I learned it’s not to check in on you to see how things are going 😉
I share this with you because it’s a completely different journey than fostering a baby. I know I am meeting his needs, he doesn’t know about his history and other than sleep deprivation and normal “baby” issues, he has been “easy”. This week has been MUCH harder on many different levels, however I am thrilled we can do this and be here for these girls and their family. I also share this to bring awareness to the GREAT need for foster families! In about a week, two different classes will begin here in Montgomery. First Baptist Church will be offering training through Alabama Baptist Children’s Home and Gateway Baptist Church will be partnering with Shepherd Staff and DHR offering training on Tuesday nights (with childcare). Please consider joining one of these class if you are local and inquire about upcoming classes in your area/state if you are not.
Sitting in my car at the YMCA at 7:30 Tuesday evening, waiting on my girls to finish BB practice, my phone began to ring. I had no idea how that call was about to change “my plans”. It began with “We have 2 girls….” and ended with “…..is there any way you could take them?”
My mind immediately thought of my ever growing laundry pile, our ski trip planned for spring break, the beds and clothes I had just spend 2 weeks rearranging and moving making room for baby T to move from his bassinet in our room to a baby bed. Where in the world would they sleep, where would their things go??? Why was I even thinking this through. I knew all I would need to do was call Cole and he would tell me “Are you crazy, we are overflowing as is, absolutely NOT!” and then I could blame my husband as I called the social worker back and explained why we couldn’t take them into our home. However, when I called Cole and told him what little I knew of their situation, he was actually thinking about it, concerned about me since the majority of their care would fall on me, but he was open. As we sat on the phone, thinking, praying, talking through it aloud, all the reasons that caused me concern seemed ridiculous compared to what was about to happen in their lives. The only thing that gave me any kind of comfort was knowing that the least I could do was know that they would be in a home that would love them, provide for them, pray for them ( and their parent), protect them, and teach them about the only one who can offer them a sense of peace and hope for their future.
It almost seemed like an out of body experience as I called the social worker back and I heard myself saying, ” we’d love to have them, bring them on!”
…..did I really just say that????? 10 kids !?!?!? Me? I grew up wih 1 sister 9 years younger than me, this is so not my comfort zone! How will I do this? Once again I realized how often I was saying “I”. It’s NOT about me! I have to remind myself of that daily and trust that the One who is entrusting these precious girls to us will also provide all the stamina, patience, wisdom and love that will be required. I will not worry about tomorrow, because I know who holds it in the palm of His hand and He will give exactly what we need each day. I just have to make sure we stay focused on Him and not attempt to do it myself!
Over the next few hours we rushed home, moved bed arrangements, prepared the kids and prayed for our new house guests who would be arriving soon.
At the same time across town 2 social workers were on their way to an unsuspecting home where 4 kids we sleeping in their beds. I can not imagine their confusion and fear as they were awoken and told that they were being removed from their home, their bed, their parents and even separated from their siblings. Parents upset, anger, sadness, fear, confusion, quickly packing a small bag and then being put in the back set of a strange car and driven to the home of a complete stranger!
I can not imagine anything more frightening, much less for a child.
The doorbell rang, it was the social worker making sure she was at the correct house. We followed her to the car to meet the girls and help them inside. The youngest was asleep and we carried her inside and the oldest buried her head in the arm full of stuffed animals she had grabbed as we led her inside and tried to offer her some sort of comfort. They brought a book bag and a small over night bag with one outfit for the oldest and a few mismatched articles of clothing for the youngest, a bag of diapers, tooth brushes and the pajamas they had on. We sat on the couch and talked with the social worker in more detail about the situation, this was actually when we learned that they had two brothers and that they were on their way to another home. We were given the cliff notes on their health, history, education and then it was time for the social worker to leave. My three big girls had stayed up to meet them and in the midst of this horrible situation they showed so much love and compassion and helped ease the transition as best as possible. It was pretty late at this point so we got them ready for bed and Elizabeth showed them to the room they would share with her and Emme. They crawled into bed clinging to one another, crying silent tears until sleep came.
The next day brought more change. We had to unenroll in one school and enroll in another. We had to buy shoes, clothes, school supplies, school uniforms. (This was fun with a 5 month old, 1 year old and 2 year old in tow…so thankful for the double stroller a sweet friend gave me)!
My heart broke each time I looked in my rearview mirror and saw those two beautiful and precious girls curled up to each other with fear and pain in their eyes.
Thursday brought more heartache as they learned they would be stay in in our care after the court hearing. I explained that both parents had showed up for court, that they agreed to do everything that the judge asked of them in order to get their family back together. Yes, it stinks, I HATE that they are having to go through this, but in the long run this will allow her parents to take care of themselves so that they can take better care of them. ( At this point I was ready to kill some parents for putting their children through this and thinking they BETTER do all that is necessary to restore this family to a healthy environment. I also couldn’t help but think of the sibling groups currently available for adoption listed on heart gallery…..are they currently separated from their siblings, split, waiting for a family…..and praying that these precious siblings are not posted there one day).
Friday afternoon we had our first of weekly family visits at DHR. I knew what to expect, I knew there would be tears, anger, regression, accusations but after a physically and emotionally exhausting 2 1/2 days, I was physically and emotionally spent. It was HARD and bed time could not come soon enough so I could decompress in a hot bath!
As we sang this song Sunday in church and as I thought about how broken we ALL are and the thought of our time here on this earth only being a vapor compared to our eternal life with our Heavenly Father, it again confirmed why we are doing this! We know the only one who can heal, save and truly love and we must share that with those who do not! It’s their only hope!
Be Unto Your Name
by Lynn DeShazo & Gary Sadler
We are a moment You are forever
Lord of the ages God before time
We are a vapor You are eternal
Love everlasting reigning on high
Holy holy Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain
Highest praises honor and glory
Be unto Your name
Be unto Your name
We are the broken You are the healer
Jesus Redeemer mighty to save
You are the love song we’ll sing forever
Bowing before You blessing Your name
© 1998 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music CCLI# 2177476