Friday, March 08, 2013

3 months later...

It's been almost three months since you have heard from me. It may have been quiet on here, but it definitely has not been quiet in our home.

Our family embarked on a big, new chapter in our lives last month, and I so badly wish I was able to share all of the details with you.

We had our first foster children placed in our home.

Yup, children. As in two of them. And that's about all I can tell you. Sad, I know, but it's the rules.

It has been one of the most challenging months of my life, you know, the kind where you want to either curl up and whine, or where you want to face it head on and persevere through it, because in the end, you know you will not only feel stronger when it's over, but that there is something to be learned in the journey.

I landed somewhere in the middle...

...depending on the day.

I wish I could say I embraced the challenge from the beginning and stepped up to the challenge, but I didn't. I felt like I was in survival mode for a few weeks.

Sure, it wasn't all just surviving. I loved too. I joyfully picked up messes one minute and nearly cried over spilled milk the next. I wiped butts, cleaned up vomit, wiped noses. We played, we tickled, we laughed at the silly things babies do. But I also cried. I wished we hadn't begun this craziness. I wished I hadn't turned my life upside down.

But the beauty of being thrown into the craziness is that you are forced to learn as you go. It's new. They are new. It's a crazy amount of adjusting for everyone, and it took me a while to embrace our new life.

And there's GRACE.

Grace for the not yet learned. Grace for the times you raise your voice when you shouldn't have. Grace for the attention all your children need, but you just can't give. Grace for the times you let them watch 3 movies in one morning just so you can have a clean(ish) house.

But eventually, life starts to calm down.

It begins to actually feel...normal.

And when I should have been settling in to my new life, I drug my feet. I still wished my life felt calm,  predictable and that going out in public wasn't comparable to a circus.

But I hit this point where reality and my selfishness had totally clouded my vision, that just months before had fueled our desire to walk this road.

I realized how selfish I had been and how this month was quickly coming to an end, it was time to step up, or live with the regret that I hadn't lived up to what I was capable of doing...and with a joyful heart..

Once I felt the Lord really challenge my heart about my own attitude, parenting 5 children became surprisingly smoother than it had the previous weeks. Sure, it was a little bit of settling in, a little bit of finally adjusting...but a LOT of my heart becoming what it was designed to be for these little ones. I was not only learning that there was grace for this tired mama, but that I was capable of showing more grace than I knew possible to my children.

That's right about when baby wound up in the hospital. 

Are you kidding me?

As baby was being taken out of the pediatricians office, by ambulance, you'd have thought my mind would have been overwhelmed by what was happening.

How could I be mommy to 4 children at home and still have time to be there for such a sick little baby?

I was already so stressed out about finding a balance between our home life and these two new additions. The mass amounts of appointments that had suddenly filled our schedule, sometimes one each day of the week, and the inability to get everyone where they needed to be. The crazy amount of antibiotics and medicines I had to keep straight, not to mention hug and rock those who felt sick.

But through the stress of finding sitters, scheduling appointments, calls from doctors, caseworkers, and a toddler who screams bloody murder when I walk out the front door, the hospital brought something totally unexpected.



Not really what I was expecting to find during one of the most trying months, but in that pediatric wing of the hospital I wasn't expected to do anything except cuddle the sweet baby in that tiny room. To be  mama, and to be by her side while she was so sick. 

I held her more that week than I had been able to the whole time these children were in our care. I was able to pray over here, sing to her, but mostly I was able to hold her in the peace and quiet and just be still. 

I was able to think. Clearly. To not have thoughts interrupted by shrieks of "MOMMMMYYYY"

I was able to gain perspective on my life. The trials were hard, yes, but I had a healthy family and somehow the right amount of "me" to go around. There was so much grace during this transitional month. I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

New perspective, perseverance and a joyful heart changes everything

Which is good, because the hospital stay seemed to just be the beginning of more ear infections, stomach bugs, coughs and nasty noses, the flu and explosive diarrhea from an evil necessary antibiotic that left baby to be changed multiple times a day...I could go on.

We went out on a bang, alright. 

Our two additions are no longer in our home and I was worried when they left the only emotion I would feel was relief. Relief that I truly had just survived this past month and that I would just go back to life as usual.

I know that a weakness of mine is giving up when things get hard. Not even giving up, but not trying to persevere and "come out on top." I just try to get through. I don't think that's how the Lord desires us to approach the things in life that are hard, frightening or less than enjoyable. There's always something to be learned, something to take away from every trial in life.

My husband is good at reminding me. I tend to forget.

But I know when I pulled away with 2 empty seats in our van, I felt sad. Sad that we weren't able to be there forever home. And I am so thankful. I am thankful that I connected and attached myself with them. There's a little bit of me that wishes we were still the ones tucking them in bed at night.

And as much as I do feel a huge weight off my shoulders, it brings me a lot of joy to know that I am capable of not only caring for children who I didn't give birth to, but I'm also capable of truly loving them. And that's really what it's all about, right?

We are excited about what is in the future. Which other little kiddo's will come into our home. It's scary to know we can get a call any day.

It's a wild journey, this foster care stuff.

 Waiting for summer

 Jude's trick. Soft landing on one side, hard floor on the other.

Have something in your ear buddy?

Practicing sight words!

This is how Jude signs "I Love You"

I'm not sure. Bun in the oven?


Adam said...

glad to hear! I miss you guys. thanks for the blog! I love hearing all that you are learning! (maybe the pervasive exclamation marks are proof. why do I feel like exclamation marks are for cheer leaders?!)

Mark and Heather Buckwalter said...

beautiful post kelly! I sense the lord's pleasure over you! :) the challenges you were fighting were not just in the physical! I can totally relate to the battle of wanting to throw my hands up and say it is too much. What a testimony to His grace and God used you to touch those little lives!
Blessings to you today!
heather ;)

Kimberly Garland said...

You are an amazing woman kelly and a great mama. Imiss you at and your family (whether it grows or remains five ) are in my prayers. I love your blog, its a great inspiration and reminder to be thankful for everything the lord places in our grasp. I just wanted to pass in a hello is all...have a great night kelly!
Peace and love, kim garland