Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lessons from Our First Placement (So Far)

We are on night 6 of our first foster placement, which does not exactly make me an expert. What it does make me, however, is raw, humble and honest.

I have been hesitant to post because I have a strong conviction about fairly representing our experience so far--and frankly, trying to accurately portray the roller coaster of emotions--while observing appropriate privacy considerations--is a challenge.

There have been some very difficult moments. Children cannot help what they are born into and yet their hearts, minds, emotions and very lives are molded and shaped by it. Witnessing up-close the impact of an adult's decisions and struggles on a young child's life is frustrating.

This is not like parenting my own children. I am wonderfully free of some of the strongholds of fear, pride and guilt that trip me up with my trio...but I am picking up pieces, filling in gaps, trying to earn the right to be heard through love and consistency, all while knowing this child may only be in our lives 10 days. God has been faithful to remind me that HE is the Savior of this child...not me. HE has a plan. HE can redeem this story. I am to be faithful to my part, but not be so bold as to think it depends on me alone.

There has been personal cost. I have had to disappoint friends and family members, cancel plans and make myself available for whatever this little person may need. The first 24 hours were especially gut-wrenching and bathed in exhausted, frightened tears as I mourned that loss of some of the comfort of my former life.

As I have chosen to be honest about my fears and inadequacies to a few close friends, I have been blessed by their support, prayers, presence and comic relief. I generally prefer not to be 'needy,' but my community has loved us well.

This is not a Disney movie. The child in our home isn't gushing with gratefulness to be here. He has been through a lot and yet is young enough to not grasp the uncertainty of his future. He is far more concerned with his survival than my feelings. I can't say I blame him.

But because life is generally equal parts hard and beautiful, there have been moments I wouldn't change for the world.
Hearing our little friend's guttural giggle.
Introducing him to silly string.
The fact that he refers to me as "JenniferScott" while simply calling my husband Dad.
R's admission last night that watching this makes him realize "it is really hard to be a parent sometimes."
Hearing my children pray for this child--watching them choose to love him with tenderness and compassion.

The questions and insights from K,P & R have shown me how the Lord is really working in their hearts. The love and patience they have each displayed has made me weep. Even as children, they have found their role in serving. K has been the perfectly peppy mother hen--with an easy, hospitable demeanor.

R has taken on the role of big brother, teaching baseball, football, ipad apps and rock climbing with kindness and enthusiasm. P has appointed himself academic coach--bound and determined to teach our young guest to read--crying frustrated tears tonight that after a 15 minute lesson his charge was not making enough progress.

As challenges frequently do, this week has brought strengths and gifts to the surface in each of us that may not have otherwise been used or recognized. I see my husband for the incredible leader, supporter and defender of our home that he is. I see my children for the young lady and gentlemen God is developing them into--and I see in myself a strength that only comes from struggle, admitting my inadequacy and leaning hard into Him.

This is hard and we are tired, but it is also sweet and God is good. We don't often hear all of those statements linked together, but it is the reality of life--and especially when it comes to broken human hearts--hard isn't always bad, just as comfortable isn't always good.

We know this is where we are supposed to be. God called us here and that is enough to propel us forward into the unknown.


Jennifer said...

If anyone can do this, you can! It will be hard but so rewarding. I think fostering will teach your kids so much about life. Thinking about you and your precious family.

Misty Rigas said...

You and your family have been in my prayers since Grand special day!! What special gifts and talents you all have to share with this child and those that will come!

Debra said...

I've been awaiting this post.... thank you for your honesty and faithfulness as you embark on this new journey. Here's a fun quote for you! "If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?" -t.s. eliot

I'd say you ALL all learning a lot about..... well, how tall you and our God is!

Christine said...

Cheering you on with prayer and amazement at how God does work in our lives. This little guy will never forget what a God blessed family looks like and by God's grace have one of his very own in the future.

Meggie said...

Praying for y'all! Thanks for sharing some of your journey with us!

Laura said...

I've been watching for this post too, as my husband and I have been going thru the licensing process as well. Our children are 15 and 20, and we just were told this morning that tomorrow afternoon they will be brining us a 9 month old baby girl. Here's to diving head first out of our comfort zones to help make a difference in children's lives!!

Denise Ross said...

Im so glad you feel open to share. This is an amazing journey you're on and I'm sure somewhat overwhelming too. Praying for you and I'm so pleased that you each have talents that together will bless as many children who enter your home and God blesses you with to make a difference In their young lives. I'll be putting all of you, foster children too, on my prayer list.