As many of you now know, we have been on a long journey to have a family. That journey took another step forward about six weeks ago when we got a call from DCF that we had been picked to bring home a baby boy who was only a week old. Since then life has been all sorts of things.
Right now little dude is very much foster care. He has visitation with both birth parents and we have met both of them. Some things are going well and some things are really terrifying and frustrating. We can't share most details online because little dude is not legally our child and his parents have privacy rights. (We can't post his name or pictures) We can say that he is a great baby who is eating and sleeping like a champ, has a full head of hair and is starting to smile, which is the best. We want to adopt him, but we won't know if that will be possible for a while. Maybe a year, maybe more. We don't quite know yet how this is affecting our marriage...mostly because a newborn doesn't let you have a whole lot of alone time :) So we thought we'd just share from each of us a brief summary of how we're doing and what we're each feeling.
All throughout this process I have been running as a way to deal with my stress and frustration. This white girl slaps on some New Balance shoes, blares angry rap music and pounds the pavement. I've been running since high school and frankly I'm not that good. I don't run that fast or long, I just kind of run. But it clears my head and I really love it.
Bringing little guy home has been joyful, but hard. It hurts knowing we don't have any control over this situation and that he could be plucked right back out of our arms. I thought it would feel better getting to this point, but it doesn't. It's actually harder. As I was running the other day this Bible verse came to mind:
Hebrews 12:1 NIV "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
God was smart when He describes life like a race. When you are running you have many flat areas and many hills to go up and down. The key to making it to the end of a run is pace and breath. You control your lungs and you set an even pace. The thing is, hills are hard. You push yourself to make it to the top of a hill. When you get there and start to go down the other side it feels like it's time to lengthen your stride and take huge gulps of air. But if you do this you will tire out. Gravity is pulling you down the hill and if you allow your pace to quicken and breath to change you will actually expend more energy and have a harder time re-setting your pace at the bottom. The next hill will be harder to climb.
That's what I feel like now. Bringing little dude home was the top of a long, difficult hill that took a lot of energy and faith to run up. But now I must keep my pace even and breath steady....because going down the hill and running onward through whatever will come is going to be even harder. I can't control my life, I can just run the race that God has set before me. He didn't promise it would all be flat ground. He didn't promise my heart would never be broken. But He did promise that He would run with me and that He would take care of me. As I work on being a good foster mom, I'm taking moments to allow my fear of losing little dude to be real and re-steady my breath. To breathe in the truth that I can trust my Lord. God loves little dude and He loves me. I don't know what is going to happen, so I'm just going to breathe right now and keep as steady of a pace as I can manage. And see what happens.
My emotions mirror much of what Melissa shared above. The last six weeks have been awesome and difficult, exciting and terrifying all mixed together. Little dude is so much fun, and a really good baby so we could not be more blessed with him. But it has been very difficult knowing he leave us to be with a relative or back with the birth parents. Every time my cell phone rings and it's a local call, my heart pauses. The same thing happens any time my iPhone chimes indicating a new email in our inbox. There have been two main things that have been helping curb my anxiety.
First, as we were talking with some friends recently, Melissa observed that the idea of control over our lives is a complete delusion and that really struck a chord with me. Yes, our little dude could be taken away from us any moment but isn't it the same with everything else in our lives? We can lose jobs, the stock market can crash, cancer can hit us out of nowhere, or houses can be hit by tornados...just to name a few things. This lack of control is very evident in the book of Job! Yet one of my favorite verses in Job is 1:21: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." God is teaching me how to have that kind of an attitude. Everything I have today is a blessing and I should enjoy it and prioritize it because it might not be here tomorrow.
The second thing I am sooo thankful for has been all the reminders that God is good. He has used the radio multiple times to speak to Melissa and I, oddly enough. We get in the car and the radio just happens to be on an advertisement or song that uses little dude's name, nickname or be all about adoption. We've had so many people sending us notes that they are praying for us. This weekend, I was in Louisville, KY for a conference and ended up in three separate conversations with people who were doing foster care, two of which want to adopt. I don't think I have ever really meet someone doing foster care in the first 28 years of my life...now I find three in one weekend.
God really is good despite the situations we find ourselves in. His goodness is not based on our external surroundings which can change at a moment's notice. If you find yourself in the midst of difficult things - fertility, marriage issues, family struggles, etc. we want to remind you to just takes things one day at a time and find the things you can be thankful for in each moment. Don't waste your time trying to control outcomes, but trust in God that He is in control and knows what's best for you and your family. And ask Him for encouragement to make it through and then keep a watchful eye because God will come through for you and send you exactly what you need.
As always we covet and treasure prayers. We'd love to know that people are praying for us to be able to adopt little dude. Thank you so much!!
Jake and Melissa