Our family just embarked upon a crazy, painful, scary, exhausting, and absolutely beautiful journey last month:
Fostering a child.
To get to this point, God had to do some serious renovations in our hearts. When I say this was a decade in the making, I am not exaggerating.
Peter and I have talked about adopting and fostering since about day one of our marriage. But then we got busy having babies of our own.
Three, in fact. Three in three and a half years.
Adding to that chaos seemed an unwise choice, so foster care was put on the back burners of our hearts and minds for nearly a decade.
The past two years have brought so many changes. We moved to Virginia, which meant a new home, new church, and new friends. We had a deployment which brought on its own set of challenges, including me hitting my wall.
I began to go to a therapist to work out my mental and emotional challenges of PTSD, but what I didn’t know would happen is that I would find myself in the process.
I learned why I “wifed”, mothered, “friended”, and worked the way I did. I learned who God sees me as and that He makes big plans for all of us, we only need to accept.
Through this transformation, I discovered this yearning to have another child. Since I can no longer have children of my own due to an unexpected hysterectomy, I knew the next thought would be adoption. Peter, at first, chalked it up to “baby fever”. All could be fixed if I just served a few extra services in the nursery to get it out of my system, right?
But what was really going on was a tactical move by the General of my heart. He was preparing my heart, and Peter’s heart for a plan that he had in place all along.
The story to get where we are now is long, and perhaps another day I will share it all, but for now, I wish to fast forward to my husband’s work Christmas party. We were both looking amazing.
I was wearing pantyhose and heels, so you know this was a big deal. Hair was curled, tie was tied, and we arrived to the elegant get together expecting a nice evening together. However, as life always teaches us, things change.
We got a call.
A seven-year old boy was sitting in a car with CPS waiting to hear where he would sleep that night. He needed a home.
Christmas lights, door prizes, and cheesecake didn’t seem at all important anymore. All we knew is that there was a need and we were asked to fill it.
Isn’t that just God?
He calls and waits to see what we answer. Though the tasks are rarely easy, the rewards are unimaginable.
Here we sit, about a month later, life turned completely upside down with a boy in our home. A Nerf gun shooting, fart joke telling, scared and often confused boy who has changed us more than we have him.
James 1:27 says to take care of those that can’t take care of widows and fatherless. And that is what we are striving to do, because in that process we learn that God is really taking care of all of us.
I am a bit embarrassed to say that I thought I learned most of the tough, important lessons of parenting when Molly got sick and died. And though it is true we were changed and grew as parents during that time, we have been forever altered as mom and dad with loving on this boy.
No one sees the scars of his heart fully, but we know what no one else does. The responsibility that this knowledge holds is insurmountable. Loving this child is the easiest and hardest thing to do because the testing and trying can fog the truth that is before us. That truth is that he just wants someone to love him. When he pushes away, he really wants us to pull him in. When he screams in anger at us, he really just has no one else to direct it to. When he whines and complains, he really is just expressing fear and anxiety.
Perhaps this is the beginning of a series of posts since I feel I could write so much more.
I will end here and say that no matter what God’s calling is in our lives, I find that we are our happiest and at most peace when we are in the middle of it all.
No, caring for a traumatized child does not equal fun or easy. But what is wonderful is doing it with a God who knows all the ins and outs and leads the way every moment.