Our Monday nights have changed recently. Instead of an afternoon of dance class and dinner together, our nights are long and our kids are zonked. Last night, tuck in time was 10:30! This would not be possible if we didn’t homeschool. The kids are actually still asleep as I type at 9:45 AM. My husband and I have been driving about 40-45 minutes each way on Mondays, to spend three hours in a classroom space inside of a church. We are learning how to take care of children affected by neglect, abuse, drug & alcohol exposure, and a myriad of other things. We have done it before in another state, in another lifetime. It feels a little bit familiar and we are learning something new with each session. This time it doesn’t feel as brutal, having our expectations of humanity chewed up and spat out in front of us. As foster parents, it is going to be our job to be part of a healing and nurturing process with people who come from difficult places and circumstances. We will probably have a hard time feeling compassion or understanding for someone who has neglected or abused their children. We will pray though and we will ask God to give us eyes to see and hearts to understand what brought these fractured families to us. Fostering is messy.
Our role will be small, in the grand scheme of things. There are many hands, hearts, and minds playing a part in the process of children coming into care. There will be loss for sure. Triumph may look like a child reunited with a safe family member or rectified situation. It may look like a forever home, like ours, full of love and security. We won’t know going into this journey and that scares the hell out of me. It’s not my job to know. It’s my job to love. Ten years ago, I didn’t want that reality. I wanted a neat and tidy package by way of a brand new baby that was ours to keep forever. A lot has changed since then. While we were TWICE blessed, we learned that there are no neat and tidy packages in adoption or foster care. You can read more about our journey to adoption, here.
During the time we are away, our adult kids take turns transporting our younger kids to and from activities. They take them to dinner and spend time playing with them. At the end of the night, we get back clean, happy, fed, loved on, tired kids. Last night, they went right to bed full of happiness and tacos. It was me who couldn’t wind down. I carry a lot of feelings and insecurities about diving back into this world. I know this is not a process that will be gentle on our emotions. Nonetheless, last night I was just humbled by the love and compassion of our kids as we once again redefine this family unit. Their support, understanding, and love speaks volumes of who they are as people. We have already helped in the shaping of four awesome humans. I’m excited to be a part of another little human’s everyday life, but I’m not excited that this sweet little person will have to endure some tragedy to make it into my arms. I do hope to keep one of these tiny humans, but I know the loss and pain associated with that end result. I don’t have answers upfront. I like answers. I have tip of the iceberg stuff. I want to know each little crystal of frozen water. Adoption is messy.
We have done this before and I don’t think we have always been awesome at it. Don’t get me wrong, we are good at love and family. We have our strengths and weaknesses and we aren’t afraid to speak up for the safety of a child in our care and for the safety of our family. Because of this, we are careful about age groups and situations we can parent. We feel called to parent younger children. It is hard to admit to not being open to every single situation, but I know in my heart that safety is a non-negotiable in our family. I even wonder why we felt called to do this again, at a time where we “have it easy” with kids that sleep in AND through the night, and are thriving behaviorally, socially, and intellectually. Then, I am reminded that my creator has equipped me to “mom” like it’s my job. I can love and multi-task. I am creative and resourceful. I am nurturing. He uses that in my favor. On the other hand, I am order, lists, and projected outcomes. I am pie charts and folded stacks. Mess is stress to me. I am being challenged to be risky and embrace the mess. Life is messy.
It’s not our job to fix people. That’s the work of Jesus. We are sometimes a temporary spot of glue, trying to mend the brokenness and chaos that is a child’s only familiarity. Sometimes we are used to unveil a deeper need for a child to be served by someone more qualified. Sometimes we are used to keep a child temporarily while the family heals and repairs generational dysfunction. Sometimes we are a child’s forever. In this journey there will be hurt and heartache. There will be more questions than answers. There will be gains and losses, victories and defeats. If a child is expected to endure all of this and more, who are we to shrink back and look confused when called to serve? I am grateful to have a strong and loving husband willing and wanting to step out in faith with me, eager to walk this journey. I like to think that God equips a person, a marriage, a family, and a home if we just obey. We have been called to love. Love is messy.