Monday, April 11, 2016

Moving Forward

I have so many saved blog posts that I'll never publish. I have written in my head, but I can't even explain things in person. Life is messy, and good things are happening, but the hard things still hurt. I'm going to try to push through this post, and we'll just see how much sense it makes in the end, but I feel like I haven't kept you all up to date very well lately so I'm going to give this my best try.

As I mentioned in my Good Friday post, this year has been heavy, and sometimes the bad things are weighty. There's a lot of really great stuff going on in our lives right now, and I am so very thankful. I never want to come off as disinterested in my life or less than excited about the great gifts God gives to my family. There are things I really love about our life.

...Like finding out on vacation that we're having a baby GIRL!

I'm also going for honesty, though, so I'm going to go ahead and say that sometimes it's difficult to grasp the way the very good and very hard come wound together in our lives. I may have a tendency to look at all of the big things as parts of the long list of heavy-stuff-I'm-wrestling-through. I'm excited for the good things, but also overwhelmed by the competing grief and excitement in my head. I have Pinterest boards looking forward to how I'll decorate Big Bro's new room and the new nursery when we move into our first house; and I have vivid memories of Baby S screaming and struggling to free himself so he can come with me as I walk away from him each time we say goodbye. I have beautiful memories of our ultrasound and learning that our new baby will be a little girl; and favorite songs that are wonderfully upbeat and make me cry every time because I used to dance with Baby S to those songs. I go through little baby things for our new little person and I struggle to grasp the reality that I can keep clothes for her that are in sizes she won't see for a year or more, because the last three little people I mothered left with clothes they hadn't yet grown into and stocking up for the years ahead would have been unwise. I have dreams about falling in love with new foster boys or girls and worries about moving forward, limiting my resources, and then finding out that my Baby S needs to come back and needs all of my time and attention that is getting spread thinner and thinner.

And there's still anger, too. There's anger at a system that says one thing and does another. There's frustration - because why make rules at all if the breaking of the rules changes nothing? I'm starting to daydream (and night dream) about the next time we can do foster care, and at the same time, struggling with a lack of trust in this system.

There is joy. We are making the most of the freedom that comes with having only one child, and that child being a fairly independent four-year-old who can do a lot of cool family activities. We went away for a long weekend for a family vacation at an indoor waterpark, and we had so much fun together. I'm trying not to let this waiting time - waiting for Baby S, waiting for our new baby, waiting for our new house without knowing when we can move in - take away the joys of this life, this home, this little beautiful family within my walls right now.

Grief is still tricky. In moments where I've successfully immersed myself in the beauty of now, a child the age of our Baby S can send me rocking backward and struggling to stay present for Big Bro. Songs, places, even foods can bring back such strong and sudden memories, and inconsistently enough that I can't predict when it will happen. Life with Baby S is just far enough away that I sometimes think I've gotten control over these moments, but then there they are again; and Baby S's scream as he sees me walk away from him again makes reconciling his current reality much harder.

God is still good, though. The rock I stand on is this: That God can use even the messiest situations for his good and his glory. He might plan to use Baby S's hard life to build a relationship with my beautiful boy. I know I've written it before; just be thankful you don't have to read it as often as I have to think it, because you'd be totally sick of it by now. And there's this, too: My other little precious babies, both big boys who are older than 2 now, do not become less known to God even as they feel more and more distant from me. I won't get a call if either of those babies come back into care; but God is ever present for them although I can't be.

So there's that. We're moving forward one baby step at a time, laughing and crying at the unpredictability of life, totally in awe that NOTHING is unpredictable to God and finding great hope and comfort in that fact.

Thank you, as always, for the love and support and prayers. We really and truly could not keep moving forward in this journey without the amazing community God has gifted us with. You guys are incredible. We have felt so much support through our goodbyes, and now as we prepare simultaneously for our new hello, the possibility of Baby S returning someday, and our desire to continue fostering after our baby girl arrives, we are so excited and thankful to see how God works through this community to meet the physical needs of growing our family. A crib, a changing table, bags of baby girl clothes, a rock 'n play; there's a whole list of gifts that have come in already, and one of my strongest love languages is gifts, so believe me when I say that each time I see these items and dream about using them with baby girl and future foster children, I feel your love and support all over again! Thank you for filling my home with love and encouragement that actively fight back on days of disappointment, discouragement, and physical weakness (this baby girl is making sure we know she's here, guys!).

You guys are the best.