's pouring her hate and bitterness into her 4 year-old son, who didn't realize we were white and he was black until she pointed it out. Or that this is supposed to be a big deal.

Poor confused baby boy.  One day he tells me he wants to live with us forever, and then the next day he wants to go back to his momma.  God heal us all.

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