There seem to be two camps when it comes to other people's opinion of those of us who foster children. Either they are fully supportive and paint you as a saint lavishing you with the praise you know you don't deserve, or they think you are completely insane and ruining your life and the lives of your family.
I stood in a court house this afternoon, I sat through a hearing for our foster daughter listening to all of the sordid details of her case. Her parents love her. There is no question in my mind about this. It never gets easier sitting there in that chair and listening to lawyers lay out for a judge every single reason people are failing as parents. It always causes introspection for me and my heart aches for the mother sitting there in the hot seat having to defend her every choice.
No major changes happened for our foster daughter today and I am praying so hard that her family is able to come around and see what needs to be done and do it so they can watch her grow up. She is amazing. She is quickly approaching one year old and each milestone is bittersweet. I am so grateful I get to be here to witness each and every milestone, but my heart aches because her mother is missing them. New teeth, rolling, crawling, sitting, standing, new foods, new words. I get to witness them all. I get to snuggle her in the night when things just don't seem quite right and I get to be the person she said "mama" to for the first time.
We are really not looking to adopt again, but that is our plan, I have no idea what God's is in that regard. What I do know is that nothing in my life has ever made more sense than taking care of these sweet little ones. It is hard. I have done some hard stuff in this lifetime and this is by far the hardest thing I've done. I have no explanation for how we've come this far other than God himself has carried us and brought all of the right people along at the right times to encourage us on.
As I walked to the courthouse today I had a phone conversation with someone I love dearly. She asked where I was headed and when I told her, she begged me to tell "them" to find a new home for our littlest girl because surely I was wasting my youth and wearing myself too thin and ruining the lives of my family. While I know her intentions were good, she wants to protect me and see me happy, this broke my heart. She reminded me that I cannot save the world and that I've done my job in adopting Lily and Jacob. It took the wind right out of my sails.
Here's the thing folks, I didn't rescue Jacob or Lily. If anyone did rescuing, they rescued me...they rescued my family. They've opened our eyes to things we never would have seen if not for them, they've grown a compassion and selflessness in me that I would never have known otherwise. It is HARD work raising all of these little humans, especially the ones who've experienced early trauma, but I cannot for one minute think of anything else more worthy of my time. I am not trying to save the world. I am trying to be obedient.
I know fostering might seem crazy, I know taking on "other people's children" seems insane, but if not us then who? If we all just leave the job to someone else, who will do it? I am worn thin, I am on the brink of sanity and completely exhausted, but you know what...that is just where I need to be. I have never been so sure of anything in my life. In my exhaustion I have spent the past few weeks praying hard about what we are to do and I KNOW without a doubt we are right smack in the center of God's will for our family and that might look unorthodox, insane, or whatever you want to call us, but I am bull headed and right at the end of myself is where God keeps me because it keeps me ever dependent on him. I have complete peace about what I am doing with my energy and time. Do I sometimes wish I were sitting on a beach sipping a Mai Tai? Sure, but I'll do plenty of that in Heaven, right. ;)
So while I appreciate the concern, I'd rather struggle and suffer and be tired in His will than to walk on Easy Street outside of it. I believe the business of raising children is one with eternal rewards. While I know that not everyone is called to foster care or adoption, we are all called to help in some way, so if you know a foster parent, I'd encourage you to reach out to them, don't discourage them, if you see them struggling and you are concerned, that is valid, rather than stating the obvious and causing further frustration, maybe enter into their crazy and lend a hand. I don't know a single foster parent who'd turn it down.
In short if the ship is sailing at full mast, get on board or abandon ship, if there seems to be a hole in the sails, lend a hand and help the ship get back on course. A little support means more than you could know, for ANY foster parent. Sometimes God calls us to do hard things that don't make sense to the rest of the world. Sometimes the hardest part is just knowing you'll never have everyone's acceptance.