Friday, June 27, 2014

I want proof!

Yesterday we had another worker visit us in conjunction with the foster baby. They talked with each family member, and asked normal questions about the child's growth and development. 

They also continue to ask, at each visit: "Would you adopt if you could?"  

We've made it perfectly clear that we'd be very happy to adopt the child, if possible

Why can't we just leave it at that? 

We all cherish this child and act like they are part of the family. I think it just bothers the stuffings out of me that they are insinuating that this child will be "ours", when there are living relatives around, and that adoption is clearly not happening anytime in the near future.

I am really trying not to get my hopes up about adoption in this case because the birth family is such a wildcard... and I know that the whole legal process can take a long, long time. It just bothers me that they keep dangling the possibility of adoption when no permanency plan has been established yet.

I am preparing myself, my heart, and the minds of my other children for a long wait, and I'm trying my best to be patient in this situation.  But when they throw around words like adoption, and continue to bring up concepts such as permanency planning, terminating parental rights, etc.... It kind of bothers me. You know why? It bothers me because there is no certainty. I think that's the heart of it. I want proof! I don't want a carrot dangling in front of us. I want something concrete. Something that says this little one can stay with us. Forever, if possible. (My girls vote for "forever" too.) I don't want to voice the possibility of adoption if it will end in disruption or failure, especially if the biological family reunifies.

But that's just the thing.... Being a foster parent is anything BUT certain or concrete or permanent. I can't get answers, because really, at this point there are none. So again, God must teach me to be patient and wait. Why did I sign up for this again?! Oh, right, to help children.... so that's what I'm doing. Trying to live life in the moments, one day, one hour at time, and cherish every single one of them.

Thanks for listening to my little rant.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

spiritually stagnant

"I'm tired, I'm worn, my heart is heavy..."
Do you know that song by Tenth Avenue North?
Do you ever feel like this too?

Yesterday I realized what it is that's lacking at the church we currently attend: No one hangs out after church. Oh, once in a while there's a Sunday lunch or potluck dinner, a few times a year. But for the most part socialization only happens during holidays or church-sanctioned functions. People don't go out of their way to spend time together. For instance, after the service this morning, I let the kids run around on the playground for about 20 minutes before we went home for lunch. Who stopped to say hi? Who came over to play with us? Nobody.

And when someone says, "Hi, how are you?", how do I know they really mean it?
Do they really care how I'm doing, or is that just a nice greeting?

Also, not that I need to have friends -just- like me, but.... everyone works. There's nothing wrong with working and getting paid, don't get me wrong, but the families at church are all two-income households. No others SAHM's to be found. It's really hard to spend time together when you have completely different schedules. Mike finds it difficult to relate to others for similar reasons - who else has his schedule?! It's hard to relate to each other when you only see each other for an hour or two a week.

It's been MONTHS since I've been able to sit through a sermon without interruptions, and it's been more than 6 weeks since someone's updated the church website and posted the audio of the sermon online. How in the world am I supposed to catch-up!?

I want to encourage and minister to others, but the only place I see to do that, with the time I have and the kids that have to come with me, is.... the church nursery. Which means I miss yet another chance to listen to a sermon and socialize with others. I still serve there once every 4-6 weeks, but I don't particularly enjoy it anymore.

I'm burned-out and spiritually dry.
There are no Bible studies or small groups meeting over the summer.
This means less opportunities for me to find spiritually encouraging friends.

I remember another time I felt like this. I was seventeen. I was giving and giving and giving my time and talents to others, and not getting anything in return. My youth group leader said I had 2 options: keep going, or step back and take a break.

I'm not ready to step back. I feel like I haven't even really started doing anything yet!
I don't want to give up on this church entirely. No church is perfect.
I guess that means I need to dig deeper - I'm just not sure what that looks like at this point in my life. Pray more? Bible study more? Outreach more?

Am I missing something?

You know what? I must be. I can't hear what God is trying to tell me over the noise of our everyday life and the restlessness in my heart. I wish I could find a women's retreat, or even a few hours of peace and quiet to figure this out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

opportunity knocking?

Last week, I was invited to participate in a mission trip that is happening later this summer.
An in-country mission trip? Low travel costs? Helping others in a poor rural community, physically, emotionally, and spiritually? I immediately wanted to jump at the chance.

I talked it over with Mike, and his reaction was... "No way. Bad idea. Don't go."

I went to a meeting a few days ago, to get more info about details, logistics and travel plans.
I would be allowed to bring the kids! Other parents were bringing their children. There were plenty of beds. We'd cook meals together. We'd work on different projects in teams. It sounded great!

Then I came home, and thought about it some more. How could I meaningfully help others when I already had four kids to drag around with me all day? How would I be able to assist in projects if I was constantly feeding and changing a baby, and hiking with preschoolers back and forth to the bathroom? Ok, so it would be kind of challenging. But if there's a will... there's a way. Right?

Mike still said "No. I don't want you to go."
But this time he qualified it.

He told me that I am needed more at home right now, during this season of our lives with young kids. He thinks the preschoolers are too young to stay overnight with friends for 3-5 days while he works the night shift and their mommy is away in another state. He thinks it would be too stressful for me to balance the typical everyday mom-duties and drag all of them along with me on a week-long missions adventure trip in the middle of the mountains. And he isn't willing to let them stay home without me. In his line of thinking, if there are already dozens of others signed up for the missions trip, why do I need to bend over backwards to include myself? I almost think he found it selfish of me, that I would be willing to "neglect" things at home to go on a missions trip elsewhere. He said that taking care of a foster baby is a full-time job in itself (true). "Isn't THAT mission work? Aren't you doing missions every day?"

While I could have argued, I decided to be a good wife and respect his wishes.
Maybe he is right on some points.  :)

So, I won't be going on a missions trip this summer, even though I think it's a really great opportunity.
But I will continue to look for ways to serve, whether they are in my own home, down the road, in the next town, or donating gifts, money and resources to ministries in other places/countries.

There are so many ways to help others...  Are you?