On a rainy Thursday afternoon our littles were napping and we had just finished up a home visit. My phone rings. “We have a 1 year old girl needing to be placed. Do you want her?”
That’s about it.
The biggest question I get asked is “How long will you have her?”
I admit, it’s one of my biggest question too.
The thing is, it doesn’t work like that.
When you make a decision to say yes you say yes to the completely unknown. It could be 24 hours or 2 years. It could be a lot of shared parenting or it could end in the parental rights being terminated. That’s the hard truth about foster care.
There isn’t a timeline.
And to be honest, it isn’t a concern we hold these days. Instead we are focused on helping her feel secure and safe. To be a part of healing. To help her learn a different way, get on a schedule, watch her grow.
It’s hard to imagine that the rainy Thursday was two months ago. So much has happened since then. First steps, real tears (finally)…although if she did less I’d be totally fine with that now that I know she knows how ;), table foods, beautiful sister moments, road trips, new speech sounds, lots of weight gain, and glorious community support.
But some days are harder than others.
It has to be, right? There’s no way you can take in brokenness and not have it get messy. The shocking thing is it hasn’t been in the ways I thought it would be.
I thought my girls’ lives would be deeply disrupted.
I thought I wouldn’t know how to guard my heart.
I thought I wouldn’t relate or connect to her story.
I thought I wouldn’t be able to stop wondering about the next step.
Instead it’s been the day to day things of it all that weigh on me. The appointments, the phone calls, the scheduled visits, the mommy guilt, and navigating a world of courts and visitations while still being a parent who works outside of the home.
I learned some hard facts of her case this week that instantly would make you burst into tears. But I haven’t cried yet. I haven’t cried yet.
Why haven’t I cried?
Is it my training as a teacher, my preparation of the process, the busyness of each day that makes me want to curl up in bed at 8pm?
It’s because I don’t have room right now.
I’m focused on holding it together because what she needs now is the laughter.
I’m impacted but I walk forward. I choose to walk forward.
But someday, I know I need to cry.
My 4 year old daughter and I were talking in the car the day before we got the call. I was trying to explain foster care to her and that we’d get phone calls and we would have times where kids would stay with us until their parents got “healthy.” I said, “How cool, Maeve. A brother or a sister for awhile. If you could pick, what would you want? Someone older, someone younger? Someone with your skin color? Someone who spoke a different language?”
” I don’t know mom. Let’s just wait and see what God gives us.”