It’s been about 2 months since we went on the waiting list for foster care, and honestly, since it was still summer, and both kids were home, I didn’t really think much about being on the waiting list at all until after school started in September. I was too consumed with learning the ins and outs of my new job, and hoping we wouldn’t get a placement until after Alex started at his school so we would have consistent childcare options if we did get a placement.
Once school started I felt myself take somewhat of a sigh of relief….”ok, now we can get a placement.” Even though I knew a placement could have happened the moment we went on the list. I’ve heard stories of people waiting months, to people being handed a case the day they go on the list, to others only waiting a few weeks.
Last weekend I had a bit of a moment. I typically try to hit up biannual consignment sales to stock up for the kids clothes, and while I was there my heart got a little sad. I knew that most likely before the next sale I would have another child in my home, and here I was staring at clothing that would fit her, but I have no idea who she is or what size she will be to know what to buy her.
I feel very blessed that moments like those are fleeting. I would imagine if I was aching to have children this waiting game would feel like an eternity. Having 2 bio kids of our own already keeps me busy, and not overly consumed by the thoughts of all the whens, and hows, and ifs that could rule my mind.
I’ve found that I’ve gone through ridiculous nesting phases in this process which I believe I mentioned before. My most recent was last week. All of the sudden I looked at my area rugs and was horrified at their appearance and become obsessed with cleaning them like..now! I then proceeded to scrub them by hand until they looked much improved. I laughed at my ridiculousness and chalked it up to nesting. I seriously have never ever scrubbed an area rug I owned (although I will say…it was quite easy and the results were great so I may do it again nesting or not in the future 😉 Sorry if that is gross…not sure if my lack of attention to them is abnormal, but in my mind they just never mattered on my list of things to clean.
So anyway (focus Bridget focus) here we are 2 months into this waiting game, starting to wonder why we seriously hadn’t gotten ANY calls yet….I mean really…do you know how many thousands of kids are in foster care? You would think we would have had 5 calls the first day! Then this morning….the phone rang about 10:30 with a local # but one I didn’t recognize. I didn’t think much of it. I figured it was Abbie’s school, or maybe Alex preschool calling me with an automated announcement or something, and just like that I heard the woman on the phone say she was from our foster agency, and my heart started thumping…this was it! Our first call! Immediately my mind started racing, and I heard words like “emergency placement” and “today” and my mind started reeling about things I had going on this afternoon, and if I would need to juggle things around, and would this child be sitting at our supper table tonight, and sleeping in the bed that has been sitting empty for 3 months…I quickly started jotting notes down, and scribbled as much as I could gather about this particular child. I asked a few questions, and then I was left to call David, and call back the social worker with our decision as to whether or not we would take the case.
I hung up the phone, and immediately sat down and cried as I stared at my notes. How in the world does life get to this place? A place where all that we know of a 5 year old child is a laundry list of horrible things that no one…I repeat NO ONE, especially not a young child should ever have to face, or even knows exists at such a young age!
I hesitated to share this with you, and I guarantee you when we get a placement I won’t share our child’s details with anyone here in this space. Those details are too intimate to share when it’s not my life I am telling you about. It won’t be my story to tell. I share only because THIS IS FOSTER CARE. It’s not meant to scare you (though believe me I know many of you it will. I was one of you. I was scared too. I didn’t want anything to do with kids who may in turn hurt me because of their own wounds and scars). I share because I want you to know the depth of brokenness that these kids deal with…
Wounds inflicted not because of their own choosing.
Wounds inflicted because someone else chose to do that to them.
Someone they trusted.
Someone they should be able to cling to, inflicted harm, not good.
Something God intended to be whole was broken, and ripped away from them.
I share so that you can start to see what God has helped me to start to see…
That NO ONE is broken beyond repair…not with Jesus.
That EVERYONE deserves to receive His hope, and His grace.
That these kids deserve a chance to thrive. To really, truly live a life where they are safe, and loved, and given a chance to be set free to be who God created them to be.
And that is the beauty of the gospel….we too were adopted into God’s family- given grace, and a second chance. To be taken from broken pieces, and be made into something beautiful.
I’ve heard many times “it’s so awesome that you are doing this,” but you know what…I’m not that awesome because if I’m really honest….we are terrified of this! We know we are not strong enough. We want to run away from the brokenness that we see in foster care, to stay in our comfortable life. Why would someone knowingly choose to inflict pain upon themselves…. The potential of having a difficult foster child, adopting a child with lifelong problems, or having to hand a child back that we have grown to love as our own…..are all potential challenges we may face, but it all comes down to one thing….obedience. God asks us to act in obedience to Him when He asks us to do something. We can ask all the logical, what if questions we want to, and His answer remains the same….this is something He has asked us to do.
One of the things that scared me going into this was feeling like I had to say “yes” to every placement that came our way, and that brings me back to today. Today David and I felt a firm “no” was our answer, because this child was not in our county, and it would mean a significant more amount of time and travel on our part to accommodate, and that is just not something we feel capable of right now. I was so grateful for this….grateful that God made the decision so easy…at least for today. I realized as I was on the phone and asked the social worker more questions, she really had nothing else for me. My desire to know more, and all the details….got mere tiny notes worth of information about a child that was potentially going to join our home long term. For me…it’s not enough, but I have to trust that when the time is right, and our placement comes it will be enough. I won’t know all the details, and I will spend months decoding the mystery of the child’s story who is placed in our home, but it will be enough, because God is enough to fill in every gap, and be my source to best lead these little lives every moment of each day that He gives me with them.