Friday, January 30, 2015


"J" left our home 2 weeks ago today, and I can say with certainty that we have NEVER felt loved more than we have in these last 14 days.  We had so many people send us messages, bring meals, offer a listening ear or a hug, and pray for our family.  It's incredible the blessing that you receive when you do something hard.

I didn't want "J" to leave.  When we started this process we were very secure in our decision to do foster care rather than straight adoption, but the moment they placed that sweet baby in my arms at the hospital, I felt a protectiveness over him that I did not expect.  In our conversations with people, Michael and I continued to maintain that the best place for "J" was with his family, but in my selfishness I truly believed that he was better off with us.  I prayed that God would take away these thoughts, and I prayed daily for his birth parents, but in my heart of hearts I continued to struggle with the fact that this was not my child.

The truth is, none of my children are "mine".  Not "J", and not Maya, Charlotte, or Milo.  They all belong to God, and we are given them to care for and raise for Him for as long as His plan allows.  Michael and I have known this since before Maya was born, and in our nightly prayers I always thank God for the privilege we have to raise these amazing children that He has given to us for this time.  Until "J" left, though, I don't think I truly understood how powerful that blessing really is.  To be a part of a child's life, whether they were given to you through birth, foster care, or adoption, is an unbelievable gift.

Although it is still hard for me to understand the brokenness of this world, I have seen small glimmers of what God was doing through our short time with "J".  This tiny baby impacted so many.  There are several families that were so moved by "J" that they are now considering becoming foster parents, even after seeing the hurt that comes with letting go.

In the car the other day, I was talking about "J" with the kids.  The mantra we've been using is that we're happy for him, but sad for us.  Charlotte asked me what that meant, so I told her that it's good that "J" gets to be with his family, but we can still be sad that we don't get to take care of him anymore.  She said, "does that mean we didn't love him enough?"  Oh, my.  Through tears I told her that, no, it means we loved him exactly like we were supposed to.

God is continuing to work in us, and we are standing with our arms and hearts and home wide open for whatever He has in store.

"Blessings" by Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if each promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win, we know
That pain reminds this hearts,
That this is not, this is not our home.....
It's not our home

What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy.
What if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When You Don't Know What God is Doing

I had a whole post typed out for my readers.  It contained way too many unimportant details, but writing it was cathartic.  The long and short of my post was this:
  • licensing for foster care took much longer than we'd planned
  • a precious newborn, "J", was placed with us in November
  • Michael and I got super duper attached
  • after 1 day's notice, "J" left on Friday to live with a family member
  • we are feeling broken, incomplete

Now here's where I can write my heart, without all the boring-to-everyone-but-me details :)

"J" is gone, and we may never see him again, and the weight of that is heavy on me right now.  My heart is broken.  I try to tell myself that if I wasn't sad, I didn't love "J" in the way I should.  Foster care is not supposed to be easy, most of the kids go home, we are a temporary stop in their journey, we are blessed that we could be a part of his life for a short time, our home is now available for other children that need us, and on and on and on.  I truly, truly believe all that.  But right now?  Right now my heart is broken because I loved and I lost.  Right now I worry that "J" is not being taken care of in the way that *I* would take care of him.  Right now I look at our empty bouncy seat and the lone sock I can't bear to pick up from our closet floor and the bottles that I haven't put away and the car that doesn't have the right number of children packed into it.  I don't feel the weight of his warm body against my chest as he sleeps, and I can't kiss his soft curly hair.  I know that I will not be woken up by a baby tonight because there is no baby here.  I have a voicemail on my phone reminding me of an appointment that I will not be taking him to.  He is everywhere and he is nowhere.

And so it goes.

We will heal, and we will grow from this process.  I don't understand God's plan.  I don't understand the brokenness that allowed "J" to come into foster care to begin with.  I don't understand why he was allowed to be with us for 9 weeks and then moved suddenly out of our lives.  But (isn't there always a but?).  But.  I *do* understand that God is faithful.  He is using us, and he is using "J".  On the night "J" left, Michael and I received the sweetest email from my mother-in-law, and it reminded me of God's work in and through us.  We see over and over the impact "J" has had on our friends and family. This loss for us has shown us in a mighty way that we have an amazing network of support ~ we have received meals, phone calls, messages, Bible verses, and many, many prayers.

The pain has been surprising in its depth, and yet I find myself yearning to do this again.  I still truly believe that God is calling our family to serve Him in this way, and while that does not make this part of the process easier, it has helped me to focus on the bigger picture of our lives, rather than only on this chapter.  We may not know what is ahead, but looking back only proves to me that God's plan for us is more perfect than we could have ever imagined.

from "Through It All" by Andrae Crouch
I've had many tears and sorrows,
I've had questions for tomorrow,
there's been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consulation,
that my trials come to only make me strong.

I've been to lots of places,
I've seen a lot of faces,
there's been times I felt so all alone.
But in my lonely hours,
yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus lets me know that I was His own

I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I'd never had a problem,
I wouldn't know God could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do