A Short Stay

Well, sweet girl (whom we called M2, for the sake of privacy) was only with us for 10 days. It's been hard for me to find my words about this, or even figure out my emotions, for that matter. I know it's obvious that bringing in a fifth child, a three year old at that, into a home totaling the number at 5 kids between the ages of 2-6, would be hard. I know others understand why this was a very difficult placement and that no one would 'blame' me for it not working out. But for me, in the quiet moments when I only have my opinions and thoughts on the matter swirling around my head, I think, or at least, I wish, I could have done a better job.

She was such a sweet girl who had obviously come from very little, if any, structure or attention. She was starved for it, and in a home already full of littles who need lots, it was a hard mix for us all. I would say it was hardest on each of them for their own reasons. For M2 because she so desperately needed both attention and structure she had so lacked, in amounts I was unable to provide. She was forced to learn her way in a strange family at such a young age. For my daughter because she's just two, cutting molars and she's the baby. For Elijah because he's also three. In and of itself, that makes life tough, let alone dropping another three year old in the middle of your world and being expected to share everything from your toys, your drink cups, your brothers, your couch space, dinner chair AND your Mommy....that's asking a lot of a little man. For Mason and Timothy, simply because it was another little person to take things, throw fits, fill their space, need attention, take attention....    I've come to the realization that having a fifth baby, or if this placement had been an infant, would have been a very, very different dynamic than it was bringing in a three year old. While this may seem obvious, it was a lesson learned for me.

So, something we've never done before, we had to call our social worker and explain that it wasn't working out. In her wonderfully, supportive way, she said every family has to find their limit. For some it's only one child, but when we know we've reached it, it's ok to say so. Our priority has always been what's best for our kids, as it should be, and this was not best for anyone. We found out the hard way that four is our limit.  She went to work finding another home for M2. My heart ached, tears seeped all day from my eyes, my boys showed compassion well beyond their years, even though they had no idea why I was crying. They just knew Mommy was hurting and they did what they could to make the tears stop. I knew this was the right thing for them, but I hoped it was also right for her.

Our worker called back shortly with a family who would take her. They are in the process of adopting twin 9 year old girls, are retired and had just recently had a young foster child be returned to the parents and they were crushed by that loss. They had been praying for another young child to come fill this place in their home and their lives. The new foster mom called me within the hour.

Talking about it and knowing it's the right thing to do is one thing....actually packing her belongings and emptying her from the room we had made for her, is another. I hated that we were now part of her lack of stability, but I hoped with all my heart this would be best for her and that we were making the right decision. I got her things bagged up...not in a garbage bag...and let the new foster mom know we were on our way to meet her. She asked if we would like to bring her to their house so we might see where she'll be living, which we accepted, hoping this would help her feel more comfortable as well as ease our minds. It still seems so strange to say, but after only 10 days, a little girl can become part of your heart.

Within seconds we could see that this would be a fine fit for M2, and for this family. She would have plenty of attention from the older girls and be loved and cared for by her new foster parents. Sometimes it's very clear what God wants from us, sometimes not so much, and occasionally I'm not sure we don't think we know what He has in mind, but are later gifted with hindsight. I wonder now, if we were just meant to give her a safe and loving home for those 10 days while God prepared this new and more permanent place for her to be. Her next few years will be tumultuous at best with court, visits and all things that go along with foster care, but I hope and pray this family will be the solid ground for her during this time.

As for me, I think the realization that I couldn't help her, at least, not in the way we set out to do with every placement, was difficult to admit. I'm realizing now that I have four amazing blessings that were unimaginable to me just 6 years ago. They are my joy, my frustration, my gift, my job, my answered prayer, my refiners fire.... everything I could have ever wanted and more than I ever could have imagined needing. We will close our home after our sweet SoSo is adopted, fully content, eternally thankful, and confident that God called us to this moment so He could knit our family together, and will move forward knowing we answered His call to the very best of our ability. I will try not to mourn the thousands of kids we cannot give a home, but will pray for them, and hope maybe, even if it's a small maybe, our story will encourage someone to say 'yes' to the possibilities of being a foster home.