7/21/2013

just passing through

We celebrated a very special birthday of a very special child this weekend. It was a few weeks late, and the party itself was put together at the last minute. (I have a long ways to go in the world of motherhood.) But still it came together beautifully.

One of the hardest things with foster care is the knowledge that the kids you care for, shop for, pray over, and love are never really yours. It could be said that no child is every really yours as there is never a guarantee on what will happen. But this is even more true with foster care.

Knowing they aren't yours, recognizing that they could leave at any time, is terrifying. And heartbreaking. Because for the time they are in your house you do all the things you would do for your "own" child. (And if you don't, then you shouldn't be a foster parent.)

We had a cake for the party. Minimal decorations. A fruit dish, a veggie tray, and Chik-Fil-A nuggets. There were drinks as well, and lots of laughter. It was a combination of friends from church, our family, our kids birth family, and friends from OKDHS. Without the two kids we've been entrusted to care for, many of us had nothing in common.

And yet we all spent just over two hours together at the park. The sun blazed down around us, but we were protected by a pavilion. A nice breeze came off the pond, and we found enough things to do to actually entertain a 2-year-old (and slightly overwhelm her by the amount of gifts she received).

It's hard not to be attached. To not want to interject ourselves as the family. But what I continue to find, mostly by reminding myself and our teenage foster daughter, is that we are here to serve whatever role it is that these two girls need. If that's to be a foster mom only, then that is what we are. If it's to serve a role of NiNi and PopPop, as we do to the 2-year-old, then that is what we are. Our relationships and purpose are not clear. And that's okay - so long as both girls can look back at this point in time and know they were fiercely loved, fiercely protected, and put first.

Every person deserves those things. I would say every child, but I am learning, more and more, that the teenager we have is not a child but a young woman. And it is my job to ensure she has all the tools she needs to continue a successful life long after my direct presence in her life has disappeared.

It's hard to be in this position. To sometimes be the most hated person in the room. But it is also worth it when I catch glimpses of smiles, when I hear the way a 2-year-old stakes her claim on me as "my {her} NiNi," when I watch our family touch others with our story, and when I realize that by laying myself down I am opening up a whole new world and creating a life for myself.

My entire life is overcome with a need to care for the orphaned and the fatherless. And while exhausting, I simply can not see any other way. I want every birth mother, birth father, adoptive mother, adoptive father, foster mother, and foster father (as well as all the other important relationships) to know they matter. Because we all do matter. And how blessed for a child who was once fatherless to all of a sudden have so many people who fiercely love them.

5 comments:

  1. You just make my heart happy --- I love you and your husband's obedience to the Lord!! I love every update and seeing your passion for the fatherless to continue to grow

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  2. I'll second what Katie says: you make my heart happy. Having been a foster parent, I know the challenges. Seeing your passion and love for it makes my heart swell with optimism for the children's futures. <3

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  3. As a new mom, I constantly remind myself that my son is God's first, and that He has just entrusted him to my care. These kids are God's first, and He has faithfully entrusted them to your care. What a privilege that is for you and for those kids.

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