Monday, August 29, 2016

I don't want to be a Foster Parent!

Ever feel like you and God keep having a conversation that doesn't end?  Like when you try to come up with as many really good reasons as you can to not do something you know in your heart He wants you to do?

Lately this is the internal conversation I've been having with the Lord:

1.If you wanted us to be foster parents, you would have done it by now.  If a worker is too busy to certify us for 7 months, that means you are closing a door.
God: My timing is perfect.  Just wait.

2. We hurt every time a host child is taken from us.  The grief is overwhelming for our entire family and it takes us a month or more to recover every time they have to say goodbye.  We aren't tough and resilient enough to do this job.
God: That is why I want YOU.  You love them like I love them, and that's why it hurts. I will heal you.

3. I am exhausted with my own four children.  They drain me almost every day with homeschool, activities, and discipline issues.
God: I will give you the strength.  My power is made perfect in your weakness.

4. What if we get a child we can't handle?  What if they have issues we don't know how to deal with?
God: I am sovereign, and nothing takes me by surprise.  Trust me.  I have a plan.

5. Why can't we just drop everything and write a big check to get a baby through an agency?  We are guaranteed to have a newborn, forever daughter in three months or less- wouldn't that just be easier?
God: This is my plan for you.  If you take another way, it is not of me right now.  Wait.

6. We are the pioneers in fostering among our friends.  Why do we always have to be the first ones in ventures like this?   Many of them think we're crazy!
God: Take the lead, and others will follow.

7. Do I really want to be under the scrutiny of the social welfare system?  We like to live our own private lives, not live in a home with constant visits of workers who will criticize us for breaking their rules and regulations.
God: Live your life before all men, and they will see Me in you.  I am creating opportunities for you to shine your light in your home.

8.  Why do we face opposition from those we love?  If we don't have support, we can't do this well.
God:  If I am for you, who can be against you?  If you are facing opposition because of your obedience to me, then you are blessed.

9.  What if we never get placements?  All of this will have been for nothing.
God: Trust me.

10.  We could have a child who has to be returned to an abuser who we don't see as safe.  How could be possibly allow that to happen?  It would break our hearts and make us so bitter!
God: Trust me.

11.  Fostering will be one of the hardest things we've ever done.  Everyone who has been touched by the system is telling us this.  We are already stressed, worn out, and scarred from loving and losing.  How can we survive doing this over and over again?
God: Trust me.

I don't want to be a Foster Parent.  I am already angry and frustrated with the foster system and we haven't even signed our contract yet (but it's probably been sitting on someone's desk for quite a while now).  I want to fix a broken system, or at least give a piece of my mind to some people about how they are hurting children by not doing their jobs well, and then wash  my hands of it.  Yet God continues to remind me that it's not about me and what my flesh wants or doesn't want.  It's not about good or bad workers.  It's not about a government-run entity that is in desperate need of an overhaul.  It's about glorifying Him through our obedience and service.  It's about caring for the precious children He's created: the least of these.  The neglected, abused, abandoned, tossed-aside children in our midst who need love and nurture, a home that is safe and full of Jesus.

So even though I don't want to be a foster parent, I will continue to stand in this open door.  The door that has been open since February which we are still waiting with weary hearts to walk through.  One day, maybe soon, but maybe on the other side of heaven, we'll find out why we were called to this, and what God's plan was.  But until then....
 We obey.
 We trust.
 We persevere.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Why I don't mind glitter anymore

Glitter.  It's a plague to most moms of littles.  Pull the stuff out and kids go nuts.  They dump it all over their craft, their clothing, the floor, track it all over the house. And then that gorgeous craft they proudly created sheds it all over the house until Mom can't stand it anymore and dumps it in the trash when they're not looking.  Then when Mom thinks it's gone, it shows up in nooks and crannies of the house for weeks and months to come.
This is how I've seen glitter in the past.  Not anymore.
Today my Chinese-American daughter (a title she proudly holds) had her first birthday party with friends.  She turned 5 this week, and wanted nothing else for her birthday other than to have a princess party with her friends.  She loves having little girls over.  It is something she treasures and brings more joy than a car load of new Barbies.
Maybe it's because she's had sisters she's gained and lost and craves the company of other "sisters", even if it be for just a couple hours.
Mommy understands that void.  That is why I don't mind glitter.

Glitter represents the fact that I have a daughter.  This daughter was a daughter we chose, we were called to, we were gifted with through the sovereign hand of God.  5 years ago this week this same daughter was abandoned at the entrance to an orphanage, given a chance at life and love by a birth mother who knew she'd never see her again.  This daughter is a treasure to me, and she didn't come to us easily or with little sacrifice or expense.  So I don't mind the glitter.

Glitter also reminds me of our two host daughters we've had live with us in the past year.  The fun they had with glitter was enough to make them giddy.  They loved pulling out projects and making messes in our classroom.  Both of them would have loved to have been here to celebrate with us today. Most recently I look at our last host daughter, E's, glittery handiwork she left us on the walls and a tear still comes to my eyes.  Just today, after the party, she connected with us, chatting about how she misses us, our Bear dog, loves us very much and wants to talk to us.  We still couldn't get a conversation to work on our computers but we tried so hard.  We exchanged photos and heart emojis. Two weeks of separation across the world still feels like two days.  I miss her and her brother dearly.
So I don't mind glitter.

I look in my daughter's bedroom and see the empty space, space reserved for a crib.  The tubs of baby clothes and items we're keeping close by in case the call comes and we need to run to the hospital to bring our new daughter home.  It's been 1 1/2 years of waiting, for a match, but every time the phone rings my heart still leaps and I run to see the caller ID.  If this new little one makes double the messes with glitter, I won't mind.  She can make 4X the mess, and I'll still sigh and smile.  Because that means she'll be here, and we'll have her in our arms.
So I don't mind glitter.

I don't have big news to share about our adoption journey.  We do know we are still moving forward with being foster parents, for now.  After a 7 month wait to be approved (thanks to a very "busy" worker) we still haven't received any placements of children, but we've been assured it will be very soon.  Where this fits in God's plan for our family in the long run, we don't know.  We're just being obedient to His call to care for the least of these.  As for our hosting journey, it is ending for now.  We desperately want to see E and E find a forever family.  They would thrive in an adoptive home where they can be given the time, nurture, and unconditional love they need and respond so well to.  We will be heavily advocating for them to be hosted and adopted in the months to come.  If our family situation were different, we'd be pursuing them in a heart beat.  If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing these precious children, please let me know.  We want nothing more than God's best for them and want to be their biggest cheerleaders. 

While this seems like a perpetual wait for us, as we walk in and out of doors of opportunity, we can sit in discouragement or walk in joy.  Some days there are honestly mixes of both.  It has been emotionally, spiritually, and relationally exhausting.   God is teaching us that this journey is not about us or our gaining another forever child or children.  Instead, it's about glorifying Him in our care for the fatherless, whether it be transient, from a distance, or for forever.

So glitter doesn't bother me anymore.