in the middle of the crazy

Monday, October 19, 2015

Little Man has been here a little over an a week and a half now. The house is filled with adorable as he and Mira are exactly the same size, though 10 months apart. The twins comments proliferate. He's warmed up. We get smiles and giggles and play. We still get scowls, but very little crying. We get glimpses of what he has likely been through, but I expect the bulk of it will come once visits start. This relative calm before the inevitable storm is a blessing since our household is anything but calm right now

No matter how good of a handle I think I have on things, a new placement always catches us unprepared. It's like having to constantly be prepared for the birth of a baby. People get things extra clean, they make freezer meals, they get all of their projects out of the way, they make sure the nursery is stocked with diapers and gear and clothes. While I do have minimal stock of a few items and the foster agency requires us to have the beds and car seats we need, I never have enough, and because our house is so small, we don't keep the beds in a constant configuration that leaves space. So the first night is inevitably filled with moving furniture, emergency store runs, loads of laundry (first to clean everything the child comes with and then to make sure the bedding and clothes are clean for his/her arrival as well), and purchased supper. 

Unfortunately Little Man came right at the time I needed to be switching out the kids' wardrobes for fall, which is a task that regularly brings me to near tears and/or violent murderous thoughts. So add that to all the stuff I listed, and even though I thought I was ready for this, turns out that was far from the truth. It's emotionally exhausting to bring home a new child, no matter the age, and while Little Man is a good sleeper, he does require a lot of supervision as he is not a respecter of boundaries or safety concerns. In addition, I was in the middle of a several day stretch where I had run out of one of my medications so I was beyond exhausted and not feeling super well.

Add to that a fairly serious medical issue with your tiniest of the bunch that lasts a whole day and brings back traumatic memories of hospitals and near-death experiences and compounds shame and guilt on top of all this stress I'm already fighting, and this is all an overwhelming recipe.

This placement, however, came right before a pre-planned evening away with non-refundable concert tickets so that I was forced to override my instincts and leave the new one for awhile to get away. We sat with friends who need nothing from us, who understand us, who follow Jesus the same kinds of ways that we do, who speak life and truth, and we ate well and listened to phenomenal music thanks to the collective efforts of three different babysitters (and let's be honest, a significant amount of cash)...since that's the kind of complicated shenanigans we go through to go away for a night. It was a deep breath in the middle of a week where everyday left me feeling like I was struggling a little for air.

Hope abounds because friends pull through. Whether it's the day-after arrival of an extra toddler bed, a double stroller, and some apple crisp, or the week-later gracious gift of a home-cooked meal, which I was uber-embarrassed to have to admit we needed (but after a week of hamburger helper and fast-food dinners, we WERE in need), sometimes God gives you the sweet sweet gift of a friend who shows up when your house is messy, you haven't showered, your kids are a circus, and everything is in chaos. 

It's hard stuff, bringing a new one into your home. No matter how many times we do it, it's still hard. It's emotional and exhausting, and there's always that moment a couple days in where my heart catches up with my brain and I get panicky because I know the hurt that's coming. There's no way this ends happily. It can end well, but someone is getting hurt in the process. And honestly? I hope it's us. I hope we're the ones grieving and missing him and fighting the take-your-breath-away pain that comes with sending a child home. I hope that's how this ends because that means this boy is back in a healthy and healed family. That means they've won. They've beat the odds and done the hard work to make their family work. That's the outcome we pray for right now. That's why we do this, all the crazy and the hard and the hurt. It's for restoration. It's for redemption. It's because, after it all is said and done, we still believe love wins.

photo credit: clean up time! via photopin (license)
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