Monthly Archives: March 2016

A poem I wrote about depression: for my husband 

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 Please don’t let go of me today

I’m afraid if you do I will float away.   

You’re reaching out, when I can’t see

Holding me up to the one who can carry me.

I hear your words, soaking in the sound of your voice 

But I can’t speak, so you don’t know my choice

Don’t give up, keep holding on

If you don’t I can’t go on.

I know you take a lot of abuse

My desire is not for you to feel used.

My response, to you might feel fake

But please know I’m fighting for loves sake

I need your love, your prayer, your help

Because right now all I can see is myself

All this time you’ve been right here

Through all my doubt, through all my fear

My faith is growing, you gave me the seed. 

So I am taking a step, I’m taking your lead

I want to honor all we’ve been through

Step by step I will walk with you.

Baby “O”3:The mothership

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I walked into the small waiting area and looked to my left.  There she was.  I had several choices available as to what and how I would act, but I had decided my course of action before I even left to come here. I spoke her name even as the memories of the last five months flooded my mind.  We had been coming here every other week for sibling visits. It had been in this room where I had seen seven precious children reunited for the first time in six weeks after being separated into 5 different places. This day I was alone. So many events and decisions had brought us to this monumental moment.  I was about to meet their mother for the first time.  

She looked up at me and said “yes”

“I am Rachel. I am taking care of your son.  It is so nice to meet you!” I gave her a hug.  I wasn’t sure if she would hate me or think I was weird.  I didn’t know what to expect.  When the embrace ended I looked into her eyes. They were filled with tears.  

She wanted to know how he was, if he was happy, she wanted to know all the milestones he had made.  She hadn’t been allowed to see him, or any of them in five months.  She was clearly distraught. She loves her children very much. 

We fell into slightly awkward conversation, but mostly it felt like I  had known her for a long time.  I guess in some ways I had. For the past five months I had been caring for a piece of her. I wasn’t sure exactly what details she was allowed to have, so I just did my best to assure her that we loved him and we’re taking care of him and he was doing very well.  

You may be thinking, even without knowing the details of the case, how could I be so accepting of her? How could I not rip into her for the steps she took that brought us all into the tragic circumstances we were in.  I don’t know.  I do know the details of the case, and somehow God gave me what I needed at the moment to show grace.  He also gave me great friends and resources who offered advice. Taking that advice and relying on God to guide us through made a huge difference.

At that point we didn’t know what was going to happen.  All I knew was, either I would be giving this little one back to her at some point in the future, or I would be tied to her for life because she gave birth to him.  Either way it was better we work together.  She held the keys to his past, only God held the keys to his future.  We were in this together.

When it was time to leave, she followed me out to the parking lot.  With tears streaming down her cheeks she clung to me, begging me to take care of him, and thanking me over and over for having him with me.  

I will never forget that day.  I could have stayed home.  I could have snubbed her.  I could have given in to my fear, and a situation that was painful for all of us. But I trusted God.  I am not going to say it wasn’t hard for me, but I know it was nothing compared to how hard it must have been for her.  

A few days later we found out that after  meeting with me, she had requested to stop the homestudy the other family had begun, so that he could stay with us!! 

Baby “O”2: You are my sunshine

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My special bed time routine with baby “O” included singing “you are my sunshine” to him before putting him in his bed at night.  One night after he had been with us for about 4 months I was singing to him and as he layed  his head on my shoulder like he had done so many times before, it hit me like a Mac truck. I had just gotten to the last line of the song. We had just found out that another family was set to begin a homestudy to become a non-relative   placement for him.  He had begun to call me mama already.  Though I knew he wasn’t mine, I also knew he would always be mine.  He was our first placement and we were his.  I would never forget him and always love him.  I had sung that song to him so many times, but never really considered how much the words applied to the situation.  We had been there before when another family had gone through their homestudy,but that one fell through.  In my heart the Lord said “trust me”.  The tears came. For the thousandth time I surrendered.  I knew I could love him enough to let him go. I surrendered, then I begged God not to take my sunshine away.  

Oh baby “O”

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Someone once said: in order to feel time, write.

I want to take the opportunity to feel time.  All too often, life kind of just happens to us.  Epic changes are made, and during those changes, we can go into survival mode and not have time to process all that has happened good and bad.  If you are like me, these things can leave you full of emotions that are hard to express because they don’t seem to relate to the present. Worse, they relate to the past.  You are left to sort out all of it, not sure how to talk about it all. This is where I find myself today.  But I am writing out it and sharing it anyways. 

A little less than a year ago our entire life was changed forever.  I would say we didn’t even know it,but that isn’t quite accurate.  We knew the moment the PI placed a sleeping baby into our home that we would never be the same.  We just didn’t know then the magnitude of all God was about to do. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about what he went through and what the next 10 months brought to him and to us.

 His day had begun much earlier when he and his six brothers and sisters were removed from their schools and daycare by strangers. Taken from everything they had ever known, to be placed with foster families or relatives. The day was spent saying goodbye to his siblings as they were dropped off one by one to their perspective homes. Each time, they cried for each other, scared.  They were not only going to unfamiliar places, but also seeing their siblings being left at places they had never seen as well. (Resulting in them worrying for themselves and each other) He was the last to be dropped off. His day ended similarly to the way it began: being with strangers (us) alone.  That in itself would have been enough to tramatized him, but that was only mild compared to all he had experienced before.

He was just twelve days shy of his first birthday. He brought the clothes on his back and a plastic grocery bag holding formula, a bottle,a half empty container of snacks, and a sippy cup full of what smelled like Gatorade. By the time he came to us he had cried himself to sleep. He was sticky and dirty and absolutely adorable. 

 As I signed the papers agreeing to custody I had a brief moment of “wow” then I plunged into mommy mode for a child I knew would be taken from us.  He didn’t belong to us.  We were here to love and take care of him until he went to his permanent home.  

We held him for hours not wanting to wake him.  It wasn’t till about 3 am he finally opened his dark brown eyes and looked up at us. We had been stealing ourselves for him freaking out since he had never seen us or our home before.  We were complete strangers to him.  Even after all he had been through he didn’t cry.  He just smiled up at us like he had always known us.  

He got a bath and a bottle and we put the only pajamas we had on him.  He slept for a few more hours.  The next morning we settled into getting to know him and he us.  He wasn’t walking yet and still fell over quite a bit when he sat up by himself.  He could say “dog” but not much else.  He was the happiest baby I had ever had and very easy going.  He wasn’t afraid of ANYTHING not even our giant dog. He loved her and followed her all over the house. He was very independent emotionally. When he was hurt he didn’t seek comfort. It was as if he was used to fending for himself. He would accept comfort though so we set out teaching him about getting kisses on booboos and snuggles. It wasn’t long before he was getting “hurt” on purpose and running over for kisses.  

As the case unfolded, we learned more and more about where he had come from and began planning for where he would end up. Meanwhile we were falling more and more in love with him.  In the back of my mind always echoed the voice of my friend Amanda “he’s not yours till the judge’s gavel comes down.” It kept me grounded. 

Bathing in the Jordan River

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I waited with them, the little one on my lap, my nine year old in the chair, and Jalah with her nose to the door anxiously anticipating the arrival of her sisters and brothers who she hasn’t seen in weeks. They were separated from their family and taken one by one from her all day long before she got to me.  She was so excited to see them!  When they burst through the door the reunion joy exploded as they all hugged each other and talking at once began to attempt to fill each other in on their time apart. The baby lunged for his brother and just snuggled him in relief.  It was clear, no matter their ages that they had worried about each other and their love was evident.  The limited visit lasted just over an hour and a half before the time came to say goodbye.  I have never witnessed anything ,in real life, that traumatic and heartbreaking.  First, the hugging and sobbing and picture taking, followed by begging across the parking lot for just a little more time. When we finally were strapped into the car Jalah’s greaf had given way to anger and despair and she screamed for her mother and kicked and threw herself back against the seat.  She didn’t even see her mother, but the trauma of being separated from her siblings again brings it all back to the surface.  

Have you ever been in a situation that seemed absolutely hopeless and the only viable option you are given does not make sense, seems complety distainful, or just absolutely out of the question?  This is where these kids are.  This is where we, as foster parents, are.  It seems ludacris to continue in this system where kids are separated from parents who have neglected, abused, or sat back and watched as someone else did this to them. Then for us to take them in against their will and begin to help, then rip the bandaide off with visits just when they are beginning to heal.  We are pouring everything into these kids who don’t even want us.  I don’t know how to reconcile this in my mind.  It is an impossible situation. 

I woke up this morning thinking about this and immediately my mind wandered to the story of Naman in the bible.  He was wealthy, respected, married, and served.  Then he was stricken with lepperousy.  Everything he knew and loved was probably going to be taken from him. The only help that came his way was the advice from the prophet of God to dip into the dirty Jordan river seven times.  Not the solution he was looking for.

This was not what I signed up for when the overwhelming desire to grow our family came upon us. When we began to follow the Lord on this journey, I didn’t see this coming.  Now that it is here, so many times I look forward with fear to the future and what we are doing now just seems barbaric.  What they have gone through, what we are doing for them, what we are doing to ourselves in order to be there for them seems insane.  An aquaintence of mine, when she found out what we were doing, asked me why we would do that to ourselves.  I didn’t know how to respond.  Now I do.

We are bathing in the Jordan. It doesn’t make sense–unless you know God’s hand and call on your life.  It is barbaric–unless you can see the value of rescuing these kids whether they see it as a rescue or not.  

Bathing in the Jordan was not the solution to Naman’s problem.  Overcoming the uncomfortable nature of someone of his “stature” getting into that water was not the point.  The point was submission without understanding.  The point was trusting God,not self, and acting against the fear and disgust.  Choosing to move forward and trust God for the result.  And look what happend–Naman’s health was restored. But it didn’t happen after the first dunk or the second or the third. It happened when his obedience was complete.  Then came the miracle and the healing.  

I don’t know how many times God has asked us to “dunk”. I feel like I spent a good deal under the water just today.  But I am choosing to keep on “dunking” until the healing comes and we know the end result.  For me, my husband, and children (how ever many God gives us or for how long)