Did you ever play that game when you were a kid where your siblings/friends hide a toy in an area while you cover your eyes? When they tell you to open them, you look for the toy as they call out at temperature to direct you to the prize. “Cold. Warm. Hot. ” The closer you were to the hidden toy the hotter you were. Me, Ralphie and Rachel were always really creative with our adjectives. “You’re freezing! You’re ice cold! You’re burning up! You’re on fire!!” The triumph of finding the toy based on simple adjectives knew no bounds.
Well friends, let me tell you—we’re so close to having kids we’re on fire!! Our excitement knows no bounds. We are done with all the training and classes we had to take. Surprisingly, we learned new and helpful info. We also aced our homestudy interview. I didn’t stay up cleaning every inch of the house like a mad woman until 2am fretting over every spot and speck which I have done for previous homestudies. Sean didn’t tell awkward jokes and I didn’t talk too much. We spoke sincerely, confidently, and even with a little dirt on the baseboards—we still passed! Praise God! We got licensed earlier this week.
In addition to our trainings and the homestudy, I got some emotional preparation too. (Sean was already prepared. He’s been ready for this for a while now. I just needed some extra help getting there.) Since I wrote the last blog on our adoption story, I’ve received a couple of different comments/advice regarding our decision to go for foster children and current lack of kids. I didn’t take the comments in the spirit of kindness some of them came in and it showed me I have a weak spot emotionally. I dissolved in tears and quite a bit of anger (….and some cussing too…honestly).
What helped? I found a phenomenal facebook page/blog called Confessions of an Adoptive Parent. It’s a place for foster parents to encourage each other with stories of personal journeys in foster care. Ironically, when I first started reading on the facebook page they were starting a ten-person forum with both adoptive parents and foster kids called a “Hope Summit”. They did an amazing job of focusing on the good while not dismissing the bad of raising foster kids. (Thank you, Brookelyn for turning me on to this group! I found the link on your facebook page one night while I was having a pity party for myself. Extremely encouraging.)
I also picked up Lysa Terkeurst’s book Unglued. It’s about getting out-of-control emotions under control through what she calls soul integrity and the ability to balance honesty with godliness-something I needed and can apply in the days ahead. I recognize this won’t be the last time someone’s going to criticize how we’re building a family. I can’t control what they say but I can control how I react. Lysa has some great ideas about how to control those reactions. She tells this great story about Joshua from the Bible that I can directly apply to the challenge of adopting through foster care. He and the Israelites had just spent the last forty years wandering in the desert after rebelliously telling God “thanks but no thanks” to the work it would have taken to enjoy their inheritance. Now they were ready to enter the Promised Land and were willing to do the work it would take to make it their own. An epic battle against Jericho, one of the oldest and most fortified cities in the world was up first. It had walls over 45 feet high and 6 feet thick. Before the battle, Joshua stood surveying the city. As he looked out on the monumental task before him, the commander of the LORD’s army appeared. (Note: God’s in charge of His own army. Super cool and reassuring.) Joshua blurted out, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” said the LORD. (Which must have made for a really awkward moment…..) Helpfully, Lysa explains it’s because Joshua asked the wrong question. The question should have been, “Whose side am I on?” Was Joshua on God’s side or was he fighting for himself?
Good question. Sean and I’ve already adopted a mindset of hope. I no longer see future challenges as us versus them. Us versus thoughtless naysayers. Us versus CPS and their sometimes baffling decisions. Even us versus the kids for supreme control of the house. Now it’s about determining to stay on God’s side as we move on to this child portion of our lives. We decided to adopt children under age five. Maybe one, maybe two or three. It’s really up to the Lord. We’re open to who He has in store for us. He hasn’t let us down yet. Like Paul said in Phil. 3:14-16 “I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet!” Armed with this knowledge and all our training we’re prepared for the kids God has for us. We’re prepared to be parents again. And that game where you hide the toy, we’ll teach them how to play. “We’re so close, we’re on fire!” Bring on the kids!