This is the post I’ve struggled writing the most in this series. I’m trying to be efficient in my writing so this post doesn’t end up taking a hundred years for you to read. Although, maybe by the time you're done, they will have invented/perfected time travel and you can get all that time back. All that to say: there’s a lot. Efficiency + depth of heart. Wish me luck and grab a seat.
If you've left a question in the comments or an email, I promise I'll get back to you so soon! We've been so swamped with life lately I even got a "miss you" text from the upstanding people at the Bravo network.
One question I've gotten non-stop in the last 24 hours (twice) is which route are we signing up for, fostering or adoption. The answer is yes.
We are suiting up for being a foster family. With hopes to adopt. But not expecting it right away. (Enter disclosure statement here.) We may go through 10 foster kids before we land on one that becomes available for adoption and THAT'S OKAY.
Somewhere along the way, in the last 2 months my heart was changed, broken, pruned, and has grown. Yesterday I was pretty honest about my feelings in the beginning: I/We was/were in this for keeps. I had to use self-control not to roll my eyes at the whole 'reunification' thing, or assume that that was for other people, not us. We were going to go the foster route, making sure to judge some birth families for making some bad decisions because we *clearly have life figured out*, and then go happily ever after along on our way with their child.
But we have switched camps. The thought of being a safe haven for a hurting child, a team member in restoring a family back to the original design is now what gets me giddy. Literally, g.i.d.d.y.
You may have heard me talk about my childhood Halloween trend before but for those that are unfamiliar, for at least 3 years in a row I was Princess Leah during the school day but Queen Esther at the church's "harvest party" (same costume, clever mom!) I was obsessed with Esther from the Old Testament. If you don't know the story, check it out, it's amazing. Especially if you like ground-breaking television shows like The Bachelor. I digress.
There's a part of Esther that reads, "How do you know that you have not come to this position (spoiler alert: she's the queen) FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS?"
Being a teacher for 7+ years, married to a youth leader for 3+ years, I have some experience. Some, not a ton, but enough that I can recall kids names, faces and stories that prepared me for the road ahead. I remember being in a meeting at school to get a little girl the services she needed and hearing her history, her story. She had more to battle in her 9 years of life than I've ever had or will have. I was humbled that the Lord would entrust her to me for that year of teaching, overwhelmed that I was in such a position of influence during such a fragile time. It made me fight for her, advocate for more help, more services, strategize with her guardians on what to do at home, etc.
Another face pops into my memory. Little stinker. One that adds to the wrinkles on my forehead with his unacceptable behaviors coming into my classroom every day. One that, if absent, we could all breath a little easier that day. He drove me crazy and we battled. All year, daily. BUT, I can say with confidence that he was a different child by the end of the year. He knew I cared about him, he knew he was safe in my world and he knew I wouldn't put up with his junk. I watched him slowly become the child he wanted to be.
Why have I never thought of this before? This fostering thing might just be what we were created for. Perhaps all the drama, all the experience we've had has prepared us FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. One of the speakers at our last class the other night mentioned that with some of the foster kids she's had over the years, she's convinced they were brought to her so she could have an influencing role with the birth mom. Not that she's a better parent, but that she was able to mentor these women into the role they were designed for.
So, there you have it. My heart is bent toward restoration, reunification. I'm fully aware of how messy this could get and I'm prepared to cry a lot, and that's okay.
If you're still reading, a big hearty THANK YOU for listening. You rock my face right off.