Lifeline Children's Services annual banquet...
|Rock Star Foster Mama Friend Erin!|
Or as some refer to it, Lifeline's Christmas...
|Rock Star Foster Mama Friend Erin!|
|Cloudy, but too good to pass up!|
It was five years ago that Executive Director Herbie Newell called Jamie and said he had some extra spots and would love for us to come. I am so grateful for that man and his family, whom we call friends, as he faithfully follows the Spirit's leading in his response to defend the fatherless.
When we came that night, we had no specific intentions other than to learn and support, but when we left I remember Jamie taking my hand in the parking lot and saying, We're never gonna be the same, are we?
No. I don't think we can be, I responded.
Within weeks we began making calls and to do lists. With three boys four and under and a house for sale, we didn't know what obedience was suppose to look like, but we did know we were to take steps forward in faith.
And in that moment it felt so deeply like Uganda.
But for almost two years we inched along as one adoption process became detoured and then another. Our restlessness only grew.
And with each banquet we looked at each other knowingly saying, Just wait until next year.
It was two years ago that as we listened to David Platt share at the same banquet, I constantly checked my phone, waiting on a court's response to see if Baby J was returning home the next day.
That night as adoption was celebrated and a new foster program promoted, my face smiled, as my heart crashed because in that moment I heard the Father's whisper, It may never look like your dream, but it will look exactly as I design.
I came home and wrote in my journal that I was coming to understand our journey of orphan care was not going to look like I had planned, like I had wanted.
I was coming to recognize that our tale of obedience may never make sense.
Hear my heart...We believe in adoption. We still long to adopt one day. I don't think that will ever change.
We celebrate with friends who obey God's calling on their lives to walk the road of adoption, and it is not an easy road...it is beauty born from deep brokenness, and those shadows of grief that are woven throughout are real.
But there is something circular about adoption. To the watching world, it makes sense.
Hear me... I know a wide range of individuals in the orphan care world read this blog: foster mamas, adoptive mamas and daddies, ministry leaders, adoptees and biological families...
But I am saying, to the watching world...there's a logical flow to the cycle of a child in need, and family answering a call on their lives to restore that child's brokenness by God's mercy and grace.
And there's a stunning Biblical understanding of that act of obedience.
Most of the time, really all of the time aside from the Yes on the phone call with my social worker, this whack-a-mole game of foster care, doesn't make logical sense to me.
It doesn't to the watching world either.
It is utterly unnatural in our human nature to fully love a child as your own, a child who screams at you that she hates you because you're not her mama...to deeply give your soul to a child, with the full knowledge you will be crushed...and then to turn around later that day to say yes to a new child and begin the insanity again.
It's not just that it doesn't make sense...it's crazy, and it hurts...
So bad that some days I laugh hysterically and make really demented jokes in order to keep my sanity.
Other days, I allow myself to enter the dark hole of grief and wail over the losses and deaths my home has come to know, has come to represent to so many children and parents.
Still on other days, I plough through the unending loads of laundry, my badge and symbol of physically claiming these children who have a state emblem stamped on their permission slip in place of a parent.
It's fitting that I cope in so many different ways because not one day is the same.
Daily, so many of you email me the tales of your hearts. You kindly thank me for words I often don't even remember writing.
Sometimes I reply after weeks or months, and sometimes never...because aside from my intense disorganization, when I read your stories, I curl up in a chair and weep because they are my stories too.
Your words remind me there are others who live this life of a frayed tapestry, unwoven and damaged, marked by threads of redemption making their way through the ancient ruins and broken walls.
Last night was beautiful.
The stories of God's mercy and hope through a ministry and individuals answering the call were the very presence of God.
But an unsuspected anger arose in me as Mandi Mapes sang her song, "This Love" ~
I’ve never felt this way before funny how you found you’re way to my door and suddenly my prayers are coming true and these arms are not letting go of you this love this love is the deep kind you’re my baby, you’re my sunshine I’ll hold your hand, be your biggest fan and I’ll love you all of the time our eyes are not quite the same shade and your hair blows in the wind a different way but I am your mother and I love you just the same so I’ll take your hand honey and you can take my name my heart has been redeemed, adopted and now I know my Father this grace that I’ve received I want to show you I want to show you this love this love is the deep kind it hangs on through the storm and the sunshine I’ll hold your hand, be your biggest fan and I’ll love you all of the time.