I have been slowly mulling over a couple of blogs I read a month or so ago. These days my thoughts are scattered and interrupted by the nearly constant needs of my small children. It takes time to formulate my random thoughts into cohesive ideas. It takes even more time to find the time to sit down uninterrupted and write them down. So forgive me if they are not fully processed or if nap ends in the middle of my post.
I recently read an article by Dr. John DeGarmo called My Grief Is Real: The Tears of a Foster Parent. As a foster mom I have cried many tears over my kids who moved on. I usually cried those tears the first time we found out they wouldn’t be staying in our family. And God faithfully comforted me each time as we began to work toward helping that child move on to the next phase of their life. Dr. DeGarmo’s article is a very encouraging article if you are in the midst of this phase of your journey…one of moving kids to the next phase.
But I am no longer in that phase of my journey. My family has moved on toward the next phase, where our kids will not be moving on from our family. We adopted Daniel last November after two years as his foster parents. And we are moving forward in the process with Girly K and Baby K and will, Lord willing, be adopting them this summer. Reading DeGarmo’s article made me think about the differences in the tears I cried for our kiddos who moved on and my three youngest kiddos. There were tears of grief for the kiddos that I didn’t get to keep, that we said goodbye to. But those tears didn’t last very long. We met daddies and cousins and friends who loved our babies and we could easily see God’s hand in moving the kiddos on.
For my youngest three kids, especially Daniel, I have cried many more tears. Tears for Daniel as we experienced the back and forth of if he would stay or if he would move. Once we knew he was staying we cried tears for him that he will never live with his birth mom again. He has a bond with her that I can not understand in my rational mind…to love someone who has done such harm to you. I cry tears for him as I anticipate the hard conversations we will have with him about her. My tears aren’t all for Daniel. I cry a lot of tears for myself. Parenting Daniel is hard. I cry because I will be his mommy forever and I will have to be the one to have the hard conversations. I will be the one he will hate for taking him away from his birth mom I will be the one he yells at in anger, “You’re not my real mom, I wish you’d never adopted me!” I have a different kind of grief and tears for Daniel. I grieve the pain in his heart and I grieve the pain in my heart as I struggle to love him the best that I can, knowing that it will be forever, knowing that it may always be hard. I cry tears for two oldest kids. I cry that we have given them a difficult brother. I cry for the sweet times I miss out on with them because I have to give them space away from him when he is being mean or aggressive with them. I cry for the loss of the simple, impulsive life we used to live and will never be able to live again. I grieve that they no longer get to have that.
I love my Daniel and I prayed so hard that God would let us keep him. We see tremendous growth in him and he is a delight to call my own. But I am not naive about the journey we face. I know that it will have it’s ups and downs. I have no doubt in my mind that God brought us to this specific time and place. And though I cry a lot of tears I know that He is here with me in the midst of all of them. He does not judge me when I cry tears of anger because Daniel is hitting and scratching and kicking me because I did not give him his black coat because I don’t know where it was. God is with me when I cry tears of grief over the loss of time with Joanna and Sam or Kirk. God is with me when I cry heart-broken tears when he says he hates me because I gave him a consequence for disobedience or he says he feels safest with his mama (his birth mom) because she gave him bottles (though I know the truth about how she treated him). These are the tears that I cry now. Yet God is my comforter.
I was thinking about these things, saying yes to loving Daniel as a son forever, despite the many tears, as I read a blog post by a friend from church, Kim Rankin. She talks about Being Brave. “Perhaps bravery is not the absence of fear, but the refusal to be paralyzed by it. Perhaps there is bravery in admitting we are scared. Perhaps recognizing we need help is the bravest thing of all.” There is a special kind of bravery that God gives us that leads us to do things that the world would call foolish. Bravery for me is saying YES with all of my heart to Daniel even though I know in my mind that it will not be an easy journey.