Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What About Them?

My goal as a parent is to raise kind, confident children, who dream big and love well isn’t that we all want? We want our babies to grow up well, pursuing the things that they love, the things that make them happy, we want them to find success. Building my family through adoption and foster care is revealing to me the impact of simple love, it drastically changes a child. My children have taught me to love well, to be brave and that actions always speak louder than words. I can teach them all day long to love people well, or I can show them, we can do it together.

I have seen a lot of articles about the topic of foster care and its effects on the other children in our homes lately. Our story is unique, my only children have been adopted from foster care. Now that I have had them some time and we have had experience with foster children coming and going in our home I feel like I can address this topic.

Foster care is intentional love at its best, us choosing to step in, step towards and embrace the ones around us. In our home we view adoption as a gift, we are thankful we are together forever. When the crew and I locked eyes that Sunday in June, two and half years ago our hearts collided, realizing we had been looking for each other. There is no mistake in who is born when and where, God plants babies in families. When brokenness invades the beauty of life, tragedy is born. Foster care is always tragic but the story isn’t over you see where tragedy dwells so does hope. Redemption comes into the story and makes it good, seeing and living this truth on a daily basis is a gift.

Foster care will 100% change your home, it is impossible for it not to. Kiddos who have walked the hard journey of finding themselves in foster care have developed coping skills that are often unfavorable, damaging and honestly inconvenient at times. They have seen things no child should, heard things that would break our hearts and been victims to some of the greatest sins of this world. Your home will change, your children will be scared, blessed, loved, hurt and grieved right alongside of you. This truth should not cause us to shy away.

The fact that they can be hurt by the brokenness is weirdly a gift, because it means they have not experienced it themselves. So foster care will change your home, it will challenge you, effect your day to day. Your kids will have to adjust, we will have to adjust. Choosing to bring foster care into your home is choosing to open your home to love.

Healthy parent’s quickest instinct is protection, we want to protect these tiny little lives from the cruelty in this world, the brokenness, things that are different and what we don’t understand. I think this topic is a two sided coin, same coin different perspective. If we limit our worldview to only one side of the coin it colors all we do, say and believe.

One side of coin has all of the unknowns, questions, fears and what ifs of foster care. The other side those same things but instead of fears it is opportunities. There is a lot of good we teach our children by allowing foster care into our home.

Allowing foster children into my home has taught my children a few things:

Real life consequences of choices. In our home, choices are not swept under the rug. We have real life experiences of the life altering effects of drugs and alcohol abuse. We see what happens when safety is not a parent’s priority. We know the effects on a soul that is abused, neglected and unseen.

People skills and conflict resolution. We have seen what happens when someone loses their temper, when anger is not kept in check. We learn new healthy skills to cope with the range of feelings. We learn that is not okay to be treated that way or to treat others that way. We learn that we can’t take out our frustrations on those around us.

To grieve well, to press in, to choose the hard things. We have learned what it means to say goodbye. To feel confused and to not understand why. We have learned that saying goodbye isn’t the end of the story. We have learned to cry and be honest with our feelings. We have seen first hand our precious baby come and go, grieving her. We have seen the joy of the journey, the long roads of healing and we have learned to let go.

The definition of family and love. We all look different, nothing but love tying us together. Our love is raw, intentional and beautiful. We choose each other every day. We choose to welcome others into our home, in a home where love ties us together not blood, all are welcome!

To see all humans as valuable and to love all well. We all have a story, that story shapes who we are, it is not what defines us. We use that story as fuel to change the world. We know that behind every person, behavior or feeling is an experience that has shaped our view. We know that no matter the story, struggle or experience we are all important.

To see the unseen and to serve others. Whether someone needs a hug, bed to sleep or a family to call their own, even for just a season we do it. We love because we are loved.

The beauty of redemption, healing and grace. The change that happens when grace enters the picture is tremendous. The change that happens when healing is sought. The beauty of redemption and the fact that love wins in the end. We see progress, eyes that light up and bodies that heal. We press in and work nine months on building enough trust for there to be a bond because we know it is work it.

Baby Z was welcomed into our home hearts wide open and yet Little One is still grieved, they are learning to love well and openly. When we receive calls for placements, my crew wants to take them all. They look at me and say, “mom they need a family too.” They once were those kids, they know better than anyone what it means to be forgotten.

My greatest hope for my kids is that they would use their story as fuel to change their world. I want them to see people, hear stories, serve others, show grace and love well. Bringing foster care into your home changes things, but for the better. I am a changed woman because one day three years ago I followed the call, the quiet whisper in my soul. I had no idea what was in store for me, I can tell you one thing, it was not what I expected. It is by far the hardest yet most beautiful thing I have ever done, in a way my version of labor and delivery.

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