My Favorite Gifts

I should apologize to all of you.  I write about our experiences in foster care with a hope that others might be inspired to foster when they see ordinary people can do it.  The most common line that I hear is “What you’re doing is so great, I could never do it.”  There are thousands of kids in shelters all around the state because people can’t do it.  But this past year my writing has really slowed down because I didn’t know how to encourage foster care when I felt like it was about to wreck my life.  I apologize for not being more vulnerable with my friends, family and readers.

You might think I’m totally vulnerable, and I did share a large amount of all that happened with Little D and our 14 year old this past year.  But I usually wait until the chaos has passed, and I don’t tell people about my anger.  I have a peaceful side that rests in Christ and the reminder that He is in control.  And then I have an angry Momma bear side.  The side of me that wonders why God would choose to remove a baby from the only family he has ever known, how that could possibly be in His will.  I have an angry side that says “Okay God, if D is to reunite with his family then I trust your plan is better than my own, but just know that I am done doing foster care.”  Clearly I give ultimatums to God, I’m a little crazy.

The other strong emotion that often sent me into a mini depression is the feeling of doubt.  Knowing that He is faithful, but doubting that He will work all things out for my good.  A belief that I stand so firmly on in other circumstances that was quickly thrown aside when it came to my emotions over D’s case.  A doubt that kept me from getting my hopes up, which left me prepared for bad news at any moment.  After years of being a believer and a life that has consisted of miracles I’m so surprised that doubting God was even an option for me.  But it was an option, and it often came out in the form of crying myself to sleep. 

The hope planted deep within me came back each time there was a step in the right direction.   The first time was when the judge unexcused the biological father from not attending court; that was the day they scheduled our second trial.  The second time hope broke through me was at the trial.  In the courtroom on November 13th Ryan and I sat completely still and yet I felt like we were shaking.  I literally couldn’t breathe while the state presented their case against his dad.  My shortness in breathing was due to the fact that his biological father was really doing terrible, and it was hard to know how to react to that.  We certainly aren’t happy that a man’s life has been ruined on account of drugs.  Then the judge asked for a moment to consider his ruling and time for us stood still. 

Listening to the judge severe his dad’s rights and at the same time affirming Ryan and I for taking good care of D was bittersweet, but still the best news that I have ever received.  Being a parent is often a thankless job and being a foster parent is even harder at times.  The judge thanked Ryan and I that day and it was like our three years of foster care had been affirmed in that moment.  I never thought I would need to hear a “thanks” but when I did feel recognized it was overwhelming.  I spent 867 days caring for a little man that might have eventually left my life, to me that deserved a little pat on the back. 

The hope that came back that morning after severance spilled out in a really nasty cry.  Our family left the courtroom crying and hugging each other but I just felt that I needed to be out of the entire building.  We quickly went out side and with the fresh air the walls holding me together came down, the fight was over.  Our family is just as in love with D as we are and I was so thankful they were able to share that moment with us.  They were crying for the grandson that they all get to keep.  Finally when Ryan and I closed the doors to the minivan we both simply sat and started sobbing.  Not holding each other or anything, just hands over our faces in our laps sobbing separately.  After a few minutes we looked at each other and hysterically laughed.  God is so good.

We had a STITCH themed Christmas.

Last Monday we received the call from our caseworker that the date is set- February 5th is ADOPTION DAY! It was the best Christmas gift ever.  Then on Christmas day Ryan and I received another unexpected gift.

The nodding in the video is the start of my tears, we all had a huge bear hug afterwards and then I asked "Are you serious? Because that would be a mean joke." Pima originally just wanted to stay in our home until she aged out of the system and adoption had been an ongoing conversation.  We respected that she was almost old enough to be legally considered on her own and we were just planning to support her in whatever way she asked throughout college and her life.  Do you know that she calls our family the “crazy Senters”? Well now she wants to be an official member of this crazy crew, and we couldn’t be more excited. 

Ryan and I are filled with JOY as we reflect on our year, and look forward to making two of our kids legally ours in 2015.   PS- check out our other cuties.

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