Walking a Hard Road

We’ve got a meeting at the end of this week to discuss the reunification of our foster daughter with her birth family. 

There are a lot of emotions going on right now. On the one hand, this morning as we drove to school, I prayed for each of our family members and for our foster daughter’s family as well. Which we have been doing for two years. And I had the thought, Why are you surprised that prayers are being answered? Except, if I’m being honest, those prayers were more for the benefit of my foster daughter than because I had any faith. Anger and unforgiveness has kind of made me only able to make a blanket prayer, God be with them. But at the same time, I’m proud of her birth family. It’s been a long hard road and they’ve worked hard to overcome some really big obstacles. 

When I’m dealing with some big tantrums and crazy behavior, I find myself thinking, Well, at least this will no longer be my responsibility. But then sweet moments happen and I think, what is our family going to look like without this child smack in the middle always stirring things up? And I worry about my other kids’ grief that they will have to process. 

And I wonder, how on earth are we going to come up with a smooth transition that will produce the least amount of trauma? How much assistance do I offer to make this easier for my daughter? How much assistance will hinder her bonding back with her family? How do I make sure she knows, beyond all doubt, that I will always love her and I am always going to be her mom, and I’ll always be here for her if she needs me? How do I step back from primary caregiver to friend of the family? 

I don’t know. 

I have no regrets. But I hate this. 

I’m sitting here in my living room while I write this and I looked out the window and saw a bunch of birds swooping through the early morning gray sky. This verse came to mind. 

Matthew 10:29-31  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

This is what I have to cling to in faith. That Jesus loves my foster daughter even more than I do and he has his hand on her life. My job is to say yes to whatever love and care God needs me to offer this child, but I also have to let go when he says it’s time to let go. Though maybe not a complete release, just a loosening of my hold. 

I try to look forward into the future, and fear shows me all the things that could go wrong. But faith requires me to stay in the moment. Right now what am I required to do? I’m required to give her birth family another chance. And I’m required to walk with them through this process. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I know what I have to do today. 

All prayers are appreciated as we walk this road. 

My Family Isn’t as Weird as Yours!

The other day I saw a link online to a sensationalized article about a family somewhere in Scotland who had ten boys and one girl. (The 11th child was the girl!). Since I now currently have eleven children in my home, I was curious, and clicked on the article. It says that she washes forty-nine loads of laundry a week. What! I mentally counted in my head. I only wash eight to ten loads a week. Unless we have to wash bedding. Then it could be maybe fifteen, tops. Except, my older kids do their own laundry, so I would need to add on about four more loads to that number. And I have a really big washing machine. And it probably holds about three loads worth of some small European type washing machine. So, if you add that all up, say, I do twelve loads, plus four loads, equals sixteen loads, times three, equals forty-eight loads of laundry. Hmm. 

 

The article also says she vacuums her house seven times a day. Well, now that’s just weird. Must be a clean freak. 🙂 Unless her house is all carpeted and it’s small. I could see vacuuming a lot if that were the case. I don’t vacuum seven times a day, but I probably clean my toilet that many times. Too many little boys in the house. 

 

They didn’t mention how many times she washes dishes. I use paper plates. (Not environmentally friendly, not sure what to do about that…)The other day I ran out of paper plates and wasn’t going to be able to make it to the store for a bit. So, we used the regular plates. I washed 3 large dishwasher loads a day, as compared to one large dishwasher load a day, plus handwashing all the oversized pots and pans that don’t fit. Lots of fun. 

 

They also mentioned that she went grocery shopping twice a week!! I scoffed for a minute, then thought about it. Well, yes, I do go grocery shopping twice a week, but that’s not two GIANT shopping trips. I usually do a really big grocery shopping, then halfway through the week, I go and stock up on fruit, milk, bread and whatever random thing I’ve run out of. Because when I buy an entire weeks’ worth of fruit, my kitchen tends to fill up with fruit flies. Plus, it helps keep things fresh if I go twice a week. But, my second shopping really isn’t THAT big. Maybe just two trips walking from the car to get everything in the house. 

 

The photos of the family in the article showed all the kids lined up in color-coordinated t-shirts. The mom is an exercise instructor and looks amazing despite having just given birth to her eleventh child. The children are all handsome and photogenic. Sigh. My children are beautiful, most of them are photogenic, but several of them have not mastered the art of the “real smile” and instead look sickly or constipated, because, for some reason, that’s what they think they’re supposed to do when someone points a camera at them. I have one child that has literally spent his entire life trying to mess up our family pictures. I won’t mention any names, but if you track down any family photos you’ll spot him. I think that color-coordinating is corny and refuse to participate in that particular form of child torture. Though, all my friends that do coordinate, do look very nice in their photos. 🙂  And, lastly, an exercise instructor I am not. Double sigh. 

 

In the end, I found it really funny to read this article that was trying to make having eleven kids sound like some kind of weird freak show. What? They even brought up the OctoMom. I especially found it funny that I spent the entire article comparing my family to theirs, trying to justify how my family was better. What was that all about? I went back and found another article, not so sensationalized, about the same family. They sounded like regular, interesting people. We’d probably get along pretty well if we ever met. When am I ever going to get over this comparison thing? It’s not a competition. 

 

I will keep reminding myself of this.