And then the phone rang. Just two days ago. It was nap time, the kids had gone to sleep and I had just let the appliance man in to the kitchen to work on the oven, when the phone rang. It was a lady at the cabinet who we have remained in random contact with throughout our training and time as foster parents, and she had a placement. A three year old girl. Were we interested. I got what little information she had to share, told her I'd talk with Scott and call her back with our answer. We've done this so many times, it's pretty clear after the first few words between us if one or both of us is leaning toward saying 'no'. It's equally obvious when we both know that we think we should say 'yes', and that was the case on Wednesday. We had been saying, as we were considering closing, that about the only thing we could possibly take, was one child, about three years old, preferably a girl. Funny, to me, that the call was for a three year old girl. When things happen that way, I can't help but say, out loud sometimes, "Ok God, I hear ya!"
Scott went to the cabinet that evening to pick her up, belongings in a garbage bag, and brought her home. It took about 30 seconds after her feet hit the floor for the boys to yell, "wanna come see our toys?" and off they all went....all five...up the stairs, from room to room they ran, squealing, chasing, playing, wearing a path up and down the stairs and around the house! This went on for about an hour until it was time to eat..... the little things that really don't matter, but you notice.... our kids plates are in groups of four. I'm just a teency, tiny bit OCD, so mixing up the groupings on our plates makes me a little tense. *Note to self: this actually makes you a little crazy and is probably one of those things you shouldn't mention in a blog on the world wide web. Also, add two plates to the grocery list so we can have groupings of five and avoid these feelings of 'crazy'!*
After dinner, in keeping with routine, we moved to bath, story, then bed time. This is when the rubber hits the road, so to speak. It's not so bad to come to a house that has other kids, lots of toys and chicken nuggets, but to wind down and realize you're not going home....that this big, strange place is going to get dark and you have to go to sleep. Even for a three year old, maybe especially for a three year old....I can only imagine how hard it would be. When I think of my kids being in a strange place, alone, unfamiliar....it almost makes me sick to think how scared they would be.
It was an evening full of big change for everyone and it took a small toll on Elijah, our three year old, who cried, either in sympathy, exhaustion, or both. But all the same, needed a little extra reassurance that night....it just so happened to coincide with (we'll call her M for now) M's incredible bedtime fit/meltdown. Some of you can imagine, or have experienced this, but I was a little surprised....the sound of one three year old losing it at top volume is one thing, but two three year olds losing it....OH MY. And it hit me, what have we done?! Can we handle this? Are we nuts?! Is this going to wreck our children? Is this going to wreck us? My heart was racing, blood pressure through the roof, tears welling in my eyes and a lump in my throat making it hard to breathe. I laid down with Elijah, and Scott with M, and within 20 minutes both were asleep.
When we got to our bedroom, it took just a glance at each other to know that we were both feeling and thinking the same thing. In my husbands wisdom, he said, lets not talk about it now. Let's hope we get some sleep and talk about it tomorrow. Well, folks, God always provides new mercy in the morning....everyone slept through the night! First thing Scott said when he woke me for coffee... "Well, who saw that coming?!" We decided over coffee that, especially since we were snowed in and couldn't do anything different if we wanted to, that we would make the most of our time with her for the next few days, until we knew a little more detail about the case plan and how permanent (or not) this looked to be. Through the course of that first 30 hours with her, our children amazed us. Timothy, our 6 year old, made sure she had everything she needed....her blanket, teddy, socks, extra chips at lunch. Mason, 5 years old, would pat her and tell her things would be ok, then insight a quick "tag, you can't get me", that worked to ease her tension, and Elijah, although angry that she took a toy from him, brought the toy back to her when she began to cry after I made her give it back. They have asked if she can stay, and opened their lives to her. It would seem, if they are able to, then surely we can do the same. We might not handle it perfect at all times and there will be moments we are physically and emotionally wrecked. We will be loud, frazzled, tired and most likely broke, but we will give a little girl a home, brothers, a sister, toys, a safe and warm bed, nutrition, medical care she's badly in need of, church, scads of extended family and friends who are nuts over our kids, and when we are at our end, we'll hold on to one truth, HE always provides new mercy in the morning.