Thursday, March 13, 2014

Finishing Strong

Waterproof mascara.

I made the mistake of buying regular old mascara a few months ago.

Right after one of the kids destroyed the contents of my makeup bag.

And right in the middle of adjusting to being a family of 6.

Our agency called right before Christmas with a little girl who needed a home for a while.

Joel and I have been waiting for a call since the other two girls left 10 months ago. We weren't sure why we hadn't been called, but we also weren't sure we were totally prepared to jump right in again. That season of life was extremely draining.

It brought out a lot of my ugly. My selfishness. The things that I wasn't willing to surrender.

So the moment I got the call I knew that I was about to enter into another season of surrendering the life that I had pictured in my mind to be good. Safe. Comfortable.

I just had this feeling we would get a call by Christmas. A week earlier we had a placement call, but had to turn the child down because we were in the middle of Manhattan and couldn't get home in time. But when we got the call for Hannah, it felt right.

My Christmas shopping was done, the room was ready and so we were as ready as you can be.

Bringing home your new baby is totally different than adjusting to a new foster child. The number may only increase by one, but this one little person is understood very little.

As prepared as you think you are, you still know very little about this tiny person coming to live with you. Sometimes they come with a few things, other times nothing.

Did they sleep with a blanket? A pacifier? Are they used to bottles or sippy cups? You find things that will make her feel comfortable.

Are they scared of baths? Scared to have their diaper changed? Do men scare them? Animals? Did someone rock them to sleep? Were they used to being in the dark? Nightlight? When do they go to sleep? Do they sleep? What will they eat? Do they have any allergies?

Oh, the questions that run through your brain. Questions that you don't even need to think about with biological children. You learn as you go. 

Baby steps.

I learned that she loves to eat. All. Day. Long.

She will do almost anything to try to sneak a quick snack.

She didn't talk at first, so whining was her way of communicating (and tantrums and yelling shrieking).

She's a little clumsy and falls more than the average child. She also gets into more than any of my kids ever did .

Combined. And if you know my kids at all, that means a LOT.

She keeps me busy.

But she has beautiful eyes and a sweet little smile.

She's trying so hard to learn to communicate and has learned many new words!

"Please," "More," "All done."

Those oh, so important ones.

And while she's been with us for twelve weeks, and we see the leaps and bounds she has been changing and growing, it is still a daily struggle to raise a child that isn't yours.  In addition to learning to care for 4 kids, it's strange and unfamiliar.

A lot of my ugly rears it's head daily. I've moved past feeling selfish about my time, and onto feeling so drained I can hardly bend over to pick up yet another water spill. It's those days as a mom where you need to cling to the bigger picture God has given you, or you might just curl up and watch episodes of Friends for hours.

(....ok maybe I just did that).

But in the midst of chaos, I am learning so much about myself and the Lords desire for us.

That He desires to teach me perseverance.

That "comfort" is not what He has called us to.

That loving the "least of these" is HARD work.

But always worth it. (click here for a great article that challenged me!)

I'm thankful for friends who I can share honestly with. I'm thankful for friends who pray for me on days I feel like I can't do it anymore. I'm thankful for the YMCA childcare on days I just can't do it anymore.

I'm thankful for this little face that reminds me daily that the Lords plan for our lives far exceed what the world dishes out to us.

Life can be HARD.

Sometimes we can lighten our load, and other days we are supposed to carry our load and trust that He will hold us.

This has been a season of Him holding me up.

An exhausting, challenging season. But He has held me up.

We've navigated all the unanswered questions about this little ones past, her present needs and her future needs.

She has grown SO much in the past 3 months. Learning to communicate effectively, learning a new routine with a new family, learning what the word "no," means, and that it's not a fun word to hear!

At this point, I'm not sure what the next day will hold, or the next, but for right now, I want to finish strong.

And do it well.

This little one deserves it.