Saturday, May 28, 2016

"That was SO much fun!"

We had a couple of friends over this afternoon for a few hours and after enjoying some snacks, the boys managed to convince the dads to join them in a massive game of Monkey in the Middle. Each kid teamed up with a dad and each kid/dad team strove valiantly to keep themselves of out the dreaded "middle." There was much laughter, yelling, diving for the ball, leaping to block shots, and apparently even some wrestling the ball out of little hands. *ahem*

Nothing spectacular really. Just an hour of simple craziness. But it meant the world to our Batman.

"It was so awesome," he began and then spent the next few minutes regaling me with tales of their game.

I thought about how something that my kiddos take for granted --of course dad's friends join in our games-- could be such a sweet blessing to our Batman.

There have been plenty of other moments like this as well. Our neighbors' son, home from college, has spent more than a few hours playing basketball with the boys in the driveway. Some friends kept the kiddos for an evening so Jared and I could go out, and they organized an in-house egg hunt. Our homeschool family welcomed Batman on a field trip while his school was off for spring break. And I could go on.

None of these things are particularly spectacular but all of them are incredibly meaningful because Batman is being loved.  He's experiencing a community of people who are safe, giving him a soft place to heal and to rest.

Here's the point: you don't have to be a foster parent to be involved in foster care. There are so, so many ways you can be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting child. You could just spend part of your afternoon playing Monkey in the Middle.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On today...

I tried to keep from getting all somber and introspective on what is supposed to be a warm, fuzzy, celebratory kind of day. Really, I did. I failed miserably. I guess that's understandable since this year I'm sharing this day with two other mommas. One who placed her baby girl willingly forever into our arms. The other who definitely did not. Sobering thoughts indeed.

Today brought with it so many intense emotions that are just impossible to articulate. How do you describe what happens to your heart when a bio mom hands you a Mother's Day Card? Or when you hold her as she grieves being separated from her little boy? Or when you watch them share the sweet innocence of swinging together on a beautiful afternoon? Or when you literally ache for her to know and trust how much she is treasured by Jesus?

 These truly must be "groanings too deep for words."

And the hardest part is that there is no life-changing, heart-warming resolution to these emotions. Not now anyway.

And that's ok.

Because sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life brings you into situations that seem irreparably broken. But, to quote Jason Johnson, "Broken things don't have to be final things. This is our hope in foster care. It has to be."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Grace for Spilled Grits

It was just supposed to be an emergency placement. 

He came to us last Thursday afternoon scared, in shock, and almost visibly trembling. His social worker had picked him up from school and brought him to our home. He had no idea when he went to school that morning that he wouldn't be going back home. 

We agreed to keep our new friend, Batman, through Tuesday until a long-term foster home could be found. We've been doing respite care for the past year and a half, and it's been the perfect set-up. A weekend here, a weekend there, loving kiddos, being the "fun" house. Some have been a little stressful, but there was always the comfort of knowing that there was a definite end date. Sure, with each child, there was always a soft, subtle tug on our hearts to jump back into long-term care. But it was a tug that was easy to stuff back down after each friend went back home. 

But then along came Batman. 

The longer he was here with us, and the more we learned of his story and that of his precious momma, the more Jared and I just knew that we couldn't let him experience any more transition. Jared called his worker Monday morning and asked if Batman could stay with us throughout his journey. 

I had forgotten, or perhaps buried would be the better word, all the visceral emotions that accompany children coming into care. There simply aren't words to accurately depict the suffering and brokenness of these children, the confusion, the shock, the paralyzing fear. Watching a child struggle to process the unthinkable and knowing that there isn't a whole lot you can do to help him is just tough. Remembering that our calling is to love this child fiercely just as we do our own children all the while knowing that at the end of it all we have to hand him (and a huge piece of our hearts) over to his family....It's a hard, hard road to walk. 

But God.

Our heavenly Father is so very faithful. In these last 36-48 hours since stepping back into long-term care, we've encountered lice for the first time ever. Confession: I just might have thrown an adult tantrum over that one. We've had a first visit with mom that thankfully went very well. We're struggling with allergies. We're battling traumatic fears of all flying insects which makes playing outside without multiple meltdowns nearly impossible. And yes, we've even cleaned up spilled grits in the laundry room and a delightful concoction of various toiletry items off the bathroom floor. Bio kids don't stop their crazy just because a new friend joins the family. And yet, there has been grace for each and every moment. 

The Lord continues to grant us & Batman His love and peace. He continues to love us through His word and through His people. We don't know how long Batman's journey will be, nor do we know all the twists and turns that we will surely walk with him. But we do know Jesus. And we do know that He's walked this road before us. And we do know that He will never leave us nor Batman, not even for one moment.