Not long ago, I was ignorant. I believed that we were all called to adopt. or foster.
It was a command. and I like to follow rules. ok. that’s a lie. I’m more of a rule bender, but I do like to enforce rules. I’m bossy. I know. But I just wanted others to open other’s eyes to the needs of thousands of orphans and broken families.
Then I stepped out in obedience and realized I was wrong.
If we ALL signed up to adopt a child or foster a baby, we’d ALL be exhausted and walking this journey wounded and fatigued. there would be no one left to serve us or carry our burdens. we would all be weary and worn out.
Like an army full of soldiers, there is a unique position for each of us to fill.
We have traveled this road for almost three years and there are so many moments that people have stepped in to cook, clean, watch kids, pray over us and serve this great need with their specific calling.
I can still see my friend, Stephanie, sitting in a large living room chair while I awaited the arrival of our first foster placement in the summer of 2012. We had received a call that afternoon and said yes to a little girl that would be arriving in the evening. My husband was still at work and I was a nervous mess as I prepared my mind, heart and home to meet this little girl. So my friend just sat. I needed her more than she knew. More than I knew.
Then there was the friend that stopped by to sit with me just moments before the same baby girl left our lives forever. After loving her like our own for ten months, she was being reunited with her birth mom. We had anticipated the arrival of this day but actually saying goodbye to her was far more painful than how I imagined it would be. Shannon held my hand, hugged my neck and prayed over us as we carried packed suitcases to our van.
My dad was an Army pilot. I grew up traveling the world and I observed how each person served the greater good with their own giftings. In a war, pilots fly into enemy territory, soldiers hide in trenches on the front lines, as others storm beaches and cross lines as they protect and serve. They are the first responders. They have a hard job. Their pain is real and sometimes there is great loss.
But they can’t fight alone. Behind them are medics waiting to care for the wounded and dying. Commanders who are strategically laying out battle plans and assessing the risks associated with the fight. There are crew chiefs who spend hours making sure jets, helicopters and weapons are fully operational. And there are recruiters always on the hunt for a few good men.
The same holds true for this army of people serving, loving and laying their lives down for orphans and hurting families.
While our family serves on the front lines, the people back home make it all possible.
THANK YOU never seems like enough…
You brought over a jumparoo and a box of diapers the weekend our little girl arrived. thank you.
You dropped off a large cooler filled with breakfast food and dinner for our huge family. thank you.
You babysat our five crazy kids one night so my husband and I could sneak away to dinner together and enjoy real conversation. thank you.
You rushed over when I called you at the last minute to sit with my sleeping kids while I went to a staffing for our 8th foster baby. thank you.
You dropped off gatorade and soup on our front porch at 10:00 one night while our house was plagued with the stomach bug. thank you.
You brought over a meal you picked up at Sam’s Club so I wouldn’t have to think about dinner that night. thank you.
You loaned us your baby carrier so I could have a free hand. thank you.
You prayed over me at church as I cried tears of heartache as we said goodbye to another baby. thank you.
You came by and folded my laundry while I ran errands. and had some coffee alone. thank you.
You waved our copay during one of several visits to your office with our sick kids. thank you.
You told me I was doing a good work. thank you.
You watch our precious baby boy while we went away to a family wedding. even though your husband had the flu.
You dropped off a bottle warmer and 8 ounce bottles since all I had were 4 ounce ones. thank you.
You listened to me cry and pour our my heart and frustration as I left another afternoon in court. thank you.
You picked up our biological kids for a much needed playdate. thank you.
You make this journey beautiful and comforting and bearable sometimes.
We are on the front lines. We are tired because an abandoned little girl was dropped at our house at 2:00 in the morning, we have had the same conversation over and over and over with case workers and guardians and birth families. we are dreading goodbyes and anticipting hellos. we are fighting the battle for broken families and failed plans.
but you are fighting this battle too. whether you were drafted, or you volunteered in this mess, you are valuable.
and you, our dear friends…and strangers too, are the church.
WE are the church. and I never grow weary watching your serve and love and give.
and neither does He.