Don’t just be “pro-life” on a picket sign. Be pro-life in every phase and in every way. Foster care and adoption is our yes to life.
Last week our fost-adopt journey turned the corner for a new chapter.
As is usually the case with social services*, slow and sparring information is the only information, so I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised when my wife got a call from the county saying, ‘birth mom is out of prison earlier than expected and she has a visit due this week… can you make it up town tomorrow?’
So it is that we were faced with the last-minute audible to gear up and get going.
And so we did.
But not before having a bit of a spiritual-psycho-emotional freak out.
You see up to this point in our fost-adopt journey (on baby number 2; Selah adopted last year, we’ve been licensed for about 3 years), we haven’t had what I would call the typical foster family experience…
We haven’t had to give kids back after years of bonding and attachment; we haven’t had to travel 30 miles twice a week for biological family visits (as some of our dear friends have-mind you with their other kids and family life moving ahead at normal pace/scheduling); we haven’t had to deal with multiple family members and the ups and downs of them making progress, back sliding, court mandating chaos that can be the very essence of foster care.
As I explained it to a friend recently, when you become licensed for fost-adopt your technical title is a “resource family.”
This means that you are like an expendable tool to be used at the disposal of the system, the kids and the biological families needs. This is the lens that you are trained to assume as a foster mom or dad.
Suffice to say, easier said than done.
Herein lies the essence of our spiritual-psycho-emotional freak out: you’ve held, carried, nourished, kissed, swaddled, midnight fed-in short loved the crap out of a being that-in this case-we’ve had since he was 2-days old.
All of this largely “uninterrupted” (meaning: most days, no ones come knocking to pick him up, take him away or even call to check in!). And when it’s like that-very few bio family visits and very few calls/court dates-you begin to really live the illusion that this child is yours.
And then one day you get a call with a stark reminder that, at least legally, that is not the case.
And so we have a mental shock to the system and the mind begins to reel… ‘what if he is taken away… worse still, what if he is taken away and given to birth mom where he is abused or neglected.’
Stop for a second, imagine if you will that one of your biological kids was dropped off one day and handed to someone you barely know and definitely do not trust (and also has a history of abuse/neglect). Well biological or fostered, we do not know the difference-that is what it feels like.
So doubt, crisis, fear creeps in…
Insert the mental/biblical picture that God gave my wife…
It’s the picture of Abraham laying his son Issac on the altar. It comes from Genesis 22.
You remember the picture
22 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.
“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
So many questions here-I get it… what’s God thinking about? What’s God’s deal? Just flat-out: why? Well besides the fact that I’m not here to talk about all that today, I do think the answer is 4 words into the first verse… God tested Abraham’s faith.
Ironic how that was essentially the title of a sermon I shared just 1 week prior. The one point was essentially this: God is using all things as a manner of testing and preparing us for what comes next. (And prayer, by the way, is our gift for having eyes to see this.)
It’s no different right here, right now with our little 7-month old baby boy.
A second truth paralleled in our lives with this passage is this: our kids are not our own.
Whether our kids are biological or fostered or adopted-not anymore than our past, present or future-do they belong to us.
I allude to the concept of time because that is the dual thing that God is asserting ownership over by the way, in this passage.
You see he’s not only testing Abraham’s faith, he’s not only reminding Abraham that he owns his son, but he owns what his son represents.
And what Issac represented was the hope of another son-Jacob, who was the hope of Israel, whose hope was Jesus, who is the hope of the world.
I digress, except to say this: he holds the people and he holds the plans.
Same is true for us right here, right now.
So hand him over…
That was the bright idea my wife got.. AND the reality we get the chance to live.
Starting today, in the new normal, of driving up to the group home to visit birth mom, making sure that she gets an audience with her son.
And the prayer that helps us navigate this all?
It is prayer no longer for 1 life, but for 2.
That’s the call after all isn’t it? To find whoever we may be diametrically opposed to and love that person, pray for that person?
I fear it is a lost or dying 1st century art form. But in truth, we just so seldom get the chance to meet our “enemy.” Besides the person in the car riding my tailgate, I fear I have never really met the enemy Christ spoke of… until now.
And please understand how I’m using the word enemy. It is not to make biological mom bad, rather it is to explain exactly what I meant when I say diametrically opposed, and the person who has the potential to claim back what we love like it is our own feels like no subtle opposition.
In the end, this post was meant to be an affirmation of my wonderful and amazing warrior bride-Rylee. After all it was the biblical-word-image that God gave her, that she in turn shared with the world via social media, which in turn appears to have been an incredible encouragement for the faith and struggles of others.
When I saw her post I was uplifted and inspired by her… after all she is at the home front with these precious babes logging far more hours than I.
She is the frontline soldier of love-mending wounds, wiping tears (and bottoms!), channeling screams and demands, listening, waiting, loving patiently and graciously.
So in a way it is her baby even perhaps a little more than my baby that is being asked to the altar now.
And so it is her courage and faith and boldness and prayers that emboldens us both now to keep taking one step after the next in faith and preparation for whatever it is that God has next…
*And not to disparage the many incredibly hard-working social workers out there-I am constantly floored by the amazing volumes of work and case loads they carry-and enormously gut-wrenching at times too. These workers match any ministry or church hustle I have ever seen-those who really are devoted and focused that is.