Phone calls right now are infrequent and short and sweet, but I love them! Getting to hear my husband’s handsome voice is like winning a prize! I get all excited and my heart starts to beat really fast! I talk about a million miles a minute and since we have a large family, there are updates to give him about everybody! It is precious time where we can reconnect and life feels normal again for a few minutes.
When they call me, “Mama,” my heart pretty much leaps!
When they call me, “Mama,” I run to see what they need.
When they call me, “Mama,” sometimes I want to cry.
When they call me, “Mama,” I cannot tell a lie… I want, I want so badly to be seen as “real.”
So many things I feel, I feel, when they call me, “Mama.”
Today… this morning… it was the moment that I had been dreading. Eleven and a half months have gone by since we became foster parents to Little Man and Baby Girl and all of that time, I felt had been leading up to this very moment. The permanency hearing for our precious foster babies.
I couldn’t fall asleep until 1:00 a.m. the night before and then awoke back up at 4:30 a.m. the next morning before my alarm even went off. I got on my knees, my face to the floor of my bedroom and I began to pray. Every fear that I had inside of me, I cried out to The Lord. I begged for His mercy and His grace and His peace that passes all understanding. I drank my coffee, woke the babies and dressed them. We drove the 2 hours to the courthouse. A fellow foster mom sat with the babies as I sat alone with our social worker in a courtroom that was empty for 30 agonizing minutes. Court was supposed to start, but it didn’t and all I could hear were lawyers talking loudly in the hallway. Every few moments, I would ask our social worker, “Where is the judge?” or “What time is it?” I was restless and nervous, “let’s get this over with,” I thought.
After what seemed like forever, a uniformed officer entered the courtroom announcing the judges presence. He walked into the courtroom in his long black robe followed by four lawyers and the supervisor of DHR and that is when I realized it… they didn’t show. The biological family was not here. Not one family member from our precious foster babies’ birth family was present. This was the permanency hearing to decide the future of their lives and not one family member was present. Not one of them showed up. The judge asked, “are the parents here today?” and I wanted to stand, I wanted to say, “I am here! Me… I am here!” But, I sat tight and didn’t say a word. Even though these babies are my world. Even though they are as important to me as my three biological children at home, I didn’t say a word. My social worker had warned me not to speak unless spoken to. I sat still and calm and prayed, “Jesus, be with me, be in this room.”
At the end of the hearing it was decided that our precious ones would return home with me today. They would stay with our family. We get to keep them! Maybe not forever, but at least for now and my heart was filled with JOY! There was joy and there was sadness. My thoughts went to the biological family. What is going on in their lives that they couldn’t be here today? They were given plenty of notice, their lawyers were present, but where were they? Why didn’t they come? I may never know. They did not show.
I’m pretty much freaking out about Friday. The permanency hearing to decide the future of our foster babies will start at 9 a.m. that morning and I am seriously not sure at this point if I will make it until then! I am so stressed and worried!
I want the best for these babies! I want them to grow up in a safe, stable, and loving home. I want them to always have enough food, enough hugs, and enough support to do anything they want to in life! I want them to go after their dreams! Will Little Man like football or soccer or maybe science? Will Baby Girl be a ballerina or a gymnast or maybe prefer the rougher sports? Will they grow to know The Lord Jesus as their personal savior? These are all things I think about.
Then I start thinking about myself and what I want for me. I realize, I am selfish. I want to see them grow up! I want to cheer from the stands while they compete or perform. I want to be in their lives and get to know who they grow up to be. I am selfish. I am scared of losing them. I am scared of never seeing them again. I am scared of the pain that I may have to endure.
I received a text message from a good friend (who is also a foster mama) today warning me to “be ready for the lawyers to try and trick me with nasty questions at the permanency hearing this Friday.” This is not the first time that I’ve been warned about this possibility. You see, the same lawyers that represent abused and neglected children in one case turn around and represent the abusers and neglecters in the next case. They, in essence know how to play both sides. This scares the poop out of me! (Pardon my language, but it DOES!)
I have been around since day number one when our foster children came into the state’s care. I have been the one caring for, losing sleep over, tending to the every need of these precious children who legally belong to someone else. I literally have NO RIGHTS when it comes to these little ones and protecting their future. Nobody cares what I think. Nobody wants to know my opinion, but the lawyers would just love to get me to say something degrading or unsupportive of the birth family in this case. They would love to try and show that our family has not supported reunification or that we have in some way hindered it. This makes me so MAD! I cannot wait to get asked these questions. I cannot wait to be able to say without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that our family has bent over backwards trying to help this family! I cannot wait to tell them how many HOURS upon HOURS I have sat with Little Man on my lap waiting for a family member to call him. I cannot wait to tell them about the picture books I’ve made, the photos I’ve framed, the artwork I’ve saved to give to birth family members. I cannot wait to tell them about spending time talking with family members and encouraging them to do what the social workers are asking them to do. I cannot wait.
But, yes I am still scared. I have never been to court before. I want to be strong. I want to do the right thing. I want a positive future for these babies. I want the best for them! My whole world has been wrapped up in their little lives for 11 1/2 months! They mean the world to me! Of course, I am afraid!
Then, today in my Facebook feed, I saw this Bible verse and it reminded me of who is going with me to court this Friday. It reminded me that I do not have to be afraid! I have the Lord of heaven and earth with me wherever I go and surely He will go before the babies and I and prepare a way for them to have a bright and loving future.
“Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Being so far away… it’s hard. My soldier is really struggling being thousands of miles away while I am getting ready to take “our babies” to court next week for the permanency hearing.
He can’t be here to hold them and rock them to sleep this last week before (possibly) all of our lives change. He has been there for everything this past year, just like me. He has changed the diapers, fed the bottles, cuddled the crying toddler after a fall, all of it! He is the most amazing dad! And, now he has to sit over there in a foreign country, away from all of us as I deal with getting things in order and take them to court alone. The call logs, the medical forms, the notes that I’ve taken, every “i” must be dotted, every “t” must be crossed. We must show that over the course of this past year that every available opportunity has been given to this other family… this first family. Every time they called, every chance they had for a visit, it all was documented.
Do I wish my soldier was here with me right now? That is an understatement! In one week, I will sit in a courtroom and the future of “our babies” will be decided by a judge. There are many possible outcomes. None of these outcomes will make everyone happy. My highest hope and my constant prayer is that God will provide us a just and caring judge, one that observes the law, but who still has a side of warmth and compassion. A judge with wisdom like King Solomon.
And, my other prayer is that God will grant me the grace and peace that I need to accept what He has for “our” babies whether I understand it or not.
In ten short days, I will drive them to court.
In ten short days, we will have an answer of some sort.
In ten short days, I will have no say.
In ten short days, I may have to give them away.
In ten short days, my days with them may be numbered.
In ten short days, all of the options will be covered.
In ten short days, my heart may break.
In ten short days, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to take.
In ten short days, I will be brave for them.
In ten short days, it will happen then.
In ten short days, a decision will be made.
In ten short days, the future for these babies will be be decided.
In ten short days, a courtroom possibly divided.
If only, if only we could all do what is best for them.
Jesus Christ, I pray to you right now for peace for all… Amen!
Eleven months ago, I was a mess. We had been “approved” to be foster parents for like A WHOLE MONTH AND A HALF and we had not yet gotten “the call.” I cried at the drop of a hat. I sat and questioned why, why, why we didn’t have foster children yet. Were we not “good enough?” I cried out to God begging for, “today to be the day,” yet those days were never the days… I was sad, I was worried, I was anxious. We were ready! We had been ready! We had done everything that the government had asked us to do, TWICE! You see, we had already completed an international adoption home study and then again completed a foster care home study, so in reality we had been through everything TWICE! How much longer must we wait?
I am here to tell you this, those of you out there who are still waiting… YOUR TIME WILL COME! Our’s did! We were chosen on this day eleven months ago to receive the two most precious little angels into our home. These two came with hurts, they came with trust issues, but I can say this without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that they were meant to come and live with us. God had such a perfect plan!
And, as I sat on my deck this morning taking pictures of my three youngest holding hands and going on a “treasure hunt” in our backyard, I realized something. I am SO GLAD we didn’t get the call sooner, I am so happy we had to wait. Because, the two we have in our lives right now are the ones God meant for us and we were meant for them.
Thank you, Lord Jesus for making me wait. YOU HAVE A PERFECT PLAN!
It makes me happy when I see…
Little Man and Oldest Boy sitting in the big chair in the living room playing video games together.
Baby Girl being pushed on the swing by Oldest Girl.
Little Man riding his big boy bike.
Oldest Girl playing soccer.
Middle Girl doing acrobatics or ballet.
My children getting along.
It makes me happy when I hear…
Middle Boy playing the drums.
Middle Girl singing Little Man to sleep.
Middle Girl reading to Baby Girl.
Baby Girl giggling.
My soldier’s voice on the other end of the line.
It makes me happy when all of my family is under one roof… Can’t wait for that again!
In just 3 short days, it will be the 11 month anniversary of the day the babies came to live with us. This blows my mind! 11 months?!? Really, has it been that long?!? I am sort of in shock. Partly, because there has been little to no “movement” in their case and partly because on some days I totally forget that we do foster care. I seriously, am just a mom to 5 children. That is it. They all feel like “mine.” I know in my head that they aren’t, but my head and my heart rarely get along.
So, to commemorate this joyous anniversary, I will give you the top 11 most absurd things I have said to my children over the last 11 months!
1. “We do not throw Bibles at each other!”
2. “Stop putting sand in your ear.”
3. “Get her foot out of your mouth!”
4. “Don’t touch your poop!”
5. “What is in your mouth?” (Put my finger in and scoop out SEVEN acorns!)
6. “Please, don’t lick the car!”
7. “No, you don’t need to take your sword to bed.”
8. “If you put your finger in her mouth again, she’s going to bite it, AGAIN!”
9. “If you let him hit you with a baseball bat at home, he’s going to think that it is okay and try hitting a friend with one at PRESCHOOL!”
10. “Stop eating the dog’s food!”
11. To the checkout guy at the grocery store when he asked me if I knew who won the football game… “Um, no! I have five kids the youngest two being 2 1/2 and 17 months and my husband is deployed, I have NO time to watch t.v!” (He gives me a blank stare! Did I say too much?).