Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On Bedtime

6 months ago, we struggled with bedtime.  3yo A and 1yo B would start crying as soon as they knew bedtime was near.  A was so tense he had trouble falling asleep, and even after he was asleep would have his fists clenched, muscles tight, heart racing.  He would wake up screaming multiple times every night.  B wanted to be in my lap, but facing outward, away from me, with as little of her body touching mine as possible. She preferred her head to be not on my arm, but on the cold, hard arm of the chair in which we rocked.  Night after night they both screamed while Michael and I tried desperately to comfort.  Some nights it took hours, and ended with me crying right along with them.  Naptime was much the same, but felt even more desperate as I prayed for a break in the middle of the very long days.

...

Today, B fell asleep for a nap while Sierra rocked her facing in.
Tonight after baths, A snuggled himself into bed (along with "Dog the Frog", his stuffed animal) before I even came into the room.
Tonight, B snuggled against me in our rocking chair and within minutes I felt her little body relax and her breathing become even.

...

We have a long way to go in this journey, and some days it is easier to focus on the many struggles we have before us.  But for tonight, I will thank God for the hard-won battles that we've faced over these last 6 months, and be grateful for his peace that passes all understanding that has and will continue to carry us through.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

One

The first foster baby we ever had turned one today.  He was placed with us just 2 days after his birth, and stole our hearts nearly as quickly.  He became beloved brother, son, grandson, great-grandson, nephew, cousin, and was sweet baby "J" to all our friends.  All who met him fell in love with his big brown eyes, his soft baby curls, his melt-your-heart smile.  He was family.  And then, nearly as quickly as he'd entered our lives, he left.

I tried to be happy for him, but 9 months later it is still a struggle.  We are missing his first steps, first words, first foods.  We don't get to see his personality begin to come out and define who he will be.  We loved him without guard, without abandon.  We loved him like he deserved to be loved, and then we let him go.

Today our church celebrated student ministry Sunday, and I was blessed to see these awesome young men and women stand up in front of our community of believers and lead us in worship, pray with and for us, and share a little glimpse into their lives.  Two of the students were baptized this morning, and as they shared their testimonies, I thought about how proud their parents must be of the path their children are choosing.  What an amazing legacy they are leaving ~ 1 John 1:4 says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.", and that is absolutely how I feel.  When Maya makes up songs that worship God or Charlotte tells me that her favorite activity is MOVE (children's choir) because "God and Jesus are the best things in the universe" or Milo tells me he was "yeally byave" in the car when he saw a spider because "I knew God was with me", my heart just about explodes.  It breaks my heart that, in most cases, I won't get to experience that with our foster babies, and more than that, that I won't know whether or not they are hearing the Truth.  They are in our lives when they are young, but most of the time will go back home or to family, and with little exception we will never hear from them or about them again.

The tears don't come as frequently now as they did when "J" first left, but they still sneak up on me every now and then.  When people tell me that they could never foster because they would get too attached, I have to just smile because getting too attached is exactly what these kids need.  We are told all the time that we are so great and so special and so amazing for doing what we do, and while I do appreciate the encouragement (believe me, on tough days sometimes that is all I have to go on!), you need to know that we are just average people, doing a hard thing and getting hurt over and over.  But we are also average people who are being blessed by doing exactly what God has called us to do.  This year has been a rollercoaster of high highs and low lows, and I'm thankful for each moment.


Worth It by Francesca Battistelli
Love's not a feeling, love's not convenient
But I know love can change your life
Love takes sacrifice, love cuts like a knife
Sometimes love will make you cry
Love's not easy but it's worth it


(his face is blurred in the pictures for privacy)