Dear friends, last week we were presented with an opportunity to take two children into our home. For a time, but maybe much more.
As I waited to gather more information from those involved, it was crazy to wrestle with a gamut of emotions. How could we take in two little children at this stage in our lives? quickly changed over to How could we NOT take in two little children at this stage in our lives?
I haven't done so much praying in long time.
Marc and I weren't looking into fostering, though we have batted the idea around in our heads many times. But here, an opportunity to sacrificially bless another family with the blessings He's poured out upon us, was suddenly falling in our lap. I honestly didn't know how in the WORLD we would do it, (If you're from a big family, you won't understand this. If you know me well, you understand this right away.) but I almost didn't care. We were going to do it.
Jesus didn't just tell us to do what's easy or comfortable. So we would find a way to make it work.
Our hearts, though overwhelmed, were excited. Several years ago, we watched Marc's brother take in five children. Now they have permanent custody and our family has grown so much richer because of those five! We've seen the challenges and the heartbreak, and we've seen what a stable, loving home and unconditional love can do for children who did not initially have that luxury.
What a picture of the Gospel-- beauty out of brokenness. Redemption from tragedy.
It's also our call as Christians to look after the fatherless. (James 1:27) As this traveled from being a nice idea to now a very tangible possibility for very real, tangible children who needed me, I began reading and thinking incessantly about foster care as it relates to MY FAMILY. It moved from theoretical to the practical. Where would they sleep? How would I fit them all in our car?
I began talking to current foster families and former RUF students of ours who are beginning training to become foster parents themselves. Our hearts were suddenly now open to this beautiful mess of fostering children. Though there's alot of talk about "pro life," unfortunately there are never enough families to open their hearts and homes to fostering and adopting.
I finally received the call. I gathered the information, expecting to take on whatever insurmountable challenges there would be. I was going to love these kids, after all! How could I say no? Sure, I knew it would be a strain on myself and my own children, but we were going to tackle this head-on and grow through the whole process.
Something was said over the phone about what type of home might be best for the kids.
And that something didn't line up with my home.
Suddenly I realized how in this process, I was so eager and so zealous to serve that I had lost sight of what might be best for these children instead of what would be great for me.
And that's when the Lord brought another family with a heart towards fostering to mind.
It was through tears that Marc and I decided what was best for these children actually wasn't us.
I'm still trying to cope with that statement. I didn't expect to feel this way. I expected to feel relief-- after all, now I don't have to think about parenting four small children for a time!! But what I didn't expect was to feel a sense of loss and grief, sadness, and guilt in this decision.
In the smallest way possible, these feelings actually help me to understand my own children's adoptions a little more fully.
Their birthparents wanted them, too. They wanted to find a way to make it work.
But at some point through tears, they, too, realized they weren't the best ones to raise these children. It wasn't the best fit for that particular parent with that particular child at that particular time.
My kids' birthparents made a gut-wrenching decision to place their children in another's care, not because it was convenient for them (as people often mistakenly believe), but because they acknowledged they couldn't be what they believed was best for their baby.
It's humbling. In all honesty, I think we're a pretty good little family. But right now, we're not what's best for THOSE kids, and it hurts in my gut to even admit that.
Days later, I still feel the sadness over my decision. For birthparents, that probably never fully goes away. The only way I know to comfort myself is reminding myself I put the kids' needs above my own wants. I know I could've loved them well. But I know another family can love them even more. I pray they will find their way to that family.
It's one thing to blog about a birthparent's pain. It's another thing to feel just a taste of it.
I did the right thing.
I did the right thing.
I did the right thing...