Messy

This week has been pretty prickly for our family so I was going to just take a week off from blogging, but last night while I was trying to fall asleep I started writing a blog post in my head and this morning as I was waking up I did the same thing, so I decided I should stop in a say hey.  This post will probably come off pretty random, but I have lots of big, hairy feelings right now…I don’t want to come off as controversial or preachy at all, but my heart is in some heavy places currently.

A little update on Everett.  We’re hitting up our pediatrician’s office every other week for blood work and on our off week for blood work we’re seeing our cardiologist.  He’s started another new medication and increased the dosage on another one.  He’s also grieving pretty hard these days.  He cries a lot during the day and wants to be with me or Josh almost all the time at home.  He actually does pretty well when we’re out and about, but at home he really struggles.  It’s really sad watching him grieve especially coupled with a language barrier.  He is crazy smart and understands so much, but just still doesn’t have all the English words he needs which is absolutely understandable.  I mean, he’s been with us not even 2 1/2 months.  So he says almost all day long, “Mama help you” which means “Mama help me” but when I say “Yes shuai, how can I help” I get his sweet little blank stare because he just doesn’t have the words yet.

Our littlest is struggling really hard too.  While working through sadness and grief and loss and attachment and bonding with our kiddos is an absolute privilege it’s simultaneously hard as hell and sometimes I feel like I’m losing my ever loving mind.  I’m the luckiest mama in the world, but also want to hide in my closet most days currently.  Things are all awry with our littlest and honestly I have so many feelings from deep sadness and compassion to anger and disappointment to a feeling of failure within myself to massive love to massive grief and then back to all those feelings 1000 times over in a days time.  It’s a freakin’ roller coaster.

May is Foster Care Awareness month and I’ve thought a lot about what I might say about it.  I really don’t say much because I feel a tad inexperienced although we’ve been foster parents for closing in on three years.  We’ve only had one placement the entire time and I feel like I learn something new every single day.  I could sit and listen to two internet friends talk about their experience all day long because they are wise and honest and it makes me feel normal when I spend most of my days feeling so out of place.

What I do know is that I really wish all people had a deeper understanding of foster care…not that it’s only about supporting vulnerable children, but often it’s about supporting vulnerable families.  The kiddos always must be first priority, but it’s vital to know we have to come along side these families as well.

Mamas and daddy’s who have had their children removed deserve someone who will cheer them on, love on them and come along side them too.  They deserve to see and feel and know the love of Jesus just as much as that sweet child.  Obviously there are some parents who for whatever reason will not get their children back, but the system is also full of parents working their asses off to get their kids back.  The last thing those parents need is a foster family who has built a pre-existing wall and have already decided they are not worthy enough to parent their child again.  We’ve got to be in it with them.  We’ve got to break down walls and rebuild relationships.  We’ve got to realize there is so much more at stake and some times these parents have been dealt an unimaginably shitty hand in life that most of us could never even fathom.

The Department of Children’s Services here in Tennessee and I’m sure in other states, gets a pretty bad wrap sometimes, but I see the good in this system.  I know the faces of case workers and attorneys and guardian ad litmus and supervisors who care and love and work tireless hours with an overloaded amount of case work.  I hear about social workers who are up at all hours of the night trying to comfort littles until they can find a safe place for them to land.  I know they run out of blue ink pens far too easily.  I know the services made available by our state for these parents…bus passes and mental health suppliers and help with finding housing and assistance with any other struggles they are facing and mentor programs and parenting classes.  I know our state is fighting for the reunification of families first and foremost when it is healthy and right.  I know they care about these children and their families.

By stepping into the role of a foster family God has continued to shine a light on all the ugliness in my own heart.  He just keeps refining me again and again and again.  What about that plank in your eye, Laura.  I am always telling myself, “What if you made that mistake and your children were with someone else…how would you want to be treated?”  I realize now that we needed this family just as much as they needed us.  The love is mutual and deep.  It is also messy and hard and unpredictable and pulls me out of comfort zone over and over and over again.  It is so hard, but it is even more beautiful.

So if you’re thinking about becoming a foster family take that jump, but know you will be refined and that God probably will do a lot of work on and in your own heart and hopefully He will not let you walk away unchanged.  He is always using this journey to change us and mold us and show us how much we need Him and how much more we needed this little girl and her family than they needed us.

I wanted to share one other thing…the news this week has been heart shattering with the death of sweet Jordan Edwards…another young black boy.  I cannot see these stories and not immediately put Solomon and Amon’s faces in his place.  It feels suffocating at times and the empathy for these black boys and men and their families seems to run dry so quickly or non existent from the beginning.  Oh Jesus, be so near.

And I cannot look too long at what is happening with our health care this week.  As a mom with two heart boys with pre-existing conditions and one currently on heart failure medications, it feels quite daunting, overwhelming and just sad.  I did see THIS post by Kristen Howerton and wanted to share it here:

“Whenever I ask Christians about how they can support legislative that strips hurting people of care when we’ve been mandated by Christ to care for others, I’m told “it’s not the government’s job.” So, where are all of the meetings to organize and figure out how to get insurance and health care for people who just got cut out? Can I expect all Christian churches to be addressing a plan this Sunday for taking this over from the government?”

All I can do is keep going back to the Bible and lining things up right next to Jesus.  If they do not match up, I know I have work to do.  If they do match up, I know I am moving in the direction of truth.  Let’s love each so well and let’s extend grace and mercy and empathy and compassion like Jesus Himself did.

9 Comments

  1. Carrie says:

    So many feeling reading this post! The part on Jordan Edwards and healthcare – YES. My emotions run deep and I struggle right now to make sense of everything. How do people justify their actions? How are they making peace with things in their heart when mine feels so raw every day watching these decisions being made?

    Also, this hit me right in the feels: “So he says almost all day long, “Mama help you” which means “Mama help me” but when I say “Yes shuai, how can I help” I get his sweet little blank stare because he just doesn’t have the words yet.” He’ll get there, that’s for sure, but I can only imagine how your mama heart feels in these situations. BIG hugs!!

    Although I know you can only share so much about your particular foster situation, even that part is simply amazing to me. The daily work on that front you guys put in continues to inspire me.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this comment other than to say, I’m here with you and sending you so much love and respect. Hope you guys have a good weekend and can spend quality time with your beautiful family <3

  2. Frances Dunaway says:

    I read this and I am inspired, amazed at your heart, sad and happy for you. You are wonderful and Godly parents – I pray for little Everett’s heart and that all works out for the best for your foster child and the family. What courage you have. Years ago, my husband and I were in the foster care program in Texas. Heart breaking at times but helped us to learn to love deeper. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I have come to love you and your family. And I so look forward to your posts . So raw, so real. You challenge me to be better. Thank you!
    I am a grandmother of 12 Black boys (one of which was born with very serious heart issues…but God!) plus numerous nephews. I pray God’s protection over them daily. And re health care, if a person has never had to worry about how to pay for a prescription or Dr visit for their children or themselves , they. just. don’t.get.it.
    God help our country. Lord,have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

  4. Melinda says:

    So many prayers for you and your family…. from us who are also a foster/adopt/birth family and more importantly….. fellow members of the Family of God!!!!

  5. I love your honesty. I know you call it messy, but I just think of it as real. Like as if we were sitting talking and having a cup of coffee (or tea or soda if that’s more your jam) in my literally messy kitchen. Thank you for putting yourself out there in words on the page. You’re NOT alone. My heart breaks along with yours and others when we think about some of these heavy things. So, we give them to Jesus and keep praying and trying to love one another in this world we live in together. You’re in my prayers. xo

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