I’m going to be completely honest here. The past few weeks have been the hardest few weeks of my life. With three additions to the family it feels as though every day is survival based. I wake up on the defensive, trying to keep my sanity intact and my space clean. It’s non stop holding crying babies, picking up toys, and trying to keep the children from killing each other. It’s not fun. It really isn’t. And yeah, it’s worth it, and we know that we’re making a difference, and we wouldn’t trade this life for the world… but we need a break.
I wonder what my life would be like had my family decided against answering this call to foster care/adoption. I would be the youngest, the only girl, and the only one left at home. I would be alone. (I won’t lie, that kinda sounds tempting at times, but I digress)… but honestly, who would I be? So much of who I am comes from what we do. So many of the life lessons I have learned have come through the trials we’ve faced through fostering.
I think people pity me. Actually, I know they do, because often times they tell me to my face that they pity me. But why? You pity that I am more mature? Wiser? Aware of the hurt out there in the world and prepared to do something about it? You pity that I’m not afraid to deal with the messy, the dirty, and the brokenness?
At 17, I’ve held more children then I can count in my arms while they sobbed themselves to sleep. I’ve held the hands of little girls who are terrified of their future. I’ve rocked babies in the NICU and tried my best to make them feel loved, and less alone. I’ve sat down with kids, and had to explain to them why their visit was cancelled, or why the phone wasn’t answered, or why they have to stay longer then they want to. I hate it. I cry with them for the childhoods lost among the pain and suffering. I grit my teeth and clench my fists at the unfairness. I plead with God to make things better. I’ve sat on the edge of many beds, explaining many times to many children the sovereignty of God, hoping that maybe it would grant them some peace of mind.
Don’t pity us. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, sometimes we bite off more then we can chew and have to take a step back for the sake of our sanity. Yes, there are days when we cry, when we yell, when we wonder if maybe we aren’t cut out for this. But don’t pity us. Pity these kids. Pity the broken system, and the broken parents. Get angry about the children sitting in DHR offices waiting for someone to answer the phone and take a chance. Get angry and do something. Don’t tell us we’ve taken in too many, when the foster system is overwhelmed by the number of children in care. What are we suppose to do? We know the hurt, we know the need, and we know what to do.
I’m sick of the people who laugh at the endless family stickers on the back of our car. I’m sick of the people in the stores, and the gas stations who apologize when they hear how many siblings I have. Stop shaking your head when you hear us talk about the children in desperate need of a safe home, and try doing something. Anything. Donate, foster, adopt, educate, volunteer. Make a meal for a family, donate clothes to a foster closet, offer to babysit. Just do something. They need you. The kids, the foster families, the birth parents… they need Jesus. They need a light in this ever growing darkness. They need an answer to this endless search for joy that has left their lives in ruins. If you have the answer –Jesus– then why are you silent? Why are you still? This world is spiraling into chaos, and we hold the answer. We know the name that calms all fears, that stills the storms, that forgives all sins, and pieces back the brokenness. We know of the hope and mercy that holds us on our darkest days. That whispers peace and comfort through all trials. How can we keep that to ourselves? They need us. They need Jesus. They need you.