We took respite for the first time this past weekend. We love our little foster girl like our own and we hadn't even thought of using the respite days we get each month. We were then nudged to take them to give us a break so we don't burn out. A wise and seasoned foster mom (who also wanted to get a baby fix as she is our respite provider)advised us that it would be wise to take the respite and just reconnect as a family unit. Though we love our sweet girl like she is ours...the truth is that she isn't and that it is more than possible that she'll leave us in the coming months.
We took a mini family vacation and I have to tell you I could not believe how much easier things were with only one baby. ;) We had a great time and yet I kept panicking because I had that sneaking feeling that someone was missing. She did great and we came home recharged from our fun time at the science center.
As I reflect, all I can say is that this foster care stuff, it is hard. It is hard to love with abandon knowing full well it is likely your heart will be broken. It is hard to pour your whole self out onto five small children all day every day. It is exhausting to tend to two sweet babies who NEED to know that someone WILL repsond when they cry who do not sleep through the night. I could continue to give you a laundry list of all the reasons why it is hard and tiring. Life WOULD be easier if we turned a blind eye and just did what was comfortable.
The thing is, our life is so rich. It is so hard but it is so very blessed. God provides every resource, money, patience, time, etc. that we need and we see His hand clearly each and every day. Loving a child that is not ours that likely never will be ours, who we will not get to see grow is a risk and it is a risk worth taking...because I look into her sweet face and I know she is worth it. Loving another without thinking about how you will benefit or be hurt is a gift. While things are hard, tiring and exhausting...I have never felt so at peace in knowing I am right where God wants me.
Sometimes much like the Laura Story song playing on this blog, I think for my hard head, a thousand sleepless nights is really what it takes for me to know He is there. Living at the end of my own rope has taught me to lean hard on Him and expect that he will come through. So while I think it IS important for us to take a break now and then and really focus hard on the children that ARE ours, it is also important to keep on keepin' on. We are seeing our kids grow and flourish through the struggles we encounter and we just stand in awe.
I haven't had much time to blog lately as I've been a little busy with our crew, that is where we are though...We've begun using Amanda Bennett Unit Studies for our school curriculum and we are loving getting to do the majority of our work together, we are exploring recipes and using healthy whole foods as much as possible and we are excited to celebrate Jacob's first birthday next month! It will be a bittersweet month for sure as we celebrate his first birthday and Asher's fifth. This life is always a dance...between chaos and calm, grief and joy, struggle and peace and we are just learning to move with it and be grateful even in the hard times. Easier said than done, isn't it?