the glory of it all

Monday, October 21, 2013

Four and a half years, seven different children, and some days I feel old hat at this whole foster care thing. We know pretty much how things generally work. We’ve spent our fair share of time at home visits, in team meetings, waiting rooms at the agency, that hallway outside the courtroom, learning to know the whole system by name. We know enough to know you can’t ever count on anything for sure. It’s a far cry from our first placement where their three months with us felt like an eternity. Now, we’re four months into this whole thing with Sweet M, and I feel like we’ve barely even begun.

Ten weeks without visits can lull you into a sense of complacency. Normality. You forget you’re not a regular family. You forget that she doesn’t really belong to you at all.

Then someone hits a restart button, and you’re dropping her off at visits again. Handing her over to a stranger, but a stranger who knows her in more intimate ways than you ever can. Heart in the throat, willing the tears to wait until the car, telling this sweet baby’s mama about her likes and dislikes, her schedule and medical issues.

It’s not sunshine and roses for anyone. Sweet M is unsettled and angry at being left with a stranger, her mama is upset and brokenhearted at this tiny baby who doesn’t know her at all, and I’m stuck in the middle. The everyday mama to this precious life, the only one she really knows, yet really not her mama at all. I am. I’m not. No matter how many times we do this, no matter how many children I give my heart to, the pain always rises. It’s a piece of your heart every time, and there are days when I wonder how much more I can give away. How many times I can say goodbye. How much longer I can give my everything to a child who deserves every single bit of me and yet still hang on.

I am swallowed by worries and hurt, and even as I sink to my knees, I know it’s into an ocean of grace. I know there’s strength for the road ahead. I know it’ll find me even when I can’t see through the fog. God is faithful, again and again, and hope is more powerful than fear. So I sit in our minivan in the visitors’ parking lot, a Love Wins sticker decorating our dirty back window, and I sing truth out – grace like an ocean - I’m sinking with hands raised, tears flowing, because I know I’m at the intersection of holy. Heaven meets earth, and in the dirt, there’s glory.

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