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Strangers to a Stranger April 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — blessedarethosethatmourn @ 3:22 am

We got a new little guy today. He is 20 months old and a big ole tub of cute!

The first day is always the hardest. It is so scary to have a child dropped off at your home and know nothing about him but his name and birthday. We fed him dinner, but we don’t know what he likes or how he likes his bananas chopped. We pulled out toys, but we couldn’t tell if there were words in his babble. We don’t know when he goes to bed, how he is put to bed, whether he is used to light or dark, noise or silence. We don’t when he will wake up or how often he takes a nap. We know nothing. He is a stranger, and, yet we have become his parents for an unknown period of time. Though most people have 20 months of practice in taking care of a 20 month old, as of right now we have had 6 very short hours to figure out how to take care of him.

As scared as we are, though, he is even more scared. Yesterday he was taken from his mom, his home, his room, his bed, everything that was familiar to him. He was handed to a stranger by a stranger and left, and just as he was beginning to feel a teensy bit safe another stranger took him without notice from the comfortable stranger to a new, strange home with another set of strangers. No one explained it to him. He is a baby and couldn’t possibly understand, but he does know one thing. We are not his family. This is not his home. He is terrified.

Joshua was the one at home when he was dropped off. He was the one who spent the evening with him while I took Gabe and Miles to soccer, and Josh is now the safest person in a house full of strangers. He doesn’t want to leave Pop’s side. It’s as though he is clinging against the all to possible future when he will be taken away again. He screamed when Joshua left the room. He is silent when I try to tickle him or make him smile. I am not his momma.

We put our poor, sweet, tired boy to bed, and he screamed a scream of terror. He did not want to be left alone in a bed that was not his. At 20 months old, he has lost more than most of us could even imagine, and he was terrified that he was going to lose more. Too young to talk to us, too young to understand what was going on, but old enough to feel the great loss.

I’ve done this enough times to know how things will take place. Tomorrow will be better, and the tomorrows to come will get easier and easier. He will, especially because of his young age, quickly become acclimated to our home, our family, and our way of life. Soon strangers will become family, and eventually, he won’t remember life without us. And, then, one day when he is still too young to understand we, his new family, will be taken away, as well.

It is hard to be a foster parent, but it is even harder to be a foster child. Not knowing. Not understanding. Having no control.

So, as I rocked him, patted him, and sang to him of Jesus’ love, I prayed a silent prayer. I prayed over his future and his past. I prayed that he would learn that he is safe. I prayed that he would know that he is not alone. I prayed that he would quickly adjust and learn to trust us, but I prayed even more that God would place His hands upon this little boy and carry him through this time of great tragedy. Yes, Pop and JuJu are here, and we will take care of him and fall in love with him and allow our hearts to unreservedly be his, but, more importantly, God is here and will always be here.

Psalm 139:7-12

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.


My Boys April 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — blessedarethosethatmourn @ 3:00 pm

I have two biological sons, Gabriel (who turns 9 is 6 days!) and Miles (7). They are my heart and my treasures. Gabe was born with a ridiculously low voice. He is a thinker, an artist, and an introvert. He loves to play video games, collects whatever he can get his hands on, calls himself an “inside boy”, and he is the best snuggler in the world.  He is truly struggling over the decision of whether he should be a scientist or a wizard when he grows up. I can’t wait to see what he picks out. 🙂 Miles is a little ball of cute. He is charming, loves people, and hates to be alone. He loves doing all things manly. He gets so excited when Joshua has manly work that they can do together, whether it is yard work, fixing a car, or building something. He is intent on learning to play sports. He talks constantly, has a vivid imagination, and has a desperate need for affection.

There is nothing on this planet I like more than making my sons happy. I love to surprise them. They are both fascinated with the video game “Skylanders”, and have all but the most elusive characters to play the game. I have spent hours researching which new characters are coming out and when. I have driven all over town numerous times in the hope of finding one new Skylander. I love to hear them laugh. I am broken when I see them hurt.

I, like most parents, desire for my children to live long, happy, successful, and fulfilling lives. I want to step in when they are hurt and take the pain away from them. There truly is nothing more painful for me then watching my children suffer, but the truth of the matter is, Gabriel and Miles need to suffer.

I follow a blog of one my foster parenting heroes called The Middle Mom, and she has an amazing post entitled, “Won’t my Biological Kids be Effected by Foster Care?” It is a marvelous post, and I will attach a link to it, so that you can all read it. I was disturbed, though, by one of the comments that was recently made. Someone posted:

         “Please do not ask your children to empathize with the foster children. This may cause an enormous sense of guilt or make them feel responsible for these children when your own kids need your empathy. It really screws with a kids head.

I strongly disagree with that statement.

I think that empathy is a vitally important attribute in children. Empathy means hurting with another, not feeling responsible for their pain. I believe that having our hearts broken for what breaks God’s heart is a necessity for the Christian. When Jesus says, “Blessed are those that mourn”, I believe He meant BLESSED are those that mourn. I want my children to be blessed and that means they must mourn. Luke 9:23 says, ““whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their CROSS daily and follow me.” I want my children to be His disciples which means they must learn to take up their cross. Romans 8:17 says, “if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, IF indeed we SHARE in his SUFFERINGS in order that we may also share in his glory.” I want my children to be His heir and share His glory, which means they must share in His suffering.

American Christians have bought into the lie that we must make sure that our children grow up to be happy and comfortable, I believe that we have to fight diligently against this so that our children can KNOW God. True, we need to be diligent about protecting their heart. We need to give them the freedom to talk about their pains. We, as parents, need to empathize with their pain, but we, also, must allow them to KNOW God, His people, and His heart.

As much as I love Gabriel and Miles, as much as I love to see them happy and hate to see them hurt, I have begun to understand that their hurt is a necessity for their development. More than their happiness, I desire for my children to be holy men of God. I desire for them to have the immense blessings that I have had through the pain that I have experienced. Shielding them from the pain of foster care, protecting them from understanding the hurt of another, or guarding them against truth does not help them.

I think as Christian parents we seek our children’s comfort first and foremost when we should be seeking their holiness. We protect them from the things that give them true life in order that they may be momentarily happy. My children have had to sacrifice because of the little ones we bring into our home. They share a room, so that we can have an extra one. They share their parents, their time, their toys, and their hearts. My prayer, though, is that they gain true wisdom. That they become compassionate, generous, welcoming, thoughtful men of God. That they learn that the only way to gain real life is to give their life away.

May my children be blessed as they mourn, as they sacrifice, and as they share the amazing suffering of the Lord.