Greetings from In Between Land--that space where we know that our lives are about to be changed drastically, but don't know exactly when or how. All paperwork has been completed. The physical inspection of our home has occured. Fingerprinting, drug testing, pet vaccination proving, medical exams and classes have been completed.
Yesterday we had our first (of three) home study meetings--several hours of healthy conversation about our backgrounds, motivations, marriage, parenting, fears. There were realizations even throughout our discussion of how God has been actively weaving our stories--even our hurts and disappointments to prepare for this place. The hand of Providence is in the business of sweet redemption.
Tomorrow we have the second of third meetings and the final one is scheduled for mid-month. Then we wait for a report to be written, reviewed by multiple people and approval that will formally open our home to receive a child (or two) in crisis.
Meanwhile the doer/nester/planner that I am wants to be preparing. Frankly, without details on age, gender, timing or number of children the only thing I can prepare is my heart. So, I have been spending a lot of time in the spare bedroom even though there is nothing there to do but straighten coverlets for the 150th time and pray for the heads that will one day be in those beds.
The reality is beginning to sink in that while I am 'preparing' my heart and home, a child or children is experiencing the trauma that will lead to their relocation. It is a hard truth to hold. So I pray. The temptation is to pray for the protection of my heart and God is redirecting it to pray for the protection of those little hearts that I do not yet know.
I have also had the opportunity to do some respite babysitting for a local little guy as the details of his new school enrollment get worked out. He's been through a lot and his behavior sometimes makes that rather apparent--especially when he is overwhelmed in public. During a visit to a medical clinic this week he was triggered and loudly mounted a very angry and emotional protest. Frankly, had it been one of my biological children I would have come undone. There was no ignoring the noise. He attracted a lot of attention. Drawing on lots of recent training from Dr. Karyn Purvis' The Connected Child (and miraculous patience from the Lord) I knelt down and dealt with the issue. It worked. Crisis averted.
I couldn't help but shake my head. I handled him better than I ever would have handled a similar situation with my own children. Why? Because I knew the employees knew he wasn't mine. I didn't fear their judgment. I didn't experience parental guilt or shame. I had no pride to tangle me up. I was parenting instead of performing. I was not capable of handling the situation without relying on the Spirit. My flesh had no choice but to get out of the way.
It made me gulp. Oh the realization that there is still so much 'self' tied up in my parenting.
Free from self-induced encumbrances of performance, pride and fear I was able to see this child for what he was--hurting and confused--and to ask God to show me what he needed most in that moment. Turns out, Me-free parenting is far more effective!
Why am I not looking at my biological children through this lens more often?
My children are my responsibility but belong to God--with stories He is writing, fears and struggles only He really knows. Why wouldn't I lean hard into Him for guidance and strength?
The goal is not for these children to make me look like a good Mama, but to reflect that He is a good God.
This process is long, but there is so much I am learning to lay down--starting with my control and pride...and it is good.