It's been over a year since I've blogged. I'm tempted to list off all of the practical reasons why I've failed to update, but it would bore you to tears. The honest truth is, life has been heavy. It's difficult to put heartache into words when you're still in the storm. I'm only now beginning to emerge and although the pain is still quite fresh, I'm beginning to feel hopeful again, to see good things on the horizon.
Shortly after my last post, we met yet another one of our beloved foster babies and our family life has been a roller coaster ever since.
The first 3 weeks were just as expected: emotional, exciting and all about transition.
We learned quickly that this particular placement would be like no other. Adoption was very hopeful and yet, it would require more from us than we were prepared to give. Our hearts jumped all in and our children led the way. We vowed to be her family.
I soon found myself in a well of grief and responsibilities, most of which I feel I failed at. I kept telling myself that I could go a little further, work a little harder, hang on just a little bit longer.
This lasted over a year.
It was never easy being her mama. I was co-parenting with 8 other adults, most of whom stood me up for appointments, forgot to notify me about changes and didn't return phone calls. So many decisions, interruptions and frustrations. Each day held new information, complications and reasons for me to advocate harder on her behalf. I fought for this little girl as if she were my own, because in my heart, she was.
We watched her grow. We gave her our all. But in the end, we learned we wouldn't be her forever family. Heartbroken doesn't begin to describe what we are without her. We are grieving.
But we know no other way. Hospitality has always meant to welcome the sojourner, the lonely, the lost and forgotten. As a family we firmly believe this to be true of ourselves. We were brought in by our Heavenly Father and now have an inheritance that is ours through our brother Jesus. In faith, we stepped into the brokenness of fostering and as a result, our own family has been split apart. But deep love and healing has occurred and we're softer for it. Like our savior, we are learning to suffer unto life.
I have no regrets for following the Lord. This last 18 months has shown me how utterly reckless God has been in loving me, how He delights in me even through the depression, anxiety and anger I've wallowed in. That He does walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death, that we need not fear. And I know He's doing this for our sweet baby girl, wherever she may go.
I've learned that Romans 5:3-5 is absolutely true:
"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us."
We will always love our foster babies, all 6 of them. And because we're crazy and most importantly, we believe God's word to be true, we will find ourselves opening our hearts and home to another one in the future. We know it is for the good of the foster child, but we've learned it is also for the good of our family.
For now, we grieve and heal and delight in simple Saturday mornings and the absence of diapers.
(Photo Cred: my dear compassionate and talented friends Joy Prouty and Janell Poole . I highly recommend them!)