Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fraction of a Fraction

Tomorrow, Thomas and Joy are leaving. These are the kids I have fostered for the last 11 1/2 months. Also, today is my last day as a Special Education teacher - a job I have had in one form or another for the last - I dunno - 15 years.

I am feeling a lot of things right now, including, but not limited to: excitement, fear, sadness, regret, and loneliness. For the last month or so leading up to today, I have tried my damndest to hold it together. I have poured food on top these feelings, avoided talking about these things with the people that love me, plastered on a smile, and said things like: "It's what we signed up for" (referring to fostering, and T and J leaving), and "I'm really excited" (referring to leaving my job) and while those things are true, they are a mere fraction of a fraction of the truth.

The truth is: We did sign up for foster care; but we also have fallen madly in love with these kids. They are going back home and that is good, but it isn't entirely stable. I know the Lord has a plan, but it breaks my heart that I won't see them again after tomorrow. I will miss Thomas’ quirks and rigidity, and Joy’s sassiness.

The truth is: you pour blood, sweat, and tears into these kids, you pour love in. You provide stability; you spend yourself trying to undo everything that has been done. Then you send them off, hoping against hope, that it is enough. You pray that they remember love, that you have given enough to last. You dream about seeing them again, but pray they don't have to come back, because that means things never really got better.

The truth is: I am excited about staying at home with Isaiah, but I am also afraid. Afraid of how we are going to be financially. Afraid that I won't be a good stay-at-home mom. I love my job. I am good at my job. My job is safe, I know who I am with my job. Working with individuals with disabilities has defined so much of who I am for so long. I am also sad. I LOVE the people with whom I work. I have been with them every day, every week, for almost three years. I will miss laughing and working with them.

If you know me, you may not know any of this - you may think I am at peace and excited about this new season, this transition, and I am; but that is only a fraction of a fraction of what I am feeling. I am good at stuffing my feelings deep down inside. I avoid situations and people in front of whom I will fall apart. I skipped church on Sunday because I didn't want to be the girl sobbing in the second row. It took me 5 minutes to get out of the car at my LifeGroup (I even told Matt “I don't want to be here”) because I knew I would lose it - (and I did). All of this stuffing, and bearing down so hard, has resulted in a five pound weight gain and full-body hives. And guess what? I'm lonely. I don't want to do it alone, but I don't want to be vulnerable, and I don't want to be perceived as weak. So last night I got in the shower got on my hands and knees and cried body wrenching sobs over the drain. Cause if you try to hold it together it comes out anyways through hives, or snappy short temper or night mares, and if you just let it go and fall apart that's when Glory falls; in the shower covered in hives crying into the drain.


  1. Okay, I'm holding back tears for you! Thank you for sharing yourself in such a vulnerable way. My goodness, you are going through A LOT of transitions right now...all at once...I can't imagine. I DO know how you feel about quitting teaching to be a SAHM. I did that almost three years ago when Nora was born, and I had many of the same feelings as you. So, for what it's worth, the way you're feeling is normal. I also worried about everything from finances to losing my identity...and God has worked out all the kinks for me, as I feel confident He will for you. As far as losing your foster kids tomorrow, I have no words. But I will pray for you!!! And I hope you continue to let others in on how you feel and cry it out to God. In my experience, that's the only way to really deal in hard times. Hugs!

  2. I've been thinking about you and praying for you ever since I read this earlier today. Ah heck...I think about you a lot whenever I read on facebook about your special ministry as foster parents! I soaked in every word you said and between the tears and the prayers I felt so helpless as to what to say...except to say this: Rachel, please KNOW in the depths of your being that you are doing the Lord's work and that your love for the children (even and especially when it hurts) is definitely a gift from God to them. I love your candidness and honesty about everything you mentioned. I deeply believe that if we were all as transparent and honest with each other as you have been here that this would be a much healthier and happier world. We ALL have our ways of stuffing and hiding feelings. Eventually the feelings win out in that they HAVE to be expressed sooner or later...and it's to the detriment of us all when they end up hurting our bodies and/or our souls. I pray that this next chapter in your life brings you unexpected joy and healing! The Lord will provide for your family in ways you aren't aware of yet. Trust that the One who has lead you so far on this journey will continue in ways that are too awesome to imagine just yet. Be sure to be gentle with yourself and set realistic expectations for being at home with an infant. Remember...the dust bunnies can wait! Love you bunches!!

  3. Hi Rachel! I was at the training at Kornerstone when you spoke a couple weeks ago. We have since decided to foster to adopt. When I tell people about our decision they always ask/say just what you said they do (and really what I wondered before too) about how anyone could foster & have kids go back to their families and how anyone could be ok with that. It was amazing to hear you say that if you aren't falling completely apart when they leave then you arent doing it right. I could cry now thinking about how you are so broken and upset but that means you have done an amazing job. I know now that it will be ok for me to fall on the floor sobbing at the door when/if our future kids leave. You gave me permission to love them with all of my heart and be a completely broken, messy disaster when/if they leave. I think before I heard that I would have guarded my heart more than I should. Thank you! I love your blog. I will keep you all in my prayers.

  4. Kate- Thank you for continueing to pray and follow our story. It is so amazing how people who we barely know come along side us as spiritual brothers and sisters and help bear our burdens through prayer on of my favorite things about THE BODY.
    Karen- Thanks for the wisdom kind words and encouragment. I have recieved a lot of words through other women about renewal, restoration and healing (and being gentle with myself) during the upcoming season. I am recieving it for sure!
    Leila-So excited you are starting this journey hands down the best hardest thing we have ever done.Thank you for the prayers please let me know how I can pray for you as well. If you need ANYTHING please contact me! I gave out my email right?


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