the conference room miracle

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'DSCF3958' photo (c) 2008, Joe Loong - license:

While I continue to write about foster care and our journey through the system while we’re still in the midst of it, there is so much that I can’t share for confidentiality reasons during the process. Not only that, but there is a lot that we don’t even know until after the whole thing is over. This is one of those things…


We were at the end of our children’s foster care case. Surrounding most foster care cases, at least in our county, there is a team of people who are working different angles of the case. (I explained some of the team members here.) This team typically meets monthly, although in this case, it all led up to one big scheduled meeting where we were going to hash out the different opinions on our children’s future. There were differing opinions on whether our two children would remain in our home or whether they would be reunited with their older sister in a brand new adoptive home. The reasons for or against aren’t particularly important to this story, except to say that we obviously felt it best and healthiest for our children’s future for them to remain in our home.

We were told this meeting would not be a decision-making meeting. Even so, we felt like this particular meeting was the most important thing that would ever happen in our children’s case. Looking back, I’m not sure why. No one told us that. If we knew then what we know now, we probably wouldn’t even have believed it mattered at all, but somehow it settled in our spirits as something of supreme importance. So much so that I fasted the entire day before. For non-religious people, fasting probably sounds like the most ridiculous thing ever. For more-religious-than-me people, you’re probably wondering why I feel like this was important to mention, but here’s the thing about me and fasting: I suck at it. No really. I’m terrible at it. I believe it’s of great value, but self-discipline is not my strongest character quality. Thus, it’s pretty important for my part of this story that you know that. I fasted, and it wasn’t even hard.

I prayed that day like I have never prayed before or since. Face to the ground, great groaning prayers because I was all out of words to even say. I struggle with praying bold prayers, but this time. This time, even in the middle of fear and trembling, I poured my heart out for my children.

The next morning, we dropped the kids with my mom and headed out to the agency. The urge to vomit didn’t lessen the whole way there. I had sent copies of my notes from the whole case to the CASA worker, and they had been distributed. I had pled our case to anyone who would listen, and I knew this was beyond us. Before we went in, we broke our fast with some grape juice and bread there in the parking lot. (Perhaps we should’ve used the real stuff to calm the nerves…)

When we walked in that room, we were two of fourteen people sitting around that huge conference table. People from different agencies, different departments. People who knew our children personally and people who were just reading a case file. All of them there for just three small children. According to several of the people in attendance, to their knowledge there had never been this kind of meeting before in our county. According to someone in the agency I spoke with recently, there hasn’t really been one since either.

The longer it’s been, the more specifics I forget, but the atmosphere in that room is burned into my head. It was a divine moment. If there had been an angel choir singing audibly, I would not have been surprised. It was that kind of holy. Sometimes we just get a glimpse of the unseen, and I have only a handful of times experienced it like I did on that day. Probably none of those people in attendance felt that the same way we did, but for that many people from that many different disciplines to all care enough about three children to take a couple hours out of their day for a meeting that most of them weren’t required to attend…that was miraculous.

When we walked out of that room, we were no more informed on our children’s future than when we walked in. When we got back to the car though, the relief just washed over me. Both Wendell and I knew that what had just happened was sacred. No matter what the decision was going to be, we knew the best had been done. There was no more to do than what we had just experienced. We were at peace with that.

What we know now: before that meeting, the major players in our team had pretty much already made up their minds. Our children were going to be moved. Even just typing that makes me feel a little nauseated inside still. I’m glad we didn’t know at that point – I’m not sure I had the capability of coping with that kind of knowledge then. At that point, I really believed they were still conflicted on what decision to make. Now, I don’t believe they were conflicted as much as they were delaying the inevitable of informing us of their real opinions.

What we know now: that meeting, and one man’s voice in particular – a man who had no stakes in the outcome of this case, a man who had no compelling reason to attend this meeting other than his sincere care for children, made up the mind of one of the team members as to what the best future looked like for these kids. After the meeting, the agency department heads stuck around and asked that team member their opinion. After the opinion was given, we are told that team member was asked, “You know what you just did, don’t you?” (The implication being that that specific voice carried the weight which swayed the decision.)

What we know now that we also knew then: that meeting changed the course of our children’s future. I don’t know how I knew that back then, but everything we’ve learned since then has proven our instincts to be true.

So…miracles. I believe they exist. I believe this was one. One that might be explained by lots of logical answers and reasoning, one that we might chalk up to emotions and coincidences and ordinary happenings. Does that make it any less a miracle? I say no. I claim this for my children. The battle for my children’s future in that room is just a glimpse of the battle fought for our souls every day. The passion displayed by those who cared even the slightest amount for these three kids is just a taste of the furious love our Savior has for us. Heaven breaks through, supernatural made plain, and there are three children who have safe and happy families and a brighter future because of it. Three children who are healing day by day and who are beginning to build a redemptive future together as siblings, even if they don’t live in the same house. Miraculous. Without a doubt.

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