I'm working on perspective. I cannot change the circumstances, but I can change my perspective on it. I can choose to remain angry, or I can choose to look at the positives despite the bad. Right now, I am trying to wrap my brain around the fact that my two toddlers will be transitioning home, probably in less than the next six months. It's not a for sure thing, but a likely thing.
The toddlers are a nice distraction since after twelve years of praying, I have become pregnant. Of course things are not going as smoothly as I hoped, with a few scares along the way, but I did get to see the baby move for the first time yesterday. I don't think that I will feel at peace with this pregnancy until a baby is safely in my arms. I am not out of the danger zone, as I am only 9 weeks. Nausea is beginning to subside already, which I hope is a good thing. We had decided to share the news early, because if anything were to have gone badly, we wanted the support.
Honestly, if I didn't have the toddlers, I think this pregnancy would be harder than with them. Yes, I sometimes worry that my constant chasing them is hurting the baby when I have one of my scares and am supposed to be resting, but the baby has shown to be resilient. If they weren't here, I wonder how obsessed I would be with the health of the baby, especially with some of the stuff that has gone on. Instead I often am too busy to stop and worry.
I do believe God has a plan. I'm not sure what that is. And I will feel that way, even if God decides to take this baby home, and my toddlers go home. I don't often understand the why, but I definitely see God's hand at work.
When I was twelve or maybe thirteen, I learned a very hard lesson that changed me. I lost all of my friends during one sleepover. The lessons learned that night would slowly occur to me as years passed, and in retrospect I think I still learn from that experience; but at thirteen, what I learned most is that I never wanted to be broken hearted.
I was devastated. In one short night, every one I called friend left me. I was not blameless in this event and in retrospect it was not really that night that ended things, but rather a series of choices and ignorance on my part. Nonetheless, I knew I didn't ever want to have a broken heart ever again. If it was anything like I felt over the course of the next couple years, I didn't know if I could bare it again.
So I prayed to God that I would marry the first guy I dated. To my amazement, some how, God said, "Okay." I was set up on a blind date at seventeen, and seventeen years later we are still married with a good healthy marriage. I never kissed another man, I never held hands with another man, the first man I loved, was the man I married.
In my thirteen year old mind, this one answer to a prayer, would end all possibility of heartaches. Little did I know that God was going to allow my heart to break over and over and over again.
For six years, I experienced many heart breaks as my husband and I prepared for a family. The first year was blissful ignorance. I did not expect anything to happen, because I figured the excessive amounts of birth control due to irregular periods were going to take awhile to wear off. So as the first year ended, I began to think, okay, well I guess now it's now time to try.
As the years past, we looked into fertility treatments, adoption, but settled on foster care, because it was something I always wanted to do, but I always thought it would be after we had children naturally.
Looking back now, I realize how naive I was. I was heartbroken over several years of loss after loss. I was not ready for what foster care had in store. Yet, somehow God brought me through it all.
My first foster care case, we went in, knowing it would end in adoption. It's the case that made me a mommy. I will forever be changed for the better because of her.
Then my second and third cases revealed to me that I needed to listen to my husband's gut. I learned how important it is for us to work as a team. Not just one of us making the decisions, but both of us listening to the other.
Our fourth case was the one that revealed to me that foster care is not about me, nor is it about me building a family. I learned that foster parents have no rights, nor are their thoughts and feelings a factor in the whole process. I was shocked at our treatment at times and realized that foster care is not meant to build families, but preserve them.
My fifth case has and always will be one of my favorite cases. I learned that you cannot judge someone based on what you hear about them. I also learned that you cannot judge anyone based on circumstances. I also learned that although foster parents have no rights, and their thoughts and feelings play no bearing in the overall outcome, they can impact the people involved in foster care case immensely. This was the case that told me that this was my calling in life. I also began to see a huge fracture in what I thought was a just judicial system.
My sixth and seventh case revealed that this fracture was larger than I ever imagined, but I also learned that I could love people deeply regardless of life choices and whether I agreed with them or not.
So now, I am in the midst of our eighth and ninth case.
It's going to be our last.
What I thought was a lifelong passion, has proven to be a temporary calling that has allowed me to grow as a person, but a painful calling that has left me continually heartbroken. Although I always thought my greatest heartbreak was going to be as an eighth grader, life has proven to me that there is greater pain in life.
I live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance. My mind tells me two contradictory feelings, neither can I have while the other remains. I want the parents to heal and grow and become healthy, but I also don't want to lose my newest loves in my life. I tell myself that my pain will be temporary, but their pain will be permanent, so I need to be one hundred percent on their side, but I am also not prepared for another heartache.
I want to trust God, and if I am honest I do. The problem is, I know that God doesn't always choose what I think is best. He looks at our eternal glory, not at our present earthly state. I need to trust that he loves them more than I love them. He will choose what is best not from my earthly standards, but his heavenly standards.
So here I am, in the midst of the most painful situation I have ever placed myself in. I show support and love towards the parents, adore and love deeper than I ever thought possible towards the children, and then cry.
I cry for the mom who is hurting and alone, I cry for the grandparents who are fearful and in pain, I cry for the children who will lose out regardless of the outcome, but mostly I cry for me. I cry for me, because I am tired of the heartbreak. I cry for me, because I lost my trust in a broken system that will never achieve true justice. I cry for me, because I know that my hopes and desires are no more important than anyone else's. I cry for me, because I know that the best outcome will end in utter despair for me. I cry for me, because life is hard, and no matter how much people think they understand, they will never understand this isn't just another heartbreak through foster care, but a series of heartaches that began twelve years ago when I decided to leave my fertility in God's hand.
More than the heartache though, I have gained a beautiful daughter who amazes me daily with her maturity and finesse. I have gained friendships I never knew would be so rewarding. I have gained an amazing relationship with my husband that few women are blessed with. I have gained a closeness with my mom through shared grief. I have gained a faith in God that is not shaken by loss, grief, or disappointment.
Foster care has changed me. I would never have chosen my path, had I known where it would lead me, but I could never have become the person I am today without choosing this path for our family.
The fact that I have time to type this is your first clue that the baby didn't come to us. The mom was able to prove she can take care of her own child, which is the ideal situation. I am okay with it. I think people are expecting a huge heartbreak, but oddly there isn't.
There is exhaustion. The wait and anticipation this weekend was mentally exhausting. There are feelings of doubt. Doubt that there is a child out there who needs us, and we can take care of. Even though that is what everyone likes to say to us. There is discouragement. I am discouraged and wondering if this is the path we are supposed to take.
The thing I don't think people get is that my feelings are not, "Oh I want a baby, I can't have a baby, please Lord give me a baby." This is plain and simple, I would like to expand my family. I have a beautiful daughter, a wonderful husband, it would be nice to have a larger family. It's not this huge deep-seated void in my life. It's a desire. There is a difference.
A void causes someone to grieve daily, a desire causes someone to move forward and try to attain their goal.
So, where are we going to go from here? We're going forward. We are not ready to close this door, just yet. Maybe sometime in the future, we will abandon the foster care system, but I don't feel that door is ready to be closed. When it is ready to be closed, we'll be missing one key element - hope.
So yes, I do feel exhausted, doubtful, and discouraged, but at the end of the day, there is still hope. And while there is still hope, we will trudge forward.
This makes me want to watch the movie Hope Floats again. I love that movie, wish I had it.
Today, I do not feel like a mother of one and counting, I feel like a mother of one. This is a good thing because I am blessed. I know this, but it fills me with a sense of sadness and grief. I would like to say this is due to my utter contentment and my acceptance of my fate, but that's not true today.
Some days I could say the first sentence and mean something completely different, such as I'm content with life. I love every aspect of it! That's the funny part about life is our moods change from day to day.
I know tomorrow I will not feel as I do today. So on days where living a godly wholesome life is just plain hard, and having pure thoughts, contentment, and peace seems impossible, I remind myself that this too shall pass.
So yeah, today is a frustrating day.
Some of it has to do with the foster baby we didn't get and some of it has to do with my not so good experience with the in vitro facility and some of it has to do with hormones and some due to lack of faith in God and then some of it is because I am human and was not born with a perfect flawless nature. I am made flawed and am prone to fits of anger, sadness, greed, selfishness, pride, and all the negative emotions we all wish we didn't have. But we do.
You can give me advice, but it's not anything I haven't told myself. You can say cheerful words of praise, but they will probably fall on deaf ears. Where it lies most is in the heart, my heart. When my heart sings praises, I will be thinking clearly, but just as God has done, I need to give myself grace on days like today.
No, I don't like myself today, but tomorrow is a new day. Heck, I am entering a new hour. This hour can be different than the last. I have to choose, dwell on the past or hold my head high and look to the future. The past hour I chose the first path, this hour I will choose the latter. It's a choice, one I shouldn't make lightly.
Today, we got a call for a baby girl through the foster care system. We were told it would turn into an adoptive placement. All day, we spent preparing for her arrival. They even told me where the baby was staying, where to pick her up, all we were waiting for was the okay from the judge.
Except... there was no okay from the judge. The baby still will not be going back to mom and she will be placed up for adoption, but the judge said that the case was not technically part of his jurisdiction and sent it to a different county.
This is yet another disappointment to many.
My cool, calm, and collected husband said, "Will we ever get a break?"
I wondered is it time to give up? That was just the exhaustion talking. The part of me that is tired of getting excited, then having my hopes dashed drastically.
But that's life.
Several people I talked to, told me, "Your turn will come." I dread and hate these words. The truth is, when we were trying to get pregnant, we told no one we were trying for the first year, then I started sharing with people because we went from not not trying to actively trying. These were the words they used then.
So yet again, I hear them, but in a different context. It was never my turn back then, so whose to say my turn will come?
Truth is, I'm happy with just one child. I would love and truly hope to have another, but what if my turn is not supposed to come? What if for some reason, I am not meant to have any more children? What if our family is complete?
There are only so many times you can go through the ups and downs before you decide you want to get off the roller coaster. But just like a roller coaster, you have to get off when you're supposed to. So if I try to jump off too soon, I will be thrown violently to the ground in a bloody heap and most likely die.
Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic.
But something that occurred to me is that on a roller coaster, you never get off right when it goes swirling down or swirling up for that time. Instead, the roller coaster slows to a halt. Then proceeds forward. Then halts again. Pauses, then releases. I think that's how life is too. I'll know when to stop, when there are no more ups and downs. When everything halts. Because if I stop because everything came crashing down, then I might be missing out on a really awesome uphill.
I realized, I will know when it's time to stop, because nothing will be happening. I can't quit, just because I had a bad day. And let's be honest today sucked stunk.
Adoption is hard. Very hard actually. There are so many things you must decide, domestic/international, younger/older, sibling group/single child, and they don't want you putting your hands in more than one pot. Once you have decided on a venue, you must keep your eyes there. We chose foster care, so it seems to means that all the other doors are now shut.
We could close our license and do an adoption home study, but then we would not be placed with children through the foster care, and if I'm honest, that is where MY heart truly lies. I want to build my family and I'm only getting older by the minute, but building a family through the foster care system comes with a lot of goodbyes and happens slowly with many heartbreaks along the way.
Don't get me wrong, a lot of blessings as well. We are saying goodbye to our sweet foster daughter after caring for her the better part of six months and I have to admit my heart sings. Not because I'm relieved to say goodbye, but because she gets to go home to her very good mommy and I truly feel that's how it should be. In this case anyway. It looks as though we may be able to be a continuing presence in her life, but I'm not going to put my hope there, as I don't want it to be crushed.
I have to admit, my mind wanders back to in vitro. We can pursue that route all while keeping our license open. Neither is a for sure thing, but no option truly is. We are parents to a wonderful girl, but I'd love for her to have siblings, I would love to have tons and tons of grand-babies when I get old, I'd love to have a household of children. I'm greedy I guess.
So here I am, a week from saying goodbye to our latest foster baby, and I realize I am at a crossroads. Perfect time to close the license and pursue another option, we are financially okay to do that, but I/we don't feel like that is the track we should take. We could do in vitro, but do I really want to bring another child into this world when there are thousands who would love to live in a loving home? Well, in case anyone cares, we made an appointment with a new doctor for in vitro since our latest doctor had to close his practice just one month shy of when we were going to begin doing in vitro the last time. Both of us are unsure if we will proceed. I am praying that God gives us a for sure answer when we meet with the new doctor.
Where will the Lord lead us?
This Christian mom is far from perfect, but continually strives to grow and develop. She is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction and focuses a lot on personal growth. She loves to share what she has learned through her studies and her own failures, as well as walks alongside other mothers as they learn together the ins and outs of parenting.