Thursday, November 21, 2013

This November I am posting to Facebook what I am grateful for each and every day. Yesterday, my heart was stirred enough that I felt that a blog post would be a better way to explain what I am grateful for because this just isn’t going to fit in a sentence or two!
Yesterday was the Parent Visitation Day at my younger kid’s school. Mikayla is in 4th grade and I had a wonderful time seeing her classroom, talking to her teacher more and helping her with a Thanksgiving work packet. We got done a few minutes early and I asked what she normally does when she is done with her work early and she said she writes in her journal. It is a private notebook that the students can write whatever they want; something that is not graded but rather a place to pour out their thoughts. Mikayla said she wanted to share it with me. I opened it up and it took everything in me not to start sobbing like a baby. Filling the lines of the first few pages was the story of her life, one where the beginning was marked by the time that we began fostering. The words that filled the pages, some misspelled (which somehow made it even more sweet) were how she loved all the children that have come into our home. She wrote about having “Z” come to our house and he was so cute and she loved to hold him. She wrote of the first night our foster daughter came to our house and was scared, so Mikayla let her crawl up to her bed and so she could comfort her. She shares about the task of packing the beautiful girl’s stuff up almost a year later so she could go live with her brother. She said how much she loved her and how laid with her again, giving her all the love that she could take with her. The bookend of “J’s “ time with us: covered in Mikayla’s love and protection.

It reminded me that when people heard that we were going to be foster parents, not all were thrilled. Many worried about what that would mean for our other children. Would it be right to bring another child in our home that would need so much attention (and therefore take attention away from our own children)? Would it be right to expose our children to the broken world we live in? They would come to know about parents who abuse their children, about families ripped apart by domestic violence or drug use. They would learn about the justice system, court cases, incarcerated parents, etc. Shouldn’t we just shield them from that until they are older? Then what happens when a child leaves, aren’t you setting your children up for grief they cannot handle?

Folks, we don’t give our kids enough credit. I have watched God work through my children to minister to children and adults who are broken. I have seen how our own sin and brokenness has come to the forefront and how God has used our experiences through foster care and adoption to try and mold us and make us into the people we were created to be. I have seen Jesus in action. Are Craig and I perfect, heck no!! Are my kids perfect, a big NOPE to that too. But God works through our weaknesses as well as our strengths.

If you have thought about doing foster care and have thought that you couldn’t possibly do it because you have children at home, I encourage you to pray and think more about that. You definitely need to take into consideration your own unique children and family situation. I also don’t want people to hear that we sacrifice the safety of our own children to minister to others. There are several children who we had to say no to because I felt like the safety of my child(ren) could be compromised.

But give your children some credit. God has given ALL of us gifs that are to be used to glorify God and help others. So yesterday, today and every day, I am grateful that God is using us through foster care and adoption. I am not glad that these two things exist because they stem from the brokenness of humanity but they are a constant reminder of God’s grace and the redemption that is possible through Him. I will always treasure what I read yesterday. It was a lesson for me too and a reminder of how great God is.