This year began a little differently than we anticipated.
We are only approved for one foster child. We are not on the call list. We had no plan to raise our kid count from six to seven.
Then out of the blue we got a phone call. We were not at all prepared for what we would hear. One of the children in our family had a new baby brother.
It felt like a completely unplanned, unexpected pregnancy....and then being told that the baby would arrive in two hours.
Our minds raced through all the reasons it felt impossible.
Our house renovations are crawling along, although we are making headway and enjoying some added space, the mess and work is far from over.
We have a trip to Belize planned and paid for next month.
We have a house full of excessive noise, boisterous energy, big personalities and various special needs.
We have a packed schedule filled with appointments and obligations.
I don't get much sleep. Annie has been horrible sleeper and at 20 months has only slept through the night a couple times. I have a couple other early birds and restless sleepers as well.
After many tears, quite a lot of arguing, panicked calls to friends and our pastor (who were wonderful enough to not only tolerate our crazy, but remind us of truth in the midst of it)....we said "no, not now. We had to decide within a couple hours and it just wasn't enough time to come to any sort of wise, prayerful, and unified decision.
From what we understood he would be sent to an emergency foster home (since he had to be discharged from the hospital that same day) and then we would wait another week until the case worker was back from holidays and we could get more information. That would buy us some time to get our ducks in a row....or get off the hook, depending on perspective.
This week we called and found out that little guy had been readmitted to hospital the day after he was discharged and there was no other foster family. He has been a sick little guy for the past week. After some chatting with the case worker, gaining as much information as we could, and going to visit this precious little boy....... we said "yes".
It's weak yes and a timid yes.
It's a trembling and unsure yes.
We know there are so many reasons why this is crazy, irrational, and illogical. We know it will be hard. Those things have swirled through my brain on repeat for a week now.
Even in those doubts I am reminded of truth. The Gospel that has been pressed so far down into my self preserving heart starts to chip away at the fear.
As we prayed and reviewed our assets and limitations one huge factor is that we are equipped with an amazing church family. Not only are we so well spiritually fed and cared for by our leadership, we are served and loved by our gospel community. We know we will not walk this road alone. We have support, help, encouragement and even people bold and loving enough to helps us with our own sin and struggles.
It's crazy to see how Jesus takes a group of people who come from extremely different backgrounds, a wide variety of ethnicities and cultures, make up every different demographic, who otherwise would have nothing in common and probably wouldn't even know each other, and makes them family. He forms them into authentic grace saturated community. Family that is committed to do life together ...through all the messy stuff of life and relationships. Knowing we are not lone rangers doing this crazy life by ourselves makes all the difference.
As I sent out panicked texts to a friend immediately after getting the phone call, I was met with instant offers to help and even an offer to care for the baby while we go to Belize. Within minutes the one biggest barrier I could think of at that moment was relieved and removed.
Today I am stuck at home, two hours away from the hospital where baby is still residing, and two of my friends have spent time at the hospital holding this tiny boy.
After two weeks of laying alone in a hospital bed, he is going to be loved with the full force of a community that knows what it is to be so generously loved by a merciful God. Even on the days when I can't be there, I know someone will go and take my place. I'm honestly just sitting back watching God's grace unfold and wrap around all of us.
This little boy who's circumstances are so tragic, who is viewed by society as a social problem, who was born with so many strikes against him already... is now being treated like a Tiny Prince.
Because that's the way the upside down Kingdom of God works. Because that's what Jesus' people do.
I'm praying that God will take our whispered yes and turn it into a thunderous testimony of God's redemptive mercy and goodness. He writes good stories....and it will be our privilege to enter into this one.
Soli Deo Gloria,