Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Nitty Gritty

"So do you blog anymore?" This is what my caseworker asked me yesterday at the garage sale for the new non-profit we are co-founding with this family. I know, I know. It has been a while. We have had our new kiddos for over a month yet it feels even longer.

I haven't written because, well, I don't feel very inspired or inspirational. I feel tired. This has been one of the hardest transitions of bringing kids into our home. I am not sure if that's because they are older, or because they have more issues, or because we have Isaiah and he is our own child, or because personality-wise we don't mesh as well. It is probably all of that and more.

My journey with foster care has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. With every wave of kiddos, the reasons for the difficulty are different.
With Panda and Abby, our firsts, it was because we had never been parents, much less foster parents. We had never dealt with the system, with bio visits, with sleep training, with vaccinations, and CCMS, and formula, and ear infections, and early mornings, and daycare. We had also never said goodbye before. When they left, five months to the day after they came, I was exhausted and heartbroken. I came in the house from putting them in the car and literally crumpled on my kitchen floor and cried out to Jesus.
With Thomas and Joy, it was behavior problems, and being kicked out of the nursery at church and being slapped over frozen yogurt, and being slapped in the parking lot of restaurants, and carrying screaming children out of the store, and falling madly in love with kids that I knew would leave all along. When I loaded up the car that took them home, I felt completely torn; half-hoping they would come back and half-hoping that I would never see them again, because that would mean things got better.
This time, it is hard because it has revealed the ugliness in my heart. That when I look at pictures of Thomas and Joy I think: "God, this is all one big mistake. Those were supposed be my kids." I don't want MY son to have to share me, or his things, or time. (I do catch the irony that Isaiah was once a foster kid, and technically still is).
But that is not what our faith calls us to. That is not how God has called me. He calls us to live sacrificially -- not just to give what is left after serving ourselves, or our families, or our friends. But to give first. It is a hard, refining thing.
There is my confession. When you are a foster parent, people like to tell you how wonderful you are, how they respect you for choosing a life that they never could. But here is the deal: The nitty gritty. This is not a life that I can do either. This is not a life that I would ever choose for myself -- to step right into the brokeness of the world, which ineveitably reveals my own brokeness. I was called and I am just trying to answer the call. Dragging my selfish heart against its will, hoping, praying, and believing that it will catch up with my actions.
Only by the grace of God go I.