Thursday, November 13, 2014

"When?"

Today, the hardest question posed to me is not "why?", but "when?"

My 5yo just asked "Mommy, do you know when the baby is going to leave?"
"Well, she's going to have a visit today, so she'll go with Ms. ___ for a little while, and then she'll come back."
"But do you know when she is going to leave and never come back?"
"No, I don't know."
"Did anyone tell you what day it would be, when she will leave and not come back?"
"No babe, no one told me when that day will be."

I was tempted to add "or IF that day will come", but I didn't.
We'll cross that road another day.

We have told our kids that "foster" means "for a little while", but it's something I've said a few times to them, not every day or every week. I didn't know that it was so firmly entrenched in the 5yos mind.
And although there has been mention of "adoption" lately, I try not to get the children involved in the complex adult details, setbacks, and legalities of foster care, so as far as I am aware, they don't know much about the baby's case, except that she is with us. For now. For today.

As the old saying goes: Today is a gift, that's why it is called "the present". Really, if you think about it, who of us has been promised more time than the present? Sure, we all think that we are going to wake up tomorrow, and then next day, next week, month, year, etc, but life doesn't last forever. We don't know what tragedy or hardship awaits us in the future. Foster parenting has taught me to hold ALL my kids, not just the "foster" ones, with a lighter hand. Because in the end, they are God's children, not mine. He has ultimate control over them. So, while I think that I have some measure of control in their day-to-day lives, it is really He who is the ultimate authority, over all of us.

I can take comfort in this fact. Even on the days when I get supremely angry, I am PMSing, I am running on 4 hours of sleep or less, and I've been so busy taking care of other little people's needs that I have neglected my own.... HE is God, His ways are not my ways, and His plans are far better and grander than my own. Nothing I say, do, or think will change or hinder the God of the universe (no matter how royally I mess up on any given day).

And that, my friends, is a truth that I will rest in.

So, for today, I will be patient and not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own. Now I'm off to read Matthew 6 again....

Monday, November 10, 2014

How many kids do you have? Are you done having babies?

I felt that I needed to share this today.
This other mom's post reminded and convicted me that 1) God has a different plan for each of us, 2) there is a God-ordained reason why each of our families and each of our stories are different, and 3) that we should encourage and celebrate these differences, instead of acting as if we are in constant competition with one another.

And as for the size of your family, it is really is up to you, your husband (if applicable), and God.

For quite a few years, I thought that God was only going to give us one child. Even though my season of miscarriages happened over 7 years ago, I still remember the sting when people would ask "So, how many kids do you have?" or "How many would you like to have?"

Over the past 13 years, beginning with our engagement, Mike and I have spent many hours talking and dreaming and imagining and preparing for what we thought our family might be like. We've been through tough times and have had to make some difficult decisions as to whether or not we should limit our family size. Through an unexpected and high-risk pregnancy, secondary infertility, several back-to-back miscarriages, a baby in ICU, 2 kids under 2, losing a dear friend to SIDs and another friend to stillbirth, and now foster parenting, we seem to have run the gamut of issues faced during the "early family" years.

In this stage of our lives, some people wonder why we have more than 2 or 3 children, and some people seem to expect us to keep adding to our family indefinitely. Either way, I hope that we would not be judged about our family's size, and I would hope that no one else feels judged by their family size either.

We are not in competition with each other. Instead, we need to live in community, with compassion.

Here's the heart of the matter, an excerpt from the original post, and it is exactly what I needed to hear today:

"And so the question for me... and for you, is this:
Can we lay it at the altar?  Can we trust in the outcome being glorious no matter what? Can we relinquish control?
Can we walk into the next season with thanksgiving for the baby years? Can we be content in today?
Because if that is what God is asking, go in obedience. And go in grace."

Here's the link to the full article: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2014/11/done-having-babies.html

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

frustrated

I am so frustrated. I am trying not to let my fears, insecurities, and anxiety get the best of me... but some days, and some moments, it does. As a mother (and a foster mom), there are days when I wake up, and before my day even starts, I am bombarded with negative thoughts. Thoughts such as "I can't accomplish half of that to-do list. I certainly won't get a shower today. That mountain of laundry is too much for me. I can't even feed these kids a healthy meal!" I feel like I am failing before I even begin!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

In case you didn't know, October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It is a day when women break the silence and stigma of suffering through a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. In fact, some people dedicate the entire month of October to this cause.

I want to share this article today by Nance Davis Johnson: The Other Quiet Mom
"The quietest mom may be the one whose children aren't always included in the answer to "how many kids does she have?" Maybe you don't know what it feels like to have been through this kind of loss. Maybe this woman's words will give you some insight, or resonate with you somehow. Ans with this article, maybe you will learn something to say, or not to say, to a person who is grieving for their child. 

It's been 7 years since my miscarriages. The pain has certainly lessened, and it is no longer something that I think about every single day, every single hour, but the loss never really leaves you. I have several close friends who have had babies born too soon, babies who left this world long before we thought they should.

Tonight I will be lighting a candle at 7pm, and as it flickers, I will be thinking of all the little lives that ended far too soon.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Six months ago...

Six months ago today, a little person unexpectedly came into our lives, leaving a big mark on our home and in our hearts forever.

We are so glad that we've gotten to know her, and have had the privilege to love and care for her.

And yesterday I realized that we no longer think of or refer to her as "foster child"....
we just think of her as part of the family.

It's been a little over a year since we received our foster parenting license. We've had 3 respite cases come our way and one long-term placement. I am so glad that we listened to God's calling, took the leap of faith and did this crazy thing called foster care.

We could have easily missed this opportunity. I could have ignored the tugging in my heart, the dreams and specific things that God put on my mind and brought into my life. I could have given up on the whole idea of adoption when Mike said "no" in 2007, in 2008, and again in 2011. We could have stayed in our smaller home, could have remained comfortable with three children, could have been complacent and apathetic. We could have left it up to someone else, expected that someone else was going to take care of local foster kids, not us. We could have given up the first or second time we were bumped out of training classes, two years ago.

But we didn't.... -I- didn't!
I didn't give up. I kept praying and searching.
We were obedient in this calling.

And we pushed on, even though at times it has been difficult, unconventional, inconvenient, even heart-wrenching. Foster parenting certainly has its rewards and challenges. It has stretched and grown each of us in different ways, enlarged our hearts for foster kids and orphans, and grown our family closer as a whole.

I am so glad we said "yes".
And now I am waiting in expectant hope for whatever comes next.