When we began fostering, folks would ask us how we are doing. That is a loaded question. I could write a book. But, time isn’t in abundance. So, I’ll just give you chapter titles and synopsis. You know … the cliff notes version … that’s how I rolled in high school: cliff notes.
Warning: some thoughts are raw and ugly and may be viewed as ungodly. But I assure you, they have all been discussed at length with the God that has called us into this new family of seven … and He hasn’t struck me down … yet.
Chapter One: The Screamer.
The screamer is a swing that starts at the top of a thirty foot tower. It’s a free fall. And you are harnessed in. It reminds me a lot of our first step in this adventure. You can have the harness on. You can have the paperwork done. You can climb the stairs. You can go to all the trainings. You can sit on the platform. You can answer the phone call. But to say “yes, we will take two brothers … ages four and three” is just like taking the plunge off the screamer tower. There. Is. No. Turning. Back. Full on fear and adventure ahead, so hang on.
Chapter Two: Speech Impairments are good.
I am glad our littlest has a speech problem. It makes my new names “Mudder Tucker Atthole Titch” not seem as harsh. (disclaimer: cussing and flipping off have subsided greatly). Just like me, when I fill my mind and heart with good stuff … the bad stuff doesn’t bubble out of my mouth and actions so quickly.
Chapter Three: Head Start Rocks.
Thank you sweet baby Jesus for Head Start. Thank you that our new ones can go to school all day for five days. They are loved by AMAZING people and are learning so much. These ladies are patient with 21 preschoolers in two languages … all day! And they nap. And I want their teachers to live with us on the weekend … or just come over at nap time. I am not ashamed that our youngest prefer their free lunch over my homemade lunch … not at all. I have even been known to take them for breakfast. Unashamed.
Chapter Four: Crazy concepts.
There are kids that have NO idea what marriage is. What a husband is. Why someone goes to work each day. What it means to be loved, no matter what. There are two of those children in our home. We are glad to show them these things. We treasure that they get out of the car and lay in the grass. Everyday. They lay in our grass because they have never had grass … just needles and glass and mean dogs and cops. So, don’t be shocked when you see us all laying in the grass and I won’t grow exhausted at explaining why Robert and I are a team … forever.
Chapter Five: I am judgmental.
I am. There, I said it. I am judgmental … of the system, of the family, of those that foster and those that don’t. I judge myself in the worst way. And when I am battling a preschool boy in the loudest and most embarrassing of situations I pray that those watching don’t judge me. And I pray that when I see others battling, that I don’t judge them. Grace is becoming new to me.
Chapter Six: Our kids walk with Jesus.
It has been overwhelming to me how our kids have handled this five to seven change of lifestyle. Our talks are richer, their serve is brighter, and everyone’s perspective has changed. I ask often “how are you doing? What are you learning? “. Reminding them not to give me the “Jesus answer”. One answers, “it’s hard, but worth it.” Another answers, “I see how much I really need Jesus”. And another is reminding me constantly that we are actually doing well with this adventure. We see God show up in them often. They rock.
Chapter Seven: The shirt I want to wear.
I hate to admit it … but I have thought that it would be nice to have a shirt that said, “we are fostering”. Not as a badge or medal … but an explanation as to why that darling three year old with the biggest brown eyes is telling me “I’m going to tell the cops on you and you are going to jail” in a not so darling way. Then I have to remember that God doesn’t wear a shirt that says “she’s not mine, she’s a sinner”. They (we) are sinners, not foster kids. And thank you Lord for loving us and claiming us, despite our actions or circumstances.
Chapter Eight: We are changed.
No doubt our family will never be the same. We are tired, we are worn. We have hysterical stories and endearing moments. We have become creative and we have become resourceful. And no matter the outcome, we are changed. When you say, “yes” to the Lord of Lords…expect to be changed.
Chapter Nine: Don’t go and tell.
The first week that the boys were with us, Jase and I were reading in Matthew. We found it so odd when Jesus would heal someone and then say, “go … but don’t tell anyone”. What? Why not? We are no theologians (well, I’m not) … but we couldn’t help but hear God say the same thing to us … “Go, but don’t talk about it”. We can’t post pics on facebook and Instagram. No Christmas card picture for us (yes, I know … we haven’t had one in um … nine years). We talk to those near to us about it … we talk to God about it. And that is a whole new discipline and experience for Team Boyd.
Chapter Ten: Schizophrenic.
My soul is exhausted a lot in this process. I think too much about it all. Take a peek into my mind (be careful).
*Many things, most things on grand scales come easy for me. Relationships fuel me. How can these two little “grand scale relationships” be such a challenge and alter my world so much?
*I will be totally okay if they go back with mom. I will cry a thousand days when they are sent back.
*Christians are wimps, we can’t do the hard things.
*What if we are offered to adopt them and don’t … will I have failed?
*This is first world hard. With a roomie budget and a roomie home and huge support and a so. much. more, yet I complain that it’s hard.
*Two boys, in need of love … we can’t deny that to them, when we have been given so so much. It’s worth it. No doubt.
Schizophrenic … or sanctification? God and I are working through this.
To be continued …