I realize that these will not be the “final chapters”, because the stories that God is writing in our shaken up snowglobe life are FAR from over
So … here are a few more “chapters” from our long awaited (17 months) season of fostering to adopt.
WHY did yall do this?
After adoption was final, we had quite a few folks ask, “why?”. Why did we start the process to foster? After saying it outloud a few times now, I give you the short and sweet version.
a. Our kids wanted to adopt so bad. We explained it wasn’t like getting a puppy, but if someone was left on our door step, we would let them in. Except there was something illegal about that, maybe.
b. One September afternoon, a high school student in our town climbed to the tip top of the stadium lights. His intentions were to jump and end his life. Our kids were so worried about him and his parents (that must be at the bottom) watching. We knew that there were no parents, he was a resident of one of our shelters in town. It wrecked my heart to think that he thought his best option of that day was to end his life. It stole my sleep, my heart and my thoughts. (he made it down safely after seven hours)
c. Robert had begun to pay attention to the volume and concern of human trafficking on the I 35 corridor. He asked our DA what we could do to help. She said getting children out of the foster system was a great start.
Those three things were all small little nudges to open all five of our hearts. That’s the thing about being obedient to what God asks us to do … our hearts don’t have to be thrown wide open. Just the littlest of an opening can let Him in to do a huge work. Like the cracked open closet door to let that little bit of light in as we tuck our kids in … just a little opening lets in enough light for us to feel safe. God is good that way … just little openings in our heart so He can allow us to feel safe in His adventure.
Brave and Blessed
Seventeen months ago, we opened our doors to a three and four year old that were holding tightly to their angel of a caseworker as they stepped into our home. I still get emotional thinking about their big brown eyes filled with fear. They were being “dropped off” in a home where they knew no one (except their precious CASA advocate) after being at a shelter for six weeks.
I can not fathom how they felt. At all. They might not have felt it, but at that moment I knew they were the bravest boys I have ever met. Our brave, brave boys.
Seventeen months ago, the five of us opened our hearts to an adventure, a challenge, lives that are forever changed. I can still see our excitement, tears and fears as we met Mark and Roman. What we didn’t see then, was just how much we would be blessed. And when I mean “blessed”, I don’t mean the “easy, American, life is pretty and good” blessed (which btw, drives me crazy). I mean the “hard as heck, tired as all get out, talking (and sometimes pleading) to Jesus, we are forever changed” kind of blessed.
I can not fathom how we would be changed. At all. I didn’t know it then, but we are without the ones that have been deeply blessed. Our blessed, blessed family.
the ironic flipsides to those words…
*Many will say that the boys are blessed to be Boyds … we are grateful and accept that. We have no doubt that we have been given much and desire to give much away.
*Many will also say that we are the brave ones … we will amen that. We have five kids and the state of Texas recognizes that … therefore the state of Texas recognizes that we are brave (aka CRAZY).
The night before we went to court, the seven of us and extended family gathered at the table. It was good, so good. I went to bed thinking that the ceremony would really just be a logistical thing we had to do … not emotional. (Not emotional. Ha. There is nothing I do that is “not emotional”) The next morning we loaded up the car for the most important road trip we would ever take as a family.
After sitting just a few moments in the court room, I knew this would be far more than a “logistical thing”. There was a silent joy and anticipation that filled the entire court room. It’s as if we were all holding our breath. The judge even commented on it when she walked in. After reading the docket, she called us to the front … so all of us went forward… our family of seven, five more family members, three more caseworkers whom we treasure, our lawyer who is a dear friend and more friends who stood and circled around the galley area. And it was beautiful. I was overwhelmed with the body of Christ. These people representative of all that have supported us and loved these boys of ours … even when we were all frenzied and hard to love.
It was a small and simple proceeding. But the emotion and freedom and declaration was huge. We were a family of seven. Forever. There was a freedom when the judge declared, “this is the best place for you, Mark and Roman, and you are now a part of the Boyd family”. It was done. Forever. We all knew it was true, declared and official. And we all let out a HUGE sigh of relief and shed (a few …. thousand) tears in celebration.
Before we realize what God has done for us, I think we subconsciously hold our breath … hoping for something better, but not knowing if it exists. There is an anxiety that fills the rooms of our hearts. And then when we understand those words that were settled at the Cross … “it is done … you are a part of God’s family”. We breath a sign of relief and know it is done. Forever. And each day after that revelation, God says the same thing to us, “this is the best place for you as you are a part of My family”
Names … ours and theirs
When our first born, Libby, was born we were like most newborn parents … both trying our best to have our daughter’s first words be “mama” or “dada”. We couldn’t wait to be called by our name. It’s not too different in adoption. We certainly are having to practice great patience and understanding to be called “mom and dad” and not “mr wobert and mrs. telli”. It will be worth the wait to be called the names we have been given.
(And heck, it’s better than what I was called the first four months of fostering (mudder tucker atthole titch stoopid). Mrs. Telli is actually sounding pretty good right now.
Our sons (huh… that still feels a little strange to say … our sons, i guess i see how they feel) received new names too. Roman David and Mark Daniel. It’s an odd thing to name someone when you know their personality already. Roman David. King David was a natural leader … with a huge heart … and a few faults. May he lead with a heart that loves Jesus. Mark Daniel. Daniel was head strong and unwavering … a trait in most three year olds … but our littlest guy can stick to his guns, and we pray with confidence that it will be used to give God the glory.
Names. They are important. Maybe the story behind them is unknown, but knowing a name says alot. Calling a person by name is an intentional act that brings respect. God calls us each by name. Did you catch that? He calls us each. by. name. That’s a whole lot of people and Him knowing our name is important to Him and to us. Let us be intentional about knowing names and the people attached to them.
With three teenagers and two young guys, our social schedule is split. And we are learning to balance that … and the not so godly thoughts that go with it. Last weekend our three older children all had things to go and places to be. The thought … “man, if we didn’t have two new sons, we would have had the night and house to ourselves” marched right through my mind and heart. Followed not too far by the thought of “and if you didn’t have those two boys, where would they be on this evening?”
Ugh. We hear ya Lord. And we thank you. I pray that we, as God’s people, never become satisfied of thinking of our comfort and our needs more than others. It’s going to be hard … but what a difference it will make if we do.
PSA about our foster system
I have to be honest with you (not like I haven’t been up to this point). We didn’t want to adopt because of the costs. We didn’t want to raise money, we didn’t want to travel oversees away from our kids. Call us doubting, call us lazy, call us unable to trust God … we have called ourselves all of those and more. But God called us to do this … and taught us to trust Him.
Did you know that fostering to adopt provides
–monthly stipends while fostering
–once they are adopted it is a little less, but the monthly stipend continues until they are 18
–health insurance until they are 18
–full college tuition to any state school up to their doctorate
Yall. That’s insane. The system is crazy busy and overworked, but they want to help those who help kids. We were SHOCKED.
Isn’t it just like God to take our “excuses” and turn them around to prove He is walking with us.