Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What's the buzz?

With Easter just passed, I was realizing that I never listened to Jesus Christ Superstar - one of my favorite past times during Lent, as the music has always led me to think about Christ and how he related with his family and friends in those last moments before his death. Plus, I'm a sucker for any music from a musical. Imagine that!? So - What's the buzz? Tell me what's happenin'....

This year I missed the Superstar boat though with little downtime at home; however, I did find myself listening to Godspell one day as I organized my bedroom and was reminded of one of my favorite songs and its' lyrics....

All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above
So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord
For all His love
I really want to thank you Lord!


All good gifts - my life is filled with so many. God is blessing us richly with a life that is full of truth, love, and spirit. Along with these blessings comes a multitude of new knowledge, some easy to grasp and hold onto, and some that makes me wiser in years than I'd like to be.

This Lent & Easter season, I have found myself pondering the sacrifices made on our worldly behalf and the joys that came from those sacrifices. Although my sacrifices are extremely minute compared to those our Father endured, I find myself pondering the sacrifices my family has chosen to make in this time of our lives and how this is changing our own outcome.

For those who follow my posts and know my family, you most likely know our story as a family, but here is a quick catch-up. Jon and I have been married almost 13 years and dated 4 years before that. Our oldest son was conceived after two years of worrying something was wrong, and he is our little miracle. Caleb is now 8 and a bold, bright, strong-headed child. After years of trying for another child and years of researching adoption options, we brought home our son Christopher "Tope" from the Philippines, at the age of 5 1/2. He is now 7 and brings intense joy to our lives. He also keeps us on our toes and on the edge of our patience level at all hours of the day, but he is worth it. Can't imagine our life without him. We now started a new journey for our family and have become a foster home with the intent of someday adopting again if a child placed with us needs a forever home. We did this for two reasons - 1. We weren't done growing our family. 2. We see a HUGE need in our community for children that need a safe and loving home, and we knew we could provide that safety and loving care. I thought I knew what it was like to sacrifice my wants and needs for my children, but not until we started being foster parents, have I truly started understanding the importance of my calling as a Mother.

Just over a year ago we started our journey as foster parents. It was a very abrupt start. We weren't completely done with the process (although we were in theory already licensed but in a different way) when we received a call about a sibling set of four children. We prayed. We discussed. We did both those things over and over and said "yes". Had I known what the next few months would look like, that "yes" would have been much harder to say. I have learned first-hand the ugly, ugly truth of what childhood-trauma looks like. Friends, when I say it is ugly, I'm not sure if that even covers what I'm trying to say. When trauma rears its' ugly head and places itself in a young child's body, a body that is still exploring and learning how to grow, and then we expect as a society for this child to go through life like it is all normal, wow. The end result is ugly. And scary. And confusing. And domineering. We learned through a ton of trial and error what the needs were for these children and how they needed love. I still love these children something fierce and I am so happy to know they are all in a great place in their lives now. We all miss them. We don't miss the trauma that came along and took over our household, but we miss the dear souls that were alive in this house. For a time we thought they may stay forever, but realized that was not to be the case, but that is ok because we realized God had put them here for a purpose so that we could help through some transitions that needed to happen so that healing could begin.

The children left and we then took time. Time to breathe. Time to re-coop. Time for our Caleb and Tope. Time for ourselves as a couple. Time for holidays with family. And re-thought what would be best for our family. Could we still do foster care? Are we equipped to bring more children into our house that have trauma? How do we keep our boys safe, especially Tope since he is going through his own big changes in life as an adoptee with his own traumas? There were no perfect answers to any of these questions, but we decided we weren't ready to stop providing a loving home for children in our community, but did realize we needed to set more parameters for our family so things can stay more stable. We called our caseworker and said we would only take children through the age of 4, possibly age 5 in an emergency.

We got a call on a baby boy and said yes. A BABY boy. The year prior I finally got rid of almost all our baby things. I thought we were done. I was tired of holding onto the prayer of asking God to give me the chance to care for another baby. It was hard seeing all of our baby things and realizing there was a very low chance we would ever use it again. So after 7 years of basically not touching it, it was all given away. So here comes baby boy and we are scrambling to get everything together again! lol! God answered my prayers. This baby boy, oh goodness, his smile... oh how I wish I could share it with the world. He is adored by all of us in the family and we can't get enough of his charismatic ways and sweet, sweet personality.

Baby boy actually spoiled us I think, because he was such a good baby, we thought - what the heck?! We can handle another child if we are called. We agreed to be on the emergency list on a Friday afternoon and got a call on Monday morning about a baby girl and 3-yr-old boy. By that afternoon, they were scared to tears, sitting in our living room, and trying to adjust to three other children, a dog, new beds, new toys, new food, new sounds. The first week they were here was tough. It was sad to see baby girl so sad and scared. We could hardly get her to smile and she cried almost constantly the first two days. And big brother wasn't doing much better, hardly speaking a word to us, making us wonder if we were meeting all his needs. But things have become better. They are both starting to show us their personalities and seem relaxed in our home and are becoming part of the family. Things aren't perfect of course - I mean how can they be when you have a 3-year old!?! (I swear age 3 is WAY worse than age 2!!!) But they are both starting to also take a piece of my heart that I'm very happy to share.

We know that just because they are young children, it does not mean that the ugly, disgusting, trauma junk won't rear its' ugly head - we already see plenty of trauma related type affects on these kiddos. However, we are much more equipped after more reading on the subject, taking a class on trauma, and knowing the younger the child, hopefully we can help make some healthier brain connections while they are living with us.

We are busy, but it is a Good busy. Unlike last year, I have learned that I still need to take time for myself among the busy. It isn't easy finding time, but I'm doing it with some running again and a goal of two half-marathons coming up. I've learned to give as much time to my two older boys as possible. I'm learning to set down my phone and leave it be until all are asleep so I can give my attention to everyone. I've learned to ask for help a little more - although this is a big work in progress. And I've learned that it is ok to do what we think is best for OUR family. We loved the older children we fostered last year, but it wasn't a good fit for us. I felt so guilty saying that and like I was betraying them by even thinking it. But now I understand that it needs to be a good fit for everyone or it isn't healthy. This year, although it is super crazy with now TWO 1 yr olds, a 3, 7, and 8 yr old, I'm happy. Thankful for what blessings God has put into our lives. Jon and I had discussed adoption years before having children, but I had no idea what God had in store for us.

This is one crazy marathon God has put us in! Some of the miles haven't been so bad, some have been all up-hill, some I feel like I'm getting a blister or  an upset stomach, and some of the miles have been smooth sailing. One thing is for sure though, this marathon isn't over. Our race has yet to be finished. Won't be surprised if God has an obstacle course or two awaiting us in the middle of this marathon, but I do know He is running alongside us in all of this crazy we have decided to call our lives.

My biological child. My adopted child. My foster children.
These kids are my passion. They are my calling. They are my life. They are my heart.
Any and all sacrifices I make for these kids, I think it is worth it.
And oh how I want to Thank You, Lord, for giving me this life... including the extra wrinkles I have now produced in the last year.  ;)


3 comments:

  1. You are doing amazing fantastic things! May God bless you all!

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  2. Loved reading this today Mara! Thanks for sharing your heart with us. I know God has a beautiful call for you and your family and I'm so Thankful for you and others who love the children of the world!

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  3. I love this. Thank you for being God's hands and feet in such a tangible way!!

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