Two days ago, my sweet husband said to me, “You need to write a post about our foster care experience”. Sure….give that assignment to the woman who is TERRIBLE at expressing her feelings, keeps things inside until she explodes and just doesn’t like to talk about herself…great idea. Can you hear my eyes rolling? Because they are! I don’t have this amazing gift of speaking like my husband does. I mean, I can talk to anyone about anything, but I can’t speak. Does that make any sense? So this is just going to be my words! Hope you can keep up!
In a short sentence, I just had to learn. Period. I am still learning, but I have had to learn to express my feelings. These kids aren’t my children who have been around me since birth. They aren’t the kids that know I love them, even when I don’t express it verbally.
When I found out I was pregnant with our last son, I remember joking and saying, “If this isn’t a girl, maybe that means God is telling us to adopt.” Have you ever had God tell you something? I am going to have to start paying attention, and the next time He tells me something, I’m going to put my fingers in my ears and just sing “la la la la la, I can’t hear you!” This is a trick I learned from my 7 year old…if you’re wondering. Have I mentioned I have a short attention span… Anyhoo, Back to my story. On the day we found out we were having another boy, I cried.
I love my sons, all three of them, but I wanted bows and ruffles! God gave me what I needed, not what I wanted. Hold on to that thought…you’ll hear it again. That is when this whole adoption thing started to come out of our mouths. Honestly, I am sure after seven years, no one thought we would actually do it. I was really beginning to wonder myself.
Then, I saw a friend post that she and her husband had officially dove in and started the road to adoption. I was so excited that I commented that Daniel and I were doing the same thing…even though we hadn’t really taken the first step. She sent me a message that day, asking if we were going through DHS, or a private agency. At that point I was against foster care altogether. I didn’t want to get attached, and then send them back! She tells me she has just received a call about 3 girls, and more than likely they will become adoptable. She gave our number to a worker, and before I knew it I was running across the yard to our office, and asking Daniel what he thought. As per his usual answer, he said “If you think we can handle it, then my answer is yes.”
That night was spent cleaning a room, moving bunk beds around, an emergency trip to Wal-Mart for clothes, and no sleep! You see, we have always had a name picked out for our girl. Trinity. Did you see that? Meaning 3… I just knew these 3 precious babies were my answered prayer, and I was going to live my dreams of braiding hair, picking out matching bows for their outfits, and painting nails. Don’t worry, I can hear you laughing… I quickly learned that you can’t fit these kids into your cookie cutter mold for children. I had to learn to fit into their mold. I really think the Trinity and three connection, was God’s confirmation that we were doing the right thing.
These girls were NOT angels! Don’t get me wrong, they had their sweet moments, but nothing like I imagined “My Daughter” would be. While I can’t go into anything about them, I knew at that moment, these girls needed to hear Jesus as long as they were with us. It was like a switch flipped! We may not have them for more than a week, or a month, or a lifetime, but we have to pour Jesus into these children. I remember when we finally started hearing songs about God, instead of cuss words! Baby steps, y’all! While, we didn’t have the girls very long, I can only pray that they remember our home being a safe place for them while they were in our care.
Now, when you are a foster parent, you are not ever alone. Your every move is being judged. Someone is always going to stop by your house. For a while, I thought, everything has to be spotless! They won’t let us have kids if we are messy! Listen, I work full time. My husband is a missionary, and when he is in the country, he stays home and he takes care of most of the household stuff. I hate it.
He does a great job, but I feel like I am letting my family down, because as a Mom, I am not the one doing the laundry and the cleaning. I just had to learn…to accept that I have an amazing husband that will gladly help out. I also had to learn that my house is NEVER going to be spotless with all these kids running around. I’ve had workers stop by, I’m trying to make lunch, dishes are piled up, trash is overflowing, and I just tell them “we have 6 kids in this house, you’ll have to step over the laundry”. They just laugh. Did you know that DHS workers are Moms and Dads too? They have messy houses too! Who knew!?!?
After our 27 hour training, we officially opened as a foster home! They rushed us through so we could get the girls before our training was complete, but we did not get to stay untrained for long. The night before Thanksgiving we loaded up to stay with Daniel’s family. I had a gut feeling we would get a call. It wasn’t the one we wanted, but we got it. It was a baby boy. I didn’t want a boy! We got the call, and I didn’t call the worker back. We went to Wal-Mart, and I let it fester. I was sick to my stomach. We didn’t want to start taking in boys! We have enough, God!!! I had to learn. That is when it hit me. God doesn’t give you what you want or need. God gives you what NEEDS you! Baby Z needed us. We had him for a few short weeks until he went to live with family. He just disappeared.
I sometimes wonder if he was just an angel, sent to see if we would step away from what we “Wanted” and open our hearts to what was needed.
I had to learn to say No. There will be hundreds of calls. You can’t take them all. But more importantly, I had to learn to say Yes. Yes to what we need, not what we want.
Shortly after New Year’s Day, we got a call. Another boy… Real funny God! He had 4 siblings (all boys). We said yes, and would later request that his older brother come live with us as well. This took us to 2 foster children in our home and we are only approved for 3. We left the door open for a girl knowing that God would keep His word. She came!
Do we get attached? Yes. But it is a different attachment. I can’t even describe it. I love these kids, but I have had to learn to trust God in the movements. To trust that if they leave us, it was His plan, and things will work out. I have had to learn to tell these kids that I am proud of them, because some have never heard the words before. I have had to learn to express myself, because they NEED to HEAR it, and see it, and feel it. Does it hurt when they leave? Most of the time, yes. I still get a little teary when I find one of Baby Z’s socks in our laundry. Sometimes, let’s be honest, you’re relieved. Fostering children is a lot to handle from time to time.
I don’t know if any of these words make sense! I hope that someone reading this might learn to say yes. There are SO many kids living in a shelter because there simply aren’t enough foster homes. I know this, because the brothers to two of mine are those kids. The ones still waiting to find a home that will protect them and love them. It hurts knowing that I can’t take them in. It hurts knowing that every night, there is a worker calling home after home trying to find placement for a child who doesn’t understand why he can’t just be with his family. It hurts to know there are kids who get moved to home after home because they are acting out, due to the trauma they have experienced. They just need a little love, and whole lot of Jesus.
I had to learn to be their voice. They need someone who will help them and love them no matter the cost. Will you be that one?
Words from a worn out Momma…
If you would like more information on foster care or adoption through foster care visit AdoptUsKids.Org or email us!