I am sitting here at a foster care and adoption conference called Refresh. This is such a beautiful event put on by the replanted ministry.
The introvert that I am, got my lunch and found a quiet corner to sit and type this to all of you who read this. Normally in this type of situation, I would try to network. Meet other foster parents, lend an ear, share my story. Be there. Support.
My world is crumbling.
I have such an inner turmoil going on inside. If you have been here for a while you know our story. If not here is a quick recap.
The Lord led us to adopting through foster care. It has been 3 years and we have had 9 children in our home. Their stays have ranged from 2 days to a little over 6 months. Except “Rosie.”
Rosie is a beautiful, precious little girl who we met at the hospital when she was 2 days old. Rosie has been here 15 months. There was a bit of contact with her bio mom in the first few months but that quickly tapered off and we have had her every single day, no visits, no time away for the last 7 months.
3 weeks ago we signed the initial paperwork to adopt Rosie. We let our guards down.
The daughter of our hearts was becoming legally ours. It was only a matter of a couple more court dates.
We let our biological children get excited. Soon she would be their permanent sister.
Due to confidentiality reasons I cannot get into too much detail but now all of a sudden after 15 months there are extended family members who have decided they want Rosie.
My initial gut reaction is pure sadness. We are losing her. She is losing us.
My next reaction based on my Christian faith is Hope. God can move mountains. God can keep her here, with the only family she has ever known. God can do big, unfathomable miracles.
My next reaction is guilt.
Reunification is always the goal. my previous sadness about no one in her family wanting her is now anger that they do. I feel guilty for being angry. They are her blood relatives. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t want her the last 15 months. It doesn’t matter that they are stepping up now (under my assumption) that they don’t want another kin plan to take her. I should want to support this. I should be happy that this little girl we love so much is being pursued by her family.
Then I go back to sadness at the sheer brokenness of the whole situation.
This precious little girl who has a rough start at life, now knows extreme undying love from her foster family and even stronger love from her heavenly father.
God moves towards the hard things and broken people and steps into that. As Christ followers this is what my husband and I strive to do as well. I sat in a session with Jason Johnson yesterday. He is my favourite foster care blogger/speaker and I was so excited to meet him and listen to his wisdom.
This was the wording he used to help us try and engage others into this crazy foster care journey. Because of our identity in Christ this is where we should be inserting ourselves. God cares deeply for the vulnerable children and people of our society and as a stable adult He wants me to help in His name. Everyone can do something. We all can have apart in making the world better for these kids. For these families.
Jason talked about Tier 1 2 and 3. People willing to help the fatherless.
1. Baby Sitters, drivers, meal bringers, prayer warriors
2. Respite Care, professionals, family support
3. Foster and Adoptive Parents.
I have never felt so right about where I am as a tier 3 servant in the James 1:27 cause. I know this is exactly where God wants me.
He wants my heart ripped out so I cling to him.
My good good father. He wants my faith to be made stronger.
He wants me to be her voice.
He never said following Jesus would be easy. But it is worth it. He will be there for me through the highest of highs and (the current) lowest of lows.
So if you are a fellow foster parent or someone just starting down the path, I want to leave you with this.
No matter what the cost is to you (heart break, secondary trauma, grief, loss, feelings of helplessness) these kids caught up in the system are worth it. They are worth every tear, every sleepless night and every stomach turning moment. These innocent children are so precious to God.
I know at the end of my life when I face my Lord I know I can confidently say I lived a life of purpose. I lived a life that honoured Him and I have many children of my heart and their families that I have positively impacted.
So even now when I feel like throwing in the towel, hanging up my foster parent hat and pursuing an easier life. A life filled with more comfort, I know that is not what will make me happy. That will not give me joy. That may make things easier for a moment but in light of eternity its pitiful and selfish to even have these thoughts.
God orchestrated the time of this all perfectly. He is teaching me not to rely on worldy comforts and promises but only to rely on Him. To do His work. To help children and families in crisis. To love without holding back. To give all of my heart to Rosie and ride the roller coaster together. To be her mother in this moment but to be open and accepting to God’s plan for her life. She is His. She isn’t mine.
Rosie’s case plan took a left turn right before I had 3 busy weekends of distraction, 2 foster care conferences. Her case plan took a plunge yesterday while I sat in a session with someone who speaks about foster care and adoption with so much passion for God’s purpose. While I am here away from her. Surrounded by people who get this pain. Right where I need to be to remind me – His way not mine.
God is so near to me in the midst of my broken heart. I am thankful for that.