I immediately started to cry when I realized what she was making. I cried because of her sweet heart and her awareness that there were children who needed homes. I cried because she cared for them. She asked me why I was crying and I told her it was a happy cry because it was so sweet of her to draw a house. She said, "Mama. It's not just a house. It's our home. Because we can help."
She knows the plight of orphans. She knows not every child has a home like she does, and when it came time to pray for them, she didn't pray that God would find them a home. She simply wrote, in the only way she knew how, "Here's mine."
Oh that I would be as intentional and willing in my prayers. That I would see a need and fulfill it myself. God, help me to have a heart like hers.
Our decision to foster and adopt came months ago, and since that time, we have talked with Lyla about what that means. We have prayed with her for children that need homes, and from the beginning of our conversations, she has been more than willing to open our home to provide love and safety for a child in need. The concept was completely foreign to her but she had compassion for these children as soon as she learned of their existence.
Admittedly, over the past week, my focus had shifted. I have always had a heart for adoption. I have always felt a pull toward it. But now it's here. Now it's happening. We have a case worker. Our application is finished. We are attending trainings, and I am beginning to panic.Self doubt is welling up inside me. Can I even handle a three kids under four (our max age range)- especially one dealing with trauma? Is my marriage strong enough? Are my children going to suffer? Will I be able to leave the house with three children by myself? Am I going to be completely stressed out and overwhelmed all of the time? Will I be equipped to mother them with the love and patience they deserve and so desperately need?
As I looked at the house my daughter had drawn, I was drawn back in. As I prayed intentionally over the orphans and children in foster care, I was overwhelmed with the realization that the biggest worries I have for myself pale in comparison to the trauma and heartbreak those little hearts are dealing with...as CHILDREN. They are being ripped from their homes and all that they know. How could I let my worry about whether or not I am going to feel overwhelmed overshadow their most basic human needs of love, shelter, and safety? How many prayers have I prayed asking God to wave a magic wand without any additional action on my part?
Adoption is wonderful. Foster families are beautiful. But they are born from incredibly broken circumstances. There is no world that exists where a child is adopted or fostered without that same child being first taken from the only mother they have ever known. There is no beautiful blended family without a broken family before it. There is no mother of adoption without a mother of loss, and for every day that we are given the privilege to love a child, there is a mother missing her. My self doubt and stress are nothing in comparison to the pain and grief of families torn apart.
We are excited (READ: terrified) to be starting our journey toward adoption and opening our hearts and home to foster. We will be stretched. We will be insufficient. We will be overwhelmed. We won't be perfect. But we. Will. Love.
I will mother them with the same ferocity that I mother Lyla and Karrick. I will love them unapologetically without fear of grief or heartbreak. I will ask for grace, and I will give it. I will take care of their basic needs. I will pray for them. I will fail, but when I do, I will find strength in knowing that they do not require perfection from me because they are showered with the perfect love of their Heavenly Father. And every child in our care will know that no matter what roof they are under, they are eternally and perfectly loved by Him.
I'm still afraid. I still have self doubt. I still need your prayers for our family as we begin this journey. But I am ready. We are called, and we will answer. Because if not us, then who?
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8