Sometimes you need a little distance to see things clearly.
About six months after beginning to foster my younger sister, my mom left me a message telling me to call her back, which, frankly, scared me. Normally if she had a question she would text me. What had happened that she needed to speak to me in person? Well, it turns out she had gotten a call about another kid, a little girl who had endured more traumatic experiences in her young life than anyone should have to endure, ever. Her story was overwhelming, but when I asked her name? It was the same as mine. And I didn’t want to agree, I didn’t want us to say yes, but how could I deny that this was a God thing, that she was meant to come to us? I was almost crying in A&P, but we ended up agreeing to take her.
A lot of things about that placement were less than ideal. This kid had extended family who loved her and wanted to adopt her, but that was going to take time, two to six months we were told. She finally got to move in with her new family over a year later. Then there were behavioral issues. Major ones. And finally, it was just a lot of work. You wouldn’t think adding one kid to a household full of adults could change things so much, but it did. Ultimately, though, through the stress, and the exhaustion, and my selfish desires, we pulled together as a family, and gave this kid a home. Not a perfect home, but a safe one, where she could grow and play and learn.
Fast forward to August of this year. We’re trying to get custody of my adopted sister’s little brother, and he is finally getting to come for a visit. (Thanks, COVID.) He’d been with a foster family for about six months, and we’d been nervous. Who were these people? DSS said that they were amazing, but my DSS amazing and our amazing are two very different things.
But when I finally met my future nephew? It was so obvious that he had been loved. Even now, if he’s crying and you start to sing, “Jesus Loves Me,” he stops as if you flipped a switch. He loves men, (which I find a little offensive,) but it shows how much his foster dad had paid attention to him. He was, and is, just the happiest baby. I can’t imagine having to give him up. I can’t imagine how hard that was. But his foster family found the courage to face the hard, and I am eternally grateful. I know they weren’t perfect, because no one is perfect, but they made an incredible difference in this child’s life. And it’s got me thinking about that time three years ago, and yeah I’m not sure I’d want to do it again, but I know we made a difference. And if they can do it, if we could do it, if I could do it, then so can you.
Not everyone is called to foster or adopt, but everyone is called to love, imperfectly, yet courageously. Who do you need to love today?