Sadness in Stories

As a parent there are times that I find myself in tears over my kids.  The unbelief that God blessed me with them, the joy that their giggles fill me with and the reality that I’m living the life I’ve dreamed of as a mom.  But as a foster and adoptive Momma, I sometimes find myself in tears for reasons that aren’t so happy. 

I love sharing about our family experiences in this ministry.  I like to think that it gives hope to others.  Hope that kids who might not otherwise have a family get to be a part of one, or maybe hope that its possible for the average family to be in the ministry of caring for orphans, caring for His children.  I can’t deny that it’s hard and I want to be honest about the struggles that we might face as they come to us.

A few weeks ago our 16-year-old got into trouble.  She is SUCH a good kid but she IS a teenager, and so we don’t expect her to be perfect.  Not to mention we are the 6th family she has lived with and I’m sure that adjusting to rules at each placement is hard. She was basically caught being on Facebook when she wasn’t supposed to be on at all. Normally a teenager having a conversation on Facebook would be completely fine, unless you’re a kid in the system and you are talking to family. To save you the long story, Ryan and I had about an hour conversation with her, consequences were given and the FB account was deleted.  It was over and so we move on right?  Except that hours later I found myself crying in the car to my husband. 

Our 16 year old was in trouble for talking to her sister, a sister that she hasn’t seen in a few years.  She was telling her to say “Hi” to her mom and dad and to take care of them.  Her mom and dad most likely live a few miles from us, and she hasn’t been in their care in over five years.  She was telling her sister that she’s grown close to Jesus, and that she knows He is taking care of her and her other sister who went to live with another family.  We may have caught her breaking a rule, but it didn’t feel good.  There was nothing good about this.  I kept thinking to myself . . . when I was 16, if something had separated me from my parents, I would’ve done anything to see them again or even talk to them.  Although I’ve heard many stories, I can’t begin to imagine what her life has been like.  Even though I see “hope” in her coming to live with us, I can’t forget the immense sadness that has brought her to this place in her life. 

Our son Gavin, who is currently a lovely 3-year-old stinker, is also such a blessing.  When we found out that he was going to be our forever son, it was so crazy to think he had the same name that we would’ve given our daughter had she been a boy, we knew that everything was just meant to be!  Except that it wasn’t meant to be.  There was nothing meant to be about the skull fracture he received as an eight month old baby.  There is nothing great about the trauma he experienced as an infant, trauma that is still revealing itself now in behaviors and reactions that he has.  I remember looking at Maddox when he was 8 months old and thinking about him getting an injury similar to what Gavin had, and it just bring me to tears.  I love that Gavin is my son, but I can’t forget that the beginning of his story was tragic and unnecessary.  Babies should never be abused.  Never. 

Finally, my little two-year-old love.  He was meth-exposed in the womb and left at the hospital.  A precious birth story I know.  Here we are two years later still attending court.  Recently it feels less hopeful and more bittersweet; it doesn’t feel good to report that the biological dad is not doing well.  It doesn’t feel right to get excited that he hasn’t made much of an effort and that he’s probably back into some of his old habits.  I mentioned before in this post that I don’t pray for him to fail, but so far he is.  I’ve been praying for D’s life, whatever that life may look like and whether he ends up in our home or not, I don’t think that God ever intended his little life to be so messy and in limbo at such a young age.  However, I am thankful he’s young and won’t remember any of this drama.  His memories won’t compare to the ones that my 16-year-old has, I wish there was a magic button to give her a fresh start as well.

Despite the uneasiness of it, we are praising God that the judge changed D’s case plan from reunification back to severance.  His biological dad was not at court to contest.  Visits will continue and Ryan will still work on building a relationship with him (last week they texted back and forth on D’s birthday).  Then we head to trial for the second time on November 13th.  Another crucial day where the judge will decide if the father can continue trying or if D will finally have some permanency.  It’s almost unheard of to have a court date less than two months away, they are usually 4-6 months out and so we are thanking God for swiftness.

If I had the chance to go back before making the choice to become a Foster parent, and knew what the road ahead looked like, I would choose it again ten times.  These kids’ stories are so broken, and although I don’t believe that God planned for them to grow up with such trauma, I’m thankful that I can fill in and be their Momma.  I’m thankful that I have a greater reality that many stories don’t look like the blessed one I grew up with.  I love that Ryan and I have this blended family and even if a few of our kids’ stories started with sadness, we will do everything physically possible and through prayer to see their stories shift into powerful testimonies.  I’m confident their stories will have happy endings because Christ is in the business of redeeming.

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