Love Does, Uncategorized

Mama said there’d be days like this

I always knew parenting would be hard. That’s why I decided a long time ago I probably shouldn’t be one.  I’m a cautious person by nature.  I don’t get into things that I don’t know I can do well.  I don’t put myself at risk of failure or even situations that might cause pain.  But God puts me there, time and time again.

When I went to my first foster parent information meeting 4 years ago,  I seriously thought they would send a kid home with me that night.  Then they began talking about the realities of foster parenting, the brokenness, the pain of walking with families and I freaked out.  It took two years before I even stepped foot in another informational meeting.  I knew I would never be ready for this.

My sweet girls have experienced more pain before their 3rd birthday than I have experienced in more than 30.  When I stop and look at them through the lens of their story, my heart aches.  My eyes fill with tears when I imagine what it must be like at 2 years old to be pulled from the only love you know, even when what you know is not safe. Or at 4 years old to make up stories for why I haven’t seen my first mommy and daddy in so long.  Surely, something must have happened to them.

We walk a fine line.  How much do you tell them?  What do we say when they ask?  What’s appropriate for them to know?  Surely there are question marks in their mind, pieces of the puzzle that just don’t fit together.  They’re old enough to know this isn’t the way it was supposed to be.

Everything in me trembles when I think of one year, five years, ten years down the road and I don’t have answers for the deep wonderings they carry.  I had a hard enough time yesterday just holding her while she cried with the pain and disappointment of a consequence I had to enforce.  My heart cried too.  It was the first time I could understand that old saying “it hurts me more than it hurts you”.

She made a bad choice.  We had talked on the way to school about our day, prayed that we could be fun with friends and nice to our teachers because after all, today is a gymnastics day.  But things didn’t go so well… spit was involved… and a teacher’s face… and well, there’s more in between but the facts aren’t important.  The bottom line is, I had to say no to the most favorite thing in our week, gymnastics.

I held her as she cried.  The kind of cry I imagine someone cries when something you love has died.  I softly spoke to her how sorry I was that we couldn’t go, that we would try again tomorrow and the next day.  We talked through what happened, what was she feeling, what were her choices and what could she do differently the next time she feels that way?  In the back of my mind I imagined this same child in my arms and future talks about rejection and love and that her value is not based on someone’s opinions or actions but on who God says she is.  And it hit me…. parenting is way hard.

I read a devotional earlier this week with the story of David, a young shepherd boy who was anointed as king.  The prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse where he had lined up all of his sons, except David.  Surely the king would be one of the other sons, not David – he was the last born, the least qualified.  But God saw something in David.

But the Lord said to Samuel,  Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:6-7

Clearly, God’s ways are not our ways. He’s not looking for obvious external qualifications. God looks at the heart.

I am often overwhelmed with the place God has called me.  This mother thing is not something I saw in me.  There are moments when I cannot take all the cuteness of my life and I feel so undeserving.  Then there are moments when I think I am going to break under the weight of the pain and I feel so unqualified.  There are little hearts at stake here, God….

I know I may not always get it right.  I have been spit at and slapped more times than I ever imagined I would in this life.  Parenting has a lot more poop and pain than I could have anticipated.  But here I stand, in the middle of the messiness, in the good days and the bad days and I thank God that he saw something in me.





Love Does, Uncategorized

Dreaming Big

We made it. 2015 is finished. Let’s wrap that up and put it behind us.  I remember starting the year with such excitement and anticipation for what it would hold.  I was exhausted, overwhelmed and hoping that things would get easier… which they did.  I was grappling with the question if we were really open to adoption, sorting through the unknowns of a termination process and all that entails.  I was a little bit brave, alotta bit naive and every bit trusting that God had a plan.

At the first of the year as I was looking at this picture… New YearI sensed the Lord say to me, “this is the year I will build your family tree.” 

If you know me well… I anticipated my family “tree” being small, skinny, with two little branches, no fruit and a lot of dogs around it.  We entered into foster-care with no intentions of adopting.  We said it over-and-again – we’re not trying to adopt.  Remember, I need control!  {Insert God laughing here}

But God gave me this picture and those words, building my family tree… and I looked at it over and over through the year.  This was my word.

As we navigated the TPR process and waited for an outcome the ups and downs were almost unbearable.  Maybe, just maybe, God gave me this picture to get me through the highs and lows?  Maybe, just maybe, he knows what he’s doing.

I wish I walked prettier than I do.  I wish I stood tall, confident and unwavering in the process … but it was all too much.  It took me a good 2 more months of the Lord softening my heart to get to a confident yes, we can do this and live to tell about it. Then we started all the court dates, the waiting, the court dates, more waiting, the bumps, the bruises and did I ever mention waiting?  And this girl, this girl wobbled.  I fumbled. I probably laid down and cried a few times, pitching a fit when I didn’t get my way or my timing.  I look back at 2015 and it doesn’t feel pretty.

But you guys, man, you guys – you picked me up.  I cannot count the number of times your prayers, your words, your hope brought me to the feet of Jesus.  We couldn’t have made it through the year without you.  Thank you friends, you’ve loved us well.

There are so many things to celebrate about 2015:

  • a sweet girl learned to walk, run, talk and play peek-a-boo like a pro
  • 2 sweet girls learned to ride bikes, swim and are full of giggles as they learn to drive their Jeep {Lord help us all}
  • Mommy and Daddy have learned how to keep little people alive for 365 consecutive days
  • We’re still learning how to cook
  • Twins had their first Auburn game
  • We had our first family vacation  {which was a little premature.  Mommy underestimated how exhausting it would be to travel with 3 little people for a week}
  • We lost our beloved dog…..  then we found our beloved dog.
  • Daddy went to England for 3 weeks…. mommy almost killed daddy when he came home
  • The girls went to their first Peanut Festival
  • We bought a piece of paradise… and we’re just gonna sit there in our chairs because it cost too much to build on it 😉
  • We ate a lot of pizza, ice-cream and jelly beans
  • We drank a lot of coffee… and liquor… and juice of course

Life is full.  God is faithful.  We are grateful!

Throughout the year as I kept the family tree word in the back of my mind I began to wonder if it would ever happen.   In December when we hit a new hurdle and realized adoption would not be happening this year I questioned if God sees me, hears my prayers or if I’m just crazy.  I gave up hope in that word, that this would be the year.  It couldn’t be the year, not as I saw it.

But as I stand in a fresh year, looking back at the hard things of 2015, I realize – God has been strengthening our roots.  That tree you see in the picture above, it didn’t grow overnight… it has undoubtedly wavered many storms, holding fast through hurricanes, heavy winds and downpours.  He’s given us enough sunshine in the happy days, the progress, the normal life moments we’ve reached – and he has given us grace in the storms, mercy in the mistakes, hope in the waves – and we are stronger.

On Monday I received the best news ever.  A piece of our case that has been in waiting for 6 months was just closed.  Tears fell from my eyes as I read the text and realized the relief of having that open-end closed for good.  And when I asked for “proof” because I wanted to read it for myself, I saw the date of the court order was 12.31.15.

You sneaky God!

So we enter 2016 with more hope, stronger roots, ready hearts and hopefully some patience.  We still have another major hurdle to cross in March.  We won’t have anything certain before then.  But this girl, I’m feeling a little bit taller, a bit stronger and a little bit more confident….  I have an idea who wins.   #lovedoes