I have been staring at the computer screen this morning--typing and backspacing--attempting to chronicle and process the last few days.
At our last family court hearing in July we were told our foster daughters would have a decisive court date in October. My bio family and I discussed finishing strong and being intentional with the remaining weeks. Last Friday morning I asked each of the triplets to tell me one lesson/truth they hoped the girls would leave our home with and think about how they could personally emphasize that in the next two months. It was therapuetic to feel like we were working through a transition plan.
That very afternoon, as I pulled my car into the pick up line at the girls' school I received a phone call informing me that the court date had been bumped up 6 weeks to this Wednesday--and it would likely be a final hearing with the children leaving from the court house for permanency with a family member.
Suddenly, our last 6.5 weeks had been reduced to 5 days (two of which would have the girls away on a weekend family visit.) We were stunned. The neat and tidy transition plan imploded. While we dealt with a tide of conflicting emotions and concerns, we adjusted our sails. Saturday to Tuesday were spent processing, praying, preparing, making memories and dealing with anxious/excited/conflicted hearts.
Although there was a strong chance the girls would be leaving Wednesday, there was still a possibility they would not. This hearing would involve a new judge and a newly appointed attorney representing the girls' interests. With so many variables, we were advised to be ready for anything. Obviously, this is much easier said than done when dealing with such a deeply emotional set of circumstances.
Practically speaking, the girls' family visit over the weekend allowed me to pack several tubs of their belongings. I hid them behind a sofa in our seldom used formal living room--lest their presence add to the anxiety. Two empty containers stood at the ready for last minute packing of daily items and in season school clothes.
We were covered in prayer, love and support by friends and church members. There was a supernatural peace as we put one foot in front of the other walking in faith.
Monday I felt led to call the family member who is seeking to adopt the children to discuss our long term roles in their lives. I respect her position as their forever Mom and hoped she would see fit for us to be involved as extended family and support. I took a deep breath and asked her if she intended our goodbye to be forever or merely a change in role.
We spent 20 minutes talking. It was a positive conversation. I felt peace that despite how emotionally taxing this chapter happens to be, God's Hand is all over it.
On Tuesday morning the girls prepared for what might be their last day at their current school. How do you say goodbye as a child when you are not even sure if it is truly farewell?
During breakfast, our 5 year old GiGi ate the last of her favorite "ham" (which is actually turkey but that's another story.) She asked me to buy more at the grocery store that day. I had a strange moment of realizing she would likely not be around to eat it--and pondering whether to buy it in faith or not do so in reason.
Nevertheless, after dropping all the children at school and meeting a friend for coffee, I found myself at Publix buying GiGi's ham, Bug's favorite comfort food (chicken pot pie), and ice cream sandwiches as a coping mechanism for myself. After a bit of stress eating in the grocery store parking lot I went home to pack the girls' overnight bag, wrapping it in a black garbage bag in the trunk of my car so as not to visually trigger anxiety. It would be there 'just in case' but no one had to know.
Around noon I received a phone call that court had been postponed six weeks--to the original October date. Ironically, the call was not from an official source, but rather from the family member seeking custody. Yet another wink to the partnership in the interest of the children I felt being slowly formed. We were able to strategize on how and what to tell the children.
I removed the duffel from my car, put the nice clothes that had already been selected for court back in the closet, unpacked the duffel and tried to process feelings with a heart suffering from whiplash. I drove to school to tell Bug--so she would not spend her last hour telling people goodbye, only to show back up at 7:50 this morning.
Yesterday afternoon was full of conversations--in school lunchrooms, carlines and around the kitchen table--with foster daughters, bio kids, case workers, teachers, school counselors, others who have become like family to our girls...then we went to the pool, ate dinner outside and tried to restore some normalcy at bedtime.
Clearly, there is more to this chapter. Love to be given. Hearts to be shepherded. Lessons for all involved to learn.
There is no tidy bow to tie this all up in, because real life is often not neat and pretty. Real hearts, fears, hopes are involved. But it is surprisingly OK and it will be well in the end.
Last week I read this and it just keeps bouncing around my spirit:
Living in the will of God is more about knowing and trusting his specific promises than receiving specific direction (Hebrews 11:8). It’s more about resting in his sovereignty than wrestling with my ambiguity (Psalm 131:1–2)
I’ve learned and continue to learn that embracing God’s will for me largely consists in transferring my confidence from my own minuscule capacity to understand what’s going on and why to God’s omniscient and completely wise understanding (Proverbs 3:5–6) Jon Bloom "You Don't Have to Know God's Will"
I do not know what God is up to--but as I told nine year old Bug this morning--this cake isn't ready to come out of the oven. It needs a bit more time. As I was writing this post, I got up to pour a glass of tea and walked by a wall of virtues and verses I posted some time ago for the kids. Two words commanded my attention...Patience and Courage...
Our job is to not rush or impede God's timing, but to patiently walk through what He allows each day.
May we do so with courage-- eyes and hearts wide open--for whatever is to come.