They Need You

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.


Keep Saying Yes

Can I just say something? My family is crazy. I mean, we’re actually insane. Everyone thinks it, even if they say they don’t. People don’t just do what we do without a little bit of insanity. So when we decided to take in two more children, and then later bring their toddler brother into our home as well, people’s idea that we were crazy was pretty much cemented in.

So, why? Why do we keep saying yes? Why have we taken in 8 children, bumping our family count up to 12, when we could just say no?

We signed up to say yes. We signed up to sacrifice. We signed up for this, and we aren’t going to say no because it’s scary. There are so many aspects to foster care that I love. Getting to meet new people, the feeling that we’re doing something meaningful with our lives, the amazing children it has brought into our home. But today… today I was reminded of what I hate about foster care. As I listened to the baby scream for his mommy as she hurried to her car, as I hugged the sweet little girl as tears streamed down her face and told her over and over again that it would be okay, as I felt myself begin to break as I watched this family break… I hated it. I watched a woman cling to my mother for dear life and sob in her arms for her children. I held the hand of a grieving grandmother, and I cried. I want to make it better, and I can’t. Driving home I see two tear stained faces in my rear-view mirror, and I try to hold back my tears.

We are crazy. Crazy about these kids, crazy about impacting these parents, crazy about the calling Jesus has placed upon our lives. It’s hard. It’s really hard. But it’s also really worth it. Because we love them. Because Jesus loves us. No matter how hard it gets and how overwhelming it becomes, God’s grace is sufficient.

So yes, we are crazy. And yes, we will keeping saying yes. As long as we have room and children need homes, we will keeping saying yes. Not for us, but for them. For the kids, for the mama’s, for the grandmas, and the aunts, and the uncles. We will keep saying yes to loving these kids, and if that makes us crazy then so be it. But in my opinion, the thought of living a life to serve my needs and not the needs of others is what sounds crazy. To me, saying no sounds crazy. We have room, we have love, we have Jesus, why not? I know that at the end of my life I can look back and know I made a difference in at least a small group of people. Seems worth it to me.

So yes, we are fully aware that we are crazy. But we’ll keep saying yes.