This picture is from the archives. A picture of a little boy I loved and said goodbye to. A little boy who still owns real estate in my heart.
I am relatively new at foster parenting and even more of a rookie in the world of adoption. We have cared for 6 children in our 3 years of fostering. Cece is our first attempt at adoption. We did not set out to try to adopt a baby this year. It was not in our 1 year plan...even if we had such a thing. In fact we had other dreams. Hopes that included returning to Mexico this winter.
One thing I've learned to let go of is planning what we will be doing next year, 5 years from now or beyond. I have hopes, aspirations and dreams but all of them have been laid in God's hands. I have learned that following His lead, instead of my own, is far more satisfying.
Our only plan in life is to be available. We don't want to be so caught up in creating our own little world that we miss what God is doing around us...or could be doing through us.
When we returned from Mexico last spring we opened up our home once again to foster parenting. Not knowing where that would lead us.
I have always loved the idea, the concept, of adoption. It was a "someday" dream of mine. A dream that my husband did not share. Not until more recently anyway. The possibility of adoption came as an unexpected turn in the road. A wonderful little side journey that we are beginning down.
I have no idea where this road leads. I have no idea what dangers, pits, or road blocks lie ahead. We don't know to what extent our sweet girl carries the "sins of the father" in her body. We have no idea how she was affected by the choices of her mother. Thankfully, she has been spared the trauma of developing attachment disorders, neglect and abuse in her first year. Those things are so hard to over come. However, that doesn't mean that she won't carry in her mind, spirit and body a legacy of brokenness and damage. Come to think of it, my own biological children were born into a generational legacy of sin and brokenness....a legacy we are mucking our way out of , and allowing Jesus to restore and redeem.
People wonder what we are getting ourselves into. People question our wisdom. People refer to every horror story that they have witnessed so as to be sure we are not naive. Although we are definitely walking by faith not by sight, it is not the same as being blind. This isn't a lolly-pop, gumdrop road we are skipping down. It is the road of obedience and love. Being blind is choosing not to acknowledge reality, sin, or the ugliness that corrupts even the most beautiful creation. Obedience is counting the cost, looking reality in the eye, and choosing to love and show mercy regardless.
Although heartache is something we may experience in the future with Cece ,right now our life together is defined by joy. Suffering is a road we are currently on in another completely unrelated area of our life. It seems there is a theme running through our circumstances the last couple years. Once again... none of it in our five year plan! It's funny how God prepares us for things that we don't even know we will face until we face it head on.
I could be fearful of the road ahead. I could fret, worry or loose sleep...but so far I'm not. I'm sure there will be days...or seasons where I will struggle with that. Right now I feel peace. I have peace in knowing that whatever lies ahead for us, for Cece...we are being led by the one who knows the road. We are being led by someone who has walked the road of suffering, and who died for us at the end of it. The road may lead to another heartbreaking goodbye...it might lead through the rough terrain of FAS or teenage identity crisis.
It may look to some that we are on a collision course with disaster, that we are setting ourselves up for heartache. Maybe we are. Only God knows. On the flip side I see "good Christian families" who are oblivious that their own biological children are on a collision course with ruin. Sin and twisted priorities can mess up, spoil and destroy even the most surface sanitized family. God can redeem the most hurt, wounded and broken among us, although that road is far from safe or sanitary.
I recently read this post on one of my favorite blogs. She links it to the original post. This family is real, raw and currently living through a season of unexpected grief. It is one of the best posts I've ever read relating to the call of living out the gospel by loving the "least of these"...even when it makes us vulnerable. It deals with suffering, adoption disruption, dispointment, FAS, and the unforseen pitfalls that some adoptive and foster families WILLINGLY (or sometimes naively) face.
Here is a little tidbit from that post. Just an appetizer. For the full course go to Storing up Treasures.
It is such a profound way to look at the reality of sin and suffering and living the gospel of Jesus Christ right smack dab in the middle of it all. I have read it over and over. Maybe my reading comprehension is slow..maybe it's just THAT good. Maybe, it just speaks to the fallout of sin we are mucking through right now. The same drama that I keep begging God to get us out of. Could standing in the middle of suffering, rejection, and relentless scandal really be an invitation to ache and bleed for the broken along with Christ?
"I went home that day aching with the reality of undeserved pain. I used to think that suffering came to other people – fiery preachers in strange lands, broken old sinners with ancient debts to pay - not to people who opened their hearts to the orphan. The stories swirled in my mind of families who’d dared to love the least of these and been worn down by the ceaseless, thankless reality of disability and brokenness. It was tempting to be angry at the unfairness - and yet I’d learned through my own trials that there was another way to understand the suffering.
You see, each of us had wanted to live the gospel…and God had answered our prayers.
The gospel life is an invitation to come and die. It is first of all a story of brokenness. Before the beautiful redemption there is misunderstanding, rejection, loneliness, disappointment, frustration, and betrayal leading to a painful, bloody death. There is sorrow, burial and mourning. Yet somehow, though we prayed to be like Christ, we were surprised when the pain came to us. We were surprised when the gospel story was repeated in our homes, in our hearts, in the children we thought to rescue.
When we look at scripture we see that even the apostles had to learn this truth. Beaten, arrested, thrown in prison, their dreams of greatness crushed, their reputations tarnished, their missions disrupted, they opened their mouths and sang in praise. Eventually they understood that of all people they were blessed…for they had been counted worthy to suffer with Christ.
What my friend needed to know is that her troubles are not the marks of failure, but of Christ-following. Christ’s love leads us into places that no one else wants to go, where the stench and the mess and the heartache push out the well-dressed and the well-behaved. She and her family have been invited into the mysterious blessing: to suffer with the reality of sin just as Christ suffered. To those on the outside it carries the taint of scandal - because this kind of love suffers alongside the liar, the abuser, the thief on the cross. It brings the foul-mouthed, rule-breaking, rage-riddled, impulse-driven, broken-hearted, least of these, right into our homes. This love works and tries and believes when everyone else has given up and slipped back into something more comfortable. It aches and bleeds, it is misunderstood and rejected and lonely."