Thursday, November 1 will always be a special day for me.
Autumn arrives late to the South. It’s only been in the last week where the trees have started to change color and the air has begun to have that indescribable smell of crisp apples. As nature around us welcomes in a new season, internally in our home and hearts, JJ and I officially received word that our lives are about to change forever. Any day now we could receive a placement.
Since finding out that we were officially approved by the state, my emotions have been all over the place. Upon reading the email, I was ecstatic and filled with a Christmas morning type of energy. Then, my old frenemies, fear and anxiety, invited themselves to have a seat at the table. This is really going to happen any day now. Can you do this? Will you be enough for them? What if you end up being just another adult, another caregiver that “fails” them?
For the past two nights I haven’t been able to sleep. It’s my phone that will ring if our agency has a placement for us. Part of me is praying that we receive a call. Another part of me prays we never need to be used. The day these kids arrive in our home will not be a blessed day for them. The day they walk through our door means the life they once knew has shattered to pieces. JJ and I were never what they expected. The only reason we get to be in their lives is because everything went wrong in their little worlds. They will not think of themselves as “fortunate” or “lucky” to be with us, nor should we or others expect them to feel this way. No matter how bad things are at home, most children love their family and can’t imagine ever being taken away from their parents, siblings, and/or extended family.
As we walked around our local downtown area last night, every time I passed a child, I said a silent prayer for the kids God has in mind for us to love and serve. I prayed that if they were hungry and hadn’t eaten since lunch that day that God would comfort them and provide food for them to eat. I prayed that if they saw something horrible that they will never forget, that as painful and traumatic as that moment was that God frees them from framing their present and future around that event. I prayed that if they felt unseen and forgotten that God would find a way to show them that they are known and treasured, and He has a rescue plan in place for them and their entire family. I also said a prayer over JJ and myself that we let go of any expectations we have for our future in foster care and that we completely trust God with whatever He has in mind.
Guys, that last prayer is a hard prayer for me to pray, and one that doesn’t leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. God’s plans can hurt and wreck us. They can leave us broken and cast down for a season. Key word there is for a season (Side note: most seasons don’t actually last a literal season. They can be shorter or seem to go on forever. Just an FYI.). God has our best in mind, but sometimes His best makes us feel at our worst. I know I feel that way at times, and I know our kids will feel that way when they are worried about and missing their parents. We filled out paperwork and completed home studies to be called foster parents, but our kids were never asked or consulted with before being granted the title of foster children.
While we couldn’t be more excited to love on these kids, this journey into parenthood is different than the one we planned for ourselves. I don’t know when we will receive our first call, or who will be part of our first placement. I don’t know if we will ever get to adopt any of the kids we fall in love with, or if we will be able to stay in their lives once they return to their birth family. I don’t know how long it will take for them to love and trust us. I don’t fully know yet how hard it will be to fully show love to my kids’ birth family when they still don’t get that their actions and lack of actions hurt their kids.
I don’t have the slightest clue of what our future looks like, but God does.
He’s got this.