If I could sum up these last several years I would equate it to those little figures, when placed in water they grow. The promise is you can have an insta-whatever you need, friend, boyfriend, Jesus. I was an instant-mom, overnight drowning, growing rapidly at times leaving me slightly disproportionate. Occasionally I would come up for air and realize I was changing.
Their history of trauma, abuse, neglect, malnourishment and silencing has left behind it the scorch marks and ashes of destruction. It is there that we have seen the beauty come, slowly as we restore, rebuild and reclaim their story.
June 2014 was a hot month and the 27th day of that month began like any other, looking back on it I realize what a pivotal day it was. Little did I know that by 4pm I would become a mom. Being a foster parent requires waiting and flexibility. In the early days you begin each day wondering if your life will radically change. Over these last several years, I have started my day as a family of 4 and ended with at least one more kiddo on several occasions. One year ago at this time I was a mom to 3, my family has grown by 4 these past 11 months.
That hot summer day changed the course my life was on, overnight I became a mom to three little strangers. They were 7,5, and 3, I walked up the steps of the house they called home just 30 days. With a knock on the door I was greeted with trash bags of their things. The family was not bad they were just done, they practically pushed these three little souls into my arms. My crew crying and clinging to these strangers that over the last month had become the only security they knew.
My Crew was good at leaving, after five homes in one year they perfected the art. My daughter who was 7 at the time comforted everyone as any good Mama Hen would. She soothed them reminding them it was going to be okay as tears filled up her eyes.
In hindsight that day so pivotal and life changing for us all was when our first bell of freedom rang. Freedom from fear. Freedom from being alone. Freedom from moving on. Freedom from not belonging. Freedom from the unknown. It was in those first hours together that we discovered we were beginning a journey together that none of us could possibly have guessed.
Two years later after a hard, long fight of loss, court hearings, visits, trauma and addiction we would find ourselves a forever family. May 2016 I was able to forever home my crew, that day the 12th of May we found freedom in security and permanency. That security granted them the freedom to step from the bondage of foster care into the marvelous light of adoption.
With adoption came new identities and more freedom as they stepped from the chains of foster care into the freedom of adoption. The physical act of adoption is the act of me covering them, that they may receive my heritage. The act of trading their lineage with mine, giving them a new bloodline. This blood does not course through their veins but has the power to rewrite their story.
My crew and I have settled in and together as a family we are blossoming. Rewiring our brains and finding freedom as we heal. Our road of healing is long and winding. Some days we get lost, some days we conquer new hills and some days it seems we just sit weary of our hurt and ache. Living a life of freedom is hard, it takes time and stability. It requires new coping skills, as we learn we have a voice and we must choose to trust people again. Freedom is first a gift but then it becomes a choice. They have been given the gift of stability and a new heritage but now they have to continue of their quest of healing.
This journey these past three years has taught me that there is a lot I don’t understand. Times I am consumed by the chaos of tangled strings and twisted messes. Times when I realized the uncomfortable reality that building a family through adoption and foster care can bring.
My journey has been much more than me becoming a mom. It is a hard journey of me learning to love and finding freedom in the midst of that. I have seen the world through a different lens since becoming a mom. I have struggled as I learn to let go and love well. Loving with an open heart and hand is risky and painful, I have grieved often the realities of this calling. Then I look upon their faces and see the joy, I see the freedom and the price tag of my own comfort is worth it.
Freedom in grace. Freedom in seeds well sown. Shared freedom for our birth parents, freedom in addiction. Freedom in adoption and love. Becoming a mom set such freedom in my soul. Freedom to be brave. Freedom to be strong. Freedom to be me. Freedom to dance ridiculously at weddings. Freedom to love well and love big.