I know it’s quiet around this blog. I compose blog posts in my mind all day long. It does keep me focused on the positive, so it’s worth it, even if the posts never actually get written!
It’s been a long month. Fostering has gotten to me lately. Most of the time, we cruise along and let the little drops of rain roll off our backs. But, as with anything else, there are periods when you’re just tired of the storms. I’ve felt worn out and beat down as I’m meeting new social workers, attorneys, judges, dealing with case plans and being forced to think about the legal side of things almost every day. We often feel like we’re on the outside, with no one understanding what we’re going through or caring what our opinion is. It’s all about Midge’s bio-parents right now. The attorney’s office tells us that soon…very soon…the court will start thinking about what’s best for Midge. We have heard it before and continue to eagerly await that day.
In the meantime, there’s always another phone call from some office or another or some parent or another, and some visitation to arrange, or monitor, or reschedule, or confirm, or drive to, or pick up from. And heaven forbid that Midge get an unexplained rash. You can’t follow your own motherly instinct. You can’t rely on what you know about “your” child’s skin in the past (fourteen months of motherly knowledge!) You have to run to the doctor for every little thing, just so you can cover your back when there’s a complaint or a question about her health. It’s exhausting. You wish there were some way to jump off of this merry-go-round and say “I’m done!” without losing “your” baby or causing any trouble. But there’s not.
I start thinking about how easy life was before we started fostering. Our boys are really fun to be with these days. I don’t know how to describe me missing a life I don’t have right now, without making you think that we don’t want Midge around. Of course we want her around. We can’t even think about the alternative without breaking down. And yet life as foster parents is very, very rough.
I had to monitor 4 hours of Midge’s visitation with her bio-mom on Friday. We get along well. I used to meet her at Chik-Fil-A twice a week for two hours and it was fine. A year ago. Now it is too much. There is too much history, too many facts, too many emotions, too much stress for me there. I broke down on the bathroom toilet when I got home. Crying into my hands, begging God never to make me monitor one of those four hour Friday visits again. I took pictures of Midge with her bio-mom because I know that’s a way I can minister to her with something tangible. And I know that both Midge and her bio-mom will always treasure those photos, no matter which direction life takes them. But I’m not in the mood to edit them right now.
Right now, I sit on the couch with an uncommon rain thumping outside. I think about the fun night we had last night when our “other kids” came to visit. All six kids, running around the house and screaming with joy. Three two year olds (well, almost two) competing for our attention and each others’ toys. (Our friends who have our “other” three kids now have a new two year old and two month old as well.)
Reading Kay Warren’s new book, Choose Joy, and really, really trying to let it soak in. Re-reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, a book with a similar theme, especially encouraging us to give thanks as a way to move from sorrow to joy. Good words that push me to find treasure in the dark places of life.
And now, with 650 words, I’ve said nothing, really. Which mirrors life right now, treading water, waiting, tiring, but keeping on. Watching The Blind Side on t.v. with Greg last night, both of us misting over and tearing up multiple times during the movie, reminding us why we do this. Because while it seems natural now for us to fight for Midge’s well-being and put up with a whole heck of a lot to keep her here, it wasn’t natural 18 months ago. 18 months ago, she was a stranger. Would we make these kinds of sacrifices for a stranger? Yes, I guess we would. We are. And she is safe at this exact moment, sleeping upstairs in her crib with her “bingy” (blanket) and her “hee-ho” (seahorse) and her “mee-mo” (Nemo stuffed animal) and her “ging-ging” (Thomas the Train pillow pet). And so I tell myself to toughen up and soldier on. Get over yourself and just make it through today. You’re going to need some energy to give another horsie ride and change another diaper and read another stack of books when that girl wakes up. Boy, is she worth it. And there are thousands of other Midges out there who are worth it, too.