I read a lovely blog post about a mama waiting for her second child to be born, which made me think about my own waiting.
I am certainly not waiting to give birth – I will be 45 in December. I am waiting for our foster baby to be placed with her great aunt, after she has been with us for eight months.
I got the call last week. I saw a message from the baby’s caseworker on my phone, and called her back with a tiny hint of dread in my stomach. A great aunt had filled out all the paperwork to be approved; we were only waiting on a background check. This aunt lives in a remote city, and won’t see the baby until she is dropped off at her door.
The dread was now full-blown – I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me.
So how did we get here? To this place where this baby feels so much like part of our family, yet has never really been “permanent”? There is nothing easy about the place we are in. When I am feeding, bathing, dressing, chasing, tickling, singing or reading Where’s Kitty? to this baby, she is indiscernible from any child I have raised.
When I take her to the doctor, and have to check the box next to FOSTER MOTHER, I am taken aback. It is the truth of our tenuous situation staring me in the face. It is the same way when a visitation worker comes to drive her to her visit with her father. And when her father came to her last doctor’s appointment, and I gave her to him so he could comfort her, even though my mama arms ached for her the whole time.
Part of me says, “Self, this should be somewhat of a relief.” It has been a struggle to let go of what life was like before the baby. My dreams for what certain ministries could look like at church. My freedom to visit or help someone in the afternoons. My sleep. My ability to go out with my husband for a date without a state-approved babysitter. My time. My energy. My carpet with no spit-up stains or toys lying about. Mine.
But at the same time that I have struggled with letting go of MY SCHEDULE, my heart has went from being possessive of this baby, to knowing God’s best for her may not (probably isn’t) with us, to…maybe we should at least be willing to be her forever parents, even though that means our lives would definitely be taking a one-eighty from the Previous Plan. When my husband looked at the baby two weeks ago and said he didn’t care if we were older, and he didn’t care if we didn’t have other little kids…he would keep her…I saw how much God has changed his heart from his historical, objective stance of, “Jen, we can’t adopt her if she already has a good home to go to.”
With all grief, it doesn’t hurt all the time. I feel okay right now, choosing to trust God with her life, knowing he is good, and he loves her. I pray he will put her in the BEST place. For his glory. For her faith to be strong. That may not be with us, or other potential adoptive parents, but with biological family.
And God has sent us comfort, in the form of family sharing our grief; of friends at church asking about her, then hugging me when I couldn’t answer; and even a foster mama at Becca’s volleyball game whom I had never met: she hugged me when I told her about the baby’s pending placement, and told me how hard it had been when all of their foster kids had been placed somewhere else.
We are definitely not the advertisement for foster care. It has been HARD. But. So good. I love my husband more when I see him love this little one. My girls continue to cherish this little person, even if they know she is only here for weeks, instead of years. My faith in the God who sees, who hears, and who acts with mercy and justice continues to grow, as I know in my gut, side-by-side with my grief of not being able to see this little person grow up, that he is in control, and I am comforted. I am learning that loving Jesus in the ordinary, diaper-changing, toilet-paper unrolling moments is a worthy sacrifice, as much as going out and serving OUT THERE. I am learning that what he calls us to do he equips us for. If he intends for us to keep her, he will give us the courage and strength to parent a little one again. If he intends for her to go somewhere else, he will mend our hearts.