On January 6th I received a message. It was in our closed group of Foster parents. It said something like this. “Placement needed today for 4-year-old and 5-month-old. Both boys. Call the on-call worker if interested”.
I had just finished the MOST fun girls’ lunch after church with two of my best girlfriends. They both have huge hearts. I was SO filled after church and the opportunity to introduce these two servant leaders. I saw the message. My heart stirred. It was wild. I was also nauseous.
On the way home I called my husband and blurted out. “There are 2 boys needing placement. Ages 4 years and 5 months”. Silence. Then, “Wow, ok”. We discussed briefly and agreed we wanted to explore further. I nervously called the worker. As per usual, DSS workers are BUSY and he called me back a few minutes later.
He had VERY little information on the boys. I had a lump in my throat. I just knew. I got home. Wiggy and I prayed. We both cried. We prayed more. We knew. It was a yes. A clear yes from God.
I called him back. “Yes. We will take them”. I was terrified, excited, sweating, unsure, questioning, and trusting all at the same time. I couldn’t believe the words had come out of my mouth.
More prayer. More phone calls. It was 6:30 pm. I talked to the field worker who was removing the boys and we agreed to meet at the DSS office at 8:30 pm. I prayed more. My husband started moving furniture. He suddenly had super strength. It was surreal.
We sat our 2 boys down and explained to them that the moment we had all been preparing for was about to happen. They were excited. Two more brothers are exhilarating for a 6 and almost 3-year-old.
We frantically ate dinner. We kept praying. I was digging out baby stuff from the basement, setting up the pack and play, installing car seats and moving quickly. My palms were sweaty. Pure adrenaline.
It was finally 8:10 and time for me to leave. The entire drive I sang my favorite worship songs to keep me calm. What would I say to them? What did they look like? How would they respond to me?
I pulled into the parking lot and waited for the DSS van to arrive. As they pulled in, I held my breath. As they opened the van door the first thing I noticed was a head of white blonde hair. It was real. I smiled and stepped out of the car.
In a whirlwind, the workers shared a few details with me as and adorable little boy and precious baby looked at me. The boy told me about his favorite dinosaurs. His smile was contagious. I loved them instantly.
We got buckled into the car and talked the whole way home about how excited my boys were to meet them and dinosaurs and colors and favorite things. It felt like a dream.
As we pulled into the garage, I took a deep breath of hope as I prepared to introduce our foster babies to their temporary family. I prayed more. There were instant smiles. Fast camaraderie. Play time commenced (yes it was 9 pm on a school night, but can we agree these were special circumstances)? Finally, around 10 pm we got everyone into their beds. My husband and I stared at one another. It was real. There were 4 children asleep in our home.
I was exhausted but I slept very little. I prayed. “Lord, I trust you. Please help me keep my focus on you. I cannot do this for 2 seconds without you. I need your power flowing through me. I cannot do this in my flesh. Lord I surrender. Keep me surrendered.”
The next morning, I shared a fast version of the details with several colleagues, close friends, family members and prayer warriors. Within minutes a meal schedule had been created and there were baby supplies on my porch. Every single thing we needed God provided with little to no effort on my part. His hand was tangible. I was able to focus on the big rocks- share love, be consistent, keep moving forward. His people never cease to amaze me.
The next few days were a blur of paperwork, lots of intentional time, registrations, doctors’ appointments and more. Slowly but surely, we were all adjusting. As the days wore on, we became more comfortable- all of us. The moments of sweetness quickly combined with moments of frustration, arguing, and all things brotherly. Everyone was settling in just fine.
All things I had forgotten about caring for a baby came back (it’s like riding a bike, right?) and we began to work together stepping in stride, one foot in front of another. One baby step at a time. One moment of unconditional love followed by another. Forgiveness followed by more forgiveness.
Our family word became teamwork. We remind one another that we are all in the same team. There is a lot to work out between us, but we all love each other and are on the same team. Each person’s win is a win for each of us. Teamwork.
My little guys started looking healthier. The dark lines under their eyes fading. Their skin brightening, smiles getting bigger and words affirming that they felt safe and secure with our family becoming more frequent.
The weeks wore on and things were feeling normal. We were a family of 6! We were meeting with our social worker and things were moving along just fine.
And then we had a court date….
To be continued.