Friday, May 3, 2013

Fostering Through The Rough

I've been wanting to write about things for some time. We get a lot of questions about or new girls and how it's you can imagine. But haven't really been able to find the right words. So I thought I'd just hop on here and say it:

Things in our foster case have been rough lately. And sorta ugly. And just plain hard.

A few months ago when I realized that this foster journey was rising above our heads more than I'd like to admit, I didn't want to say anything. I didn't want to admit that we were questioning things, and I didn't want to admit that the whole situation was occupying way more of my time than it should. I felt under attack during a season of change in our life - and in a way, I felt plagued by all the uncertainties that now hung over our heads.

Will we keep them? Can we keep them? Are our bio kids ok? Will we all make it through this?

As you know, in July we felt led to jump into fostering. We had been raising kids for 9 years, appeared to be doing this big family thing with a good amount of sanity, and us adding a kid was no shocker to people anymore - because clearly, we can not be trusted in the "we're done having kids" department. Amen?

But then He gave us these 2 older girls from a really hard place - and there was no bonding, and a lot of problems, and things just started to cave in. I was trying to keep up, be brave, and love hard, but the hole we were in was filling faster than I could dig out. C started becoming more upset with each visit with their mom, and A...well, like I've mentioned, she's just got a lot going on. All the sudden there were a million unknowns. And I was drowning.

The people pleaser in me wanted to say, "Things are SO great! I feel like I birthed them! Goodness, this is so beautiful!" But I couldn't, and since you only get reality around here, I kept quiet instead of sharing.

Friends, I have learned that He does not want you to keep quiet when you are struggling to make sense of a rocky season. He wants us to share it with anyone you chose so we can hear these magic words, "Wait, you've felt like that too? You've been there before? Oh, it makes me feel so much better to know I'm not alone."

It was hard for me, after all, how often do I hear, "wow, 6 kids PLUS you're fostering?? You must be Super Mom!!". I would find myself cringing at how far from the truth that is. Because I struggle too. A lot. And I yell. Way more than I should. So if you're coming here looking for Super Mom, then you've come to the wrong place, because she ain't here.

Besides, 2 kids, 6 kids, 10 kids, or 20 kids doesn't make you super mom. Loving your kids fearlessly, putting their needs before your own, and getting out of bed in the morning and dragging your struggling heart to the toaster to make waffles is what makes you super mom. We laugh a midst the pain, smile when things are hard, and push through when we just want to crumble. That is what makes mothers different from anything else in God's creation. That's what makes us all super mom.

I couldn't let go of what I had planned in my head when we started this. I was asking God why this was so incredibly hard, and why He would lead us here to only let us struggle? But now I see that He leads us into the storm to change us. He uses these times to shape us and renovate our lives and our hearts. So when the clouds part and the light starts to shine back in, you come out a changed person.

You see, the struggle is part of the story. It's actually a huge part of the big picture. It is where we grow.

A close friend told me recently, "Let go of what you thought it was going to be, and let God show you how it's going to end up." I think I say that to myself daily now. Because even though life with them isn't exactly all warm & fuzzy all the time, we do love them deeply. Their history has a lot of pain and neglect, it seems so unfair and when I think of it all I just want to hide them forever so we can protect them.

But I can't.

At the end of a long day when I tuck all 8 of them in, I remember that this isn't about me. It's not about us being more comfortable or about our life being easy. This is about Him. And this about bringing glory to His name whether they stay forever or whether they don't.

So for now we breath deep and we take it a day at a time. We just do the next thing. 

People have asked a lot lately about how things were going, and so I thought it was time to answer :). I get a lot of questions about how our marriage thrives through it, and how our bio kids handle it all, and I'm going to try to write about that all in more detail soon. Feel free to ask any questions about our family, I'll do my best to answer :).

Hope you all are having a great week! I am so excited to relax with my people this weekend!


susieloulou said...

I love this post. But I can't help adding that Lincoln is just so darn cute!! :-)

Clever Blonde -Donna G said...

I love it too. I love seeing how the kids have grown. But I love how this post reminds me, that He had me praying when you were back there! I love how it shows me how AWESOME He is. How clever is He! He cares for you so very very much that He goes all round the world to build a team to stand behind you in prayer. So the next time you're down deep, in one of those days remember how great & awesome is His love for you. Love & blessings

K Hill said...

Thank you for being so transparent. I know a lot of people who foster, and EVERY SINGLE one of them talks about how HARD it is. And that they couldn't do it without Jesus.

So, I will continue to pray that Jesus would shine when you are tired and worn out. That Jesus would shine when you just have no more words to say. That Jesus would shine when you look at your husband.

You are doing a GREAT WORK. Don't come down.

We Are Family said...


Donyale said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, but have never commented. I don't have kids and I'm not married, but I've identified fiercely with many of your posts. But, today, the lines "I couldn't let go of what I had planned in my head when we started this. I was asking God why this was so incredibly hard, and why He would lead us here to only let us struggle? But now I see that He leads us into the storm to change us. He uses these times to shape us and renovate our lives and our hearts. So when the clouds part and the light starts to shine back in, you come out a changed person." resonated so hard with me, that I couldn't go back to my day without telling how truthful that is and how much I needed to hear it. And for what it's worth, you may not feel like "Super Mom" but you a super mom...I can just tell.

Robin said...

I really needed to read this today. Thanks for being honest and sharing. You are doing a beautiful thing.

The Sneaky Mommy said...

It always amazes me how God uses the ugly and the storms to make true beauty. And over and over, during and after the storm, I love how people still say they'd never go back because of the way their relationship with God has grown and because of how He has shown Himself faithful. Recently, I found myself saying, "This isn't the way it was suppose to be," and then I felt as if God said, "Exactly." I'm praying for you! Cling to your Rock that is Higher than any! You've got some adorable little people over there! :)

Savvy Little Women - Kate said...

Thank you, ladies! So, so thankful for your encouraging words...they mean so much to me!

Sarah said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It's incredible how much I need to read those words today. Your motto, "Let go of what you thought it was going to be, and let God show you how it's going to end up." is perfect and I plan on putting that somewhere in my home as a reminder how much fostering isn't about us, but about these darling little ones.

What you had to say about being Super Mom was wondering. I only have three bio children and yet people make those comments and I want to cry. I am just normal. I love just like everyone else. You are such an inspiration and I think you are doing great things in your life and on this blog.

You (and your family) are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Jill said...

Yep. All of that.

Mama Ds Dozen said...

Just so you know . . .

I just love you . . .

. . . your transparency.

. . . your passion.

. . . your love for your children (and husband).

. . . your desire to walk God's path, despite how HARD it may be.

LOVE this wise quote from your friend:

"Let go of what you thought it was going to be, and let God show you how it's going to end up."

Wow! That is exactly that walk I have had to walk for the past 5 years since we adopted. I do understand HARD.

Hugs & Prayers to you Sweet Friend.

Laurel :)

His Grace Blogger said...

Thank you for sharing your story through the ups and downs. Your words are full of truth and wisdom and of His love and Grace. Will be praying for you all the way from sunny London! love

Anonymous said...

I love how honest you are. My husband and I have identical twins (15 month old) and we've been talking a lot lately of the possibility of fostering/adopting. Thank you for your honesty and I look forward to the other posts on this (about how it affects your marriage and your bio children).

You are a star. With the most amazing heart know to the star-filled sky.

Love from Iceland,

(By the way - My husband and I are not religious as you are; but I still love reading all the quotes you post and how you find solace in your faith. It's beautiful and inspiring.)

cher789 said...

YOu don't know me, but I've been following your blog. We have four children and are starting foster training this week. I've already started feeling the spiritual attacks trying to derail us from this mission. Britt Nicole's song "Stand" has meant a lot to me this week and I thought of you so I thought I'd share it with you:>) Look it up on youtube...its great!

cowartclan said...

My sister specializes in ATTACHMENT disorders (thousands of foster kids and adopted kids) One good read is TAMING THE TIGER WHILE IT IS STILL A CUB - which is about attachment disorder. Might help some - or my sister does phone conferences for specific help more tailored to personal needs - just a thought for you lady!!