I'm usually not one to get all gaga about holidays. I used to - but Joe's not one to go over the top with these things. So I've gotten used to the more low key side of holidays. But this year - God had a BIG surprise in store for my Mother's Day celebration.
My Mother's Day was doubly blessed. We had the joy of fostering two children this weekend. Now joy and fostering are not two words that I ever thought to put together. Neither have I ever thought that word would be put to practice in this house. I always thought it would be too hard on the kids (and us) to bring a child into our family and then to let that child go away again.
But God is full of surprises! He never fails to knock my socks off - and life is never quite what I expect. Ironically, it's always better than I imagine. Way better.
Let me back up. 15 months ago, we decided to pursue newborn adoption. Here in the United States this time. Adopting here is way different than adopting internationally. Adopting internationally is a matter of WHEN. Adopting here is a matter of IF. There are no guarantees we'd ever get a baby. Typically, the birthmother chooses adoptive families and if we never got chosen - well, we'd never get chosen.
So there was no point in telling people we were adopting again since it might never happen.
4 months ago, our adoption agency called. We had been chosen! But wait. It wasn't a pregnancy situation. They have never had this situation before - there was a mother who was thinking of placing her 4 year old and her less than 1 year old for adoption. She wasn't sure she could do it, but she wanted to talk with us. Were we open to this?
We said we were - we are always firm believers that God will shut doors - so we moved forward in faith. I talked with her on the phone and we made arrangements for us all to meet.
It was very awkward. When we first met Luke and Emma, they were ready to be adopted. When we met these kids, they were with their mom. There really are no words to describe it all.
After that initial meeting, we met a few more times. Then they disappeared. The mom wasn't showing up for her appointments and wasn't returning the adoption agency's calls. We all assumed she changed her mind. We weren't surprised, which is why we didn't tell many people about our "plans" - we just didn't think it would happen. And then when it didn't happen, we were glad we hadn't told many people. Kind of like an adoption miscarriage, I guess.
We thought the door had closed.
But then she came back. Weeks later, she came back. She surprised everyone. We never thought we'd hear from her again. But she walked right back into the adoption agency saying she wanted to go through with the adoption. So the legal ball started rolling again.
But then she disappeared again.
Last week, she showed up again. She again told the adoption agency she wanted to move forward with the adoption again. So the adoption agency suggested a foster care arrangement, where we could both see if this might work.
And this time she didn't walk away. 3 days after she came back to the adoption agency, we went to the agency - and our lives changed forever. She kissed them goodbye and we buckled them into carseats in our van, took them home, and fostered them this past weekend.
Our lives will never be the same.
These children are troubled children. Their mom is doing the best she can, but she is single and is stuck in a cycle of poverty and missed opportunity. She admits that herself. She loves them but wants a better life for them, which is why she struggles so much with this decision.
But all those troubles aside, we took them in and loved them this weekend. We shared our family with them, we tucked them in at night, and I even kissed a boo-boo. We got a few hugs and a few smiles. We had some conflict and we had some joy. We had some confusion and we had some peace.
It was amazing.
Now they are back with their mom and I can't imagine what she is thinking. This has got to be very hard for her.
I don't know what we're thinking either. Yes, we have taken ourselves to the place where this could turn into a potential adoption for us. The kids all got along amazingly. Luke and Emma miss them like crazy already. Don't get me wrong - there were some issues that will need to be worked out as we all get adjusted. But the instant bond they all shared was really something. Having 4 wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. We honestly had a lot of fun!
But then the other side of me wonders - could we do this? Could we bring these children into our family? How difficult would the adjustment period be? How will two more kids impact Luke and Emma? They are our first priority since they are already here - we've got to protect them first and foremost.
Not to mention what their mom is thinking. Could she really walk away and place their futures in our hands??
This is all very complicated emotionally.
But I am so thrilled to have had this opportunity - even if it was only for a moment.
And God will definitely let us know if it is meant to be a lifetime.
In the meantime, I am having sweet memories of the pittar patter of 8 little feet around here. These cute stinky yummy little feet.
And I'm wondering if Emma's room will ever be the same again. ha.