We don’t want to lose them, but more than that, we don’t want THEM to lose

Original post – Jan 2016

“We plead with Him to protect ‘our’ kids…We know He can change this if He wills…”

It’s been thirteen months since we wrote that. Thirteen months of waiting, loving, treasuring, crying, laughing, waiting, praying, pleading, watching, loving, waiting…We WANTED  to continue holding these precious “littles,” and we knew the Lord could make that happen, but we didn’t know if He would.  We still don’t have His final answer, but we know he has given us 444 days.  Prior to this, the longest roller coaster we had been on lasted about a minute and a half. This is, by far, the most difficult roller coaster we have ridden. The ups and downs are indescribable, and our stomachs have plummeted so many times we’ve lost count. But it’s not over.

We were told to be prepared for their departure “next month,” but “next month” was as fleeting as the horizon. We moved toward it. We expected to reach it. Yet, it moved. Again and again, it moved, but God didn’t. He held us TIGHTLY and there’s no doubt He set us back on our feet time and time again when our strength gave out. These days have been difficult and overwhelmingly beautiful. They’ve been exhausting and invigorating. They’ve been heart-wrenching and purposeful.

In the course of this experience, we’ve lived out some of the scenarios that once existed only in our imaginations and conversations of what we thought foster care might be like. We dreamed of building positive relationships with biological parents, sharing the love of Christ with them, and either a) helping them through their difficulties to be reunited with their kids, or b) giving them the assurance of our love and appreciation for them even if they were to reach the point of losing their parental rights.

In these months, we have not only given our hearts to these beautiful children, we’ve also grown to love the family from which they have come. We’ve experienced unexpected appreciation and support from their biological parents and extended family, for our role in their lives.  We’ve built positive relationships with each of them and have committed ourselves to pray for them every day.

Sometimes foster-care is viewed with an us versus them mentality. Even the most well-intentioned onlookers will be (either secretly or not-so-secretly) rooting for the foster parents to win, or biological family will stand against foster parents viewing them as the enemy. It makes me think of the old Kenny Chesney song, “You Win, I Win, We Lose.” The song details the struggle of a man and a woman who each want to be “right,” and in their quest to win, they really lose all that matters most. If foster-parenting becomes a battle ground where either party seeks to win against the other, the sad reality is that the children are the ones who lose. The kids are the ones who pay the price. We do not know what lies ahead, but when the smoke clears, we pray we’ll be found standing hand in hand with the parents who birthed our children, committed to loving them through it all.