📸 cred: https://harleyjayphotography.com I wrote this for an Instagram post for a ministry called Freedom Movement September 2018. It was interesting having only a certain number of letters allowed to fit in the post. I could’ve written many more words … Continue reading
So, we have been back on the foster placement list since after Thanksgiving. It took a lot to work up to the moment when we said yes again but now surprisingly we haven’t had one call since then and here we are in 2018. The extra room became Santas workshop during the holidays, and as a result got a little trashed. The other day I went to work in there cleaning up and preparing for the ever present reality of a seventh entering our home at any time. Put all the Christmas wrapping paper away, swept it, tidied up, and then I noticed it. I noticed that in the laundry basket there was one last load of laundry from Little Miss Mercy. Then I looked on the dresser where I’ve kept all of her things that we found, all of her our projects that got handed to me, and her photo book that I made all in the hopes that I would see her again. That we would get to stay in her life. I took a big breath in, a breath of I’ve got you girl, my ways are higher than your ways. I scooped up all of her special stuff that I’ve been saving for the past four months and put it into the top shelf of the closet. I grab the laundry basket and washed her clothes as quick as I could, but not before I sniffed her sheets to see if I could smell one last lingering memory of her. My younger kids will say all the time that they can smell her. I wanted to see if I could too. But I sniffed and sniffed, like a weirdo, and it was gone. I pulled it out of the dryer yesterday. Maybe it was the fact that her mom let me talk to her last Friday for the first time in 4 months, maybe it’s the fact that it’s a new year, or maybe because I was encouraging myself with my letter board message (haha), but in these moments I felt strong. I felt ready for Love. Yes, a sting of pain but the hope that comes from trusting in the one that loves me.
I folded those sweet memories and put them in that empty room ready to make more. As ready as I can to face the next adventure knowing that all of our past placements are in His hands just as much as we are. And that’s the best place we can be!
“Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 63:7
Empty bed, full heart.
Moving forward is hard. But that’s our job. Our job as a foster home is to create a stable loving home that feels like family. That’s what we did. The pain is the proof of that. Words can’t explain what my heart feels like. If you have seen a foster child leave your home you can understand. The pain that I feel is a mixture of pride for a job well done and pain with the loss. The job of loving her well has not been on my and Matts shoulders alone. My sons have shown unconditional love to a hurting little person who has pulled their hair, slapped and punched them, bit them, spit at them, rejected their hugs and kisses and screamed at them. Their resilience and commitment to loving her (and even moving forward to take another placement) shows me so much of what love is. They have reaped the reward as she has learned what love is and reciprocated those kisses, hugs, and I love you’s. They have watched a fighter turn into one who knows love and stability too. If you’ve seen them talk her down from a fit you would know how much they have stolen her heart. Reminding her to take a deep breath to calm herself, reasoning with her, giving her two appropriate choices, telling her they love her forever. I’m so proud of them. My extended family loving her so hard and showing so much grace. My entire church and community close and far, stepping in to shower her with gifts and hand me downs, the offers of babysitting, dinners, and especially the tears, concern, encouragement, and prayers. Thank you all. Job well done. But today I grieve.
For the past almost year I have documented, observed, watched, shared, every detail of this person’s life and now I have no idea how she’s doing. I have no idea what her room looks like or what she ate. I have no idea if she’s crying for me, her dad, or her brothers. I have no idea where she’s going to go to school. Basically I have spent so much time energy, money, thought, heart, loved and fed and loved and held, like I’m supposed to, and now it’s just supposed to end. It’s really strange. Being that I have four boys, it’s also hard to gauge how they’re feeling. I’m sure I will see some behavior issues and the next months with my little guys as a result of their heart not being able to communicate in words how much they miss her besides the occasional, “I wish G___ was still here.” And just when we get that settled down we will probably be ready to introduce a new adventure to our house.
As I drove away with my precious little thing crying for mama dada, my heart shattered into 1 million pieces but I had to stay strong, at least a little strong, for the other four kids in my car. Strong but vulnerable so they can see the loss but feel secure. The four kids that are my forever kids. The four kids that no one can take from me. One of my wise children at age 7 said that Faith is trusting. Today I find that so true. Today I have to have faith that there is a bigger plan from a good Father that I can’t see. A plan that includes her not living with me but still thriving. I pray that this plan includes me being a part of her life as Auntie Mama. A plan where she is a game changer, a voice, and an advocate in a place that I can’t reach. A plan so much bigger than what my heart can see. This is Faith. Thanks for lending your heart to journey with us. Well done and my heart is full from a heart of love. Love that cost me something.
Jeremiah 29:11 MSG I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
The whole Starlight Bethel Album has really been so good for me but this song keeps tearing up my heart.