the pain and the glory

Monday, April 29, 2013

As tends to be the case in my life, I had three major foster care events three days in a row. I’m not sure why it tends to cluster, and I can’t decide if I like it or not. It often ends up feeling stressful and emotional. Maybe it’s better to get it all out of the way at once, or maybe I’d feel better about life in general if I would just split it up a bit. I don’t really have a choice in all of this, so it’s all just an exercise in futility to think about it anyway.

In addition to an all-day training, I was also invited to attend a volunteer luncheon at Juvenile Court for our county’s CASA workers and speak a bit about our experience with CASA. Unbeknownst to me, one of the items they were planning to go over at this meeting was a memorandum of understanding between our county’s FCS and CASA program. This memo was drafted recently as a direct result of the teamwork that was the hallmark of our children’s case. A legacy for an entire system, out of my children’s trauma. Beauty from ashes.

Honestly, though, the whole day left me struggling. I learned new things about our kids, about their case. Nothing was a shock or surprise, but I’m astounded by how emotional it still makes me feel. To hear what kinds of things were said behind the scenes, the decisions that are discussed and made while we were wondering and worrying and praying – those things are still intensely difficult for me to hear. It’s painful beyond words for me to think about how close our children were to being moved to a different home. Even still. Maybe it’s because I know how it’s all turned out. The glory of my children’s lives being healed. The beauty of their sister’s healing and her family and the promise of a deeper relationship to come…to imagine our families – both of them – without our children is just unthinkable to me at this point.

I know it’s over. Most days, I accept the miracle of our families with great joy. It wasn’t an accident things happened this way, but this particular week I’ve been working very hard to get past the memories of the pain, fear, and absolute helplessness I felt during that process. We advocated for our kids, we voiced our opinions, we parented the best we knew how, but we had absolutely no control over the outcome. Other people, most of them virtual strangers to both us and the children, made this decision, and it still terrifies me that they might have made a different one.

I love that we work with a county full of people who are good at their jobs, who care for kids, and who know that sometimes mistakes are made by everyone involved. I am grateful to be a part of a county that, for the most part, truly works to do the best thing for kids. We’ve been granted some incredible grace with different disciplines and workers in our area. We have some awesome opportunities in the works, and we are proud to be a part of this whole, big, messed-up, beautiful system. That’s the part I want to focus on, to talk about, and to find joy in. This is where we’re supposed to be, in spite of its imperfections, and this is what we’re supposed to be doing, even when we make mistakes in the process. It’s a privilege and an honor.

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