The Choice to Love
This blog is certainly NOT an easy one for me to write… but, I feel it is necessary & feel many need to hear it. We never want to paint the picture that when God calls you to do something, as long as you listen and obey, it will be easy. Actually, we have many times found the opposite to be true. When we obey God’s calling, we find ourselves in a completely vulnerable place, completely broken & on our knees because we know God is the ONLY source of hope.
Part of our vision for the “One More One Less Project” is to encourage others to prayerfully consider becoming foster parents or becoming a forever family for a child who needs a permanent home. However, we don’t want to tell you all the good without including some of the hard. While other people’s stories may be very different than ours this blog is simply part of our story.
I’ll never forget welcoming our 1st foster child into our home. He was perfect in every way and we loved him so much right away! He was a GREAT baby, slept through the night at 1 month old (I know, be jealous), was super happy all the time and just made our 1st fostering experience a DREAM! However, about 3-4 months in, I do remember feeling a “disconnect”. He saw his parents for the 1st few months of his life once per week & you wouldn’t think a baby would know…. but they know their mama. And it wasn’t me! I do type this being sensitive to the fact that my husband has a totally different story in the sense that he didn’t feel that same “disconnect” from our 1st foster child as I did. As a mother though, I sensed something about our connection was… OFF. I really struggled for a while and started to question whether or not this precious baby boy would love me like HIS mama, if adoption did end up being the plan. Thankfully, God’s plan in this situation was adoption. He is now 3 years old and is a BIG bundle of JOY! He calls me mama and calls my husband Daddy and we KNOW that he loves us as his parents! And we certainly love him as our son! We love him more than we could ever explain in a blog!
Fast forward to now… and we are raising a 22 month old foster son and a 5 year old foster daughter. They have both been in our home now for close to a year and a half. I wish, more than anything, I could say that our road with these two have been GREAT and smooth. But like I said above, I don’t want to paint a false picture! Both of these 2 precious kids see their parents on a weekly basis. Both of these 2 precious kids are confused and lack the understanding of what a true mother or father is. Both of these 2 precious kids struggle to accept the love we give because of our broken world and because of sin. My heart aches when my 20 month old pushes me away from him when I try to show him affection. My heart aches when my 5 year old asks me if she can call her mom on the phone or asks me when she will be able to live with her real mom again. My heart aches when kids have SO much emotion built up inside due to the tragic things they have been through in their short life that the confusion and those feelings turn to anger. My heart aches more than anything that some kids hang onto this trauma for years and don’t know how to deal with it. As much as I want to embrace them both and desire more than anything for them to see ME as mom (since both of their cases are moving towards adoption)…... right now they don’t! And, in no way, is that their fault! Their minds simply don’t even understand what a mom & a dad's love looks like. Because they see two different versions right now! It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. It’s confusing for them and for me to know what to do or say in certain situations.
I totally get what we signed up for. I get the fact that reunification is the plan, the goal, the future we are working for with these kids. I also get the fact that when reunification doesn’t happen, adoption is the next step. However, I would be lying to you if I said that loving these kids is simple, easy… always felt. And that’s hard for me to type but it’s the truth. It’s hard, especially when the feelings are not reciprocated. It’s so easy to love a precious little newborn baby you pick up from the hospital. It’s a different story when it’s a 5 year old little girl who wants & asks about her real mom often,or a 22 month old little boy who pushes your affection away, or a 16 year old teenager!
I have been called to share my story with others in hopes that it will help them on their journey. I am called to speak the truth in love. This is the truth. Love is NOT a feeling. It is truly a commitment. In a marriage but also in life. I don’t always FEEL like loving my husband but I made a commitment to him almost 11 years ago so whether or not I FEEL like loving him, I am going to chose to do it anyway for the rest of my life. I take commitment seriously! We all should! As Easter is approaching and as we reflect on what Jesus did for US on the cross, I can’t help but be reminded each year how God CHOSE to love me! He didn’t have to… but he chose to! He chose to be NOTHING so I could be SOMETHING! He chose to remove himself from the throne and DIE for me! Because of that, I desire to DIE to MYSELF, MY comforts, MY desires, MY urge to push away when I should pull close!
Adoption may look pretty and magical to some people…. But it’s rough! It’s heartbreaking! It’s confusing! But if you choose to take these kids in, you are also choosing to NOT give up on them! You are choosing to LOVE them even when it’s tough to do so!
God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is long suffering and kind. That is bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Matthew 5:44-45 says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” John 13:34 says that we are to love one another. Just as God has loved you, you are also to love one another. 1 John 4:19 says that WE love because HE FIRST loved us.
I could go on and on about scripture that demands us to LOVE. Not simply when it’s easy. Not simply when the feelings are mutual. Not simply when these kids decide that they now know what it means to have a mom or a dad. No. I choose to love them RIGHT where they are! I have a choice to love with a Godly love! I have a choice to show these kids not just what a mom’s love looks like but what God’s love looks like. And that’s WAY more important than my desire for these kids to see me as their mom! What an honor I have to walk with them through this life, love them, encourage them and disciple them! So no…. The road of fostering and adoption is very hard. You may hear a lot of people who have fostered and/or adopted say “it’s worth it.” And it is! But to me, it’s worth it simply because we get the opportunity to be used by an Almighty God in the lives of children!
I will keep making the choice over and over and over again to love them anyway…. Will you do the same?
*Note: We totally understand that there are circumstances that are out of control, and call for a child to be moved into a different situation. We hope you can read this with a mindset of us simply encouraging people to love these kids like Jesus would. Jesus’s love was radical, different, crazy, abnormal… our love for these kids should be the same!