Thursday, April 14, 2016

Wounded Birds: Caring For The Least Of These

We came upon an injured robin at our doorstep. He'd been hopping along, but as Trevor grew closer and he did not fly away we saw his wing was damaged.

I quickly googled "what to do with an injured bird" and we placed him on a towel in a box very gently and closed the lid.

I called our local wildlife rescue and they asked us to bring him in. Our boys hopped in the car with Trev and they made the trek 45 minutes away. 

That might seem like a lot for a bird, but we felt it was important to teach our boys that we care for animals too, and a suffering bird matters and that there are really cool places that exist to rescue and rehabilitate animals from the wild.

They handed the box over and Trevor took them for an ice cream treat for a job well done.

I messaged the refuge today, hoping for an update on Mr. Robin. Unfortunately it wasn't what I'd hoped for. He had suffered a severe compound fracture in addition to a dislocated wing and couldn't be saved. While we are so sad, we are glad the little guy didn't suffer more- as I'm sure a cat would have gotten to him quickly. 

It didn't really end the way I had hoped or wished for, but if we had known he wouldn't make it we would have still picked him up and driven him to get care, we would have still taught our boys to be responsible and caring and to seek help for wounded ones. Despite the ending we did not plan for, the 2 hour trip on a Sunday afternoon wasn't wasted.

Today was the first day I've really thought hard about when we have to say goodbye to Little Man. The reality is we will say goodbye. It could be rather soon, or it could be awhile from now, but that day will come. We'd like to hope that we would be hopeful about where he goes from here, we'd wish for the best possible for him and we'd like to see a future before him that is full of joy and possibility and healing. The truth is, we may not like where he goes from here. We may have concerns and worries about where he goes to when he leaves us and those are beyond our control.

You want, ever so much, for this to be a bridge between brokenness and healing but the reality is you may not ever get to see that healing. You may not be privy to that information or it may not bring the wholeness you prayed for in your time. We cannot say yes to foster care if we can only handle the "good" goodbyes. The ones that reunite a healthy family that has worked hard, or the new forever family that offers so much love and redemption you couldn't have asked for more. These happen, but the other kind happen to. The returns to family that make you question the system over and over again. The returns that make you weep in fear for the future of the child who you loved while they were in your care. Some returns do not offer the hope of healing you so desperately want to see.

Would we say no if we knew when they left us it was not for what we hoped? If we could have seen the future and saw the continued heartache and loss a child would endure, would we have still stepped in to offer comfort and peace in the midst of that storm? Absolutely. Because that is not the reason you foster. It is not about happy endings.
It's much bigger than that- there is a bigger story you are a part of- a bigger Hope to hold on to and that is what you cling to when the water seems muddy and you're broken for these children. You must cling to the hope that the story doesn't end there- 

So you love. You love hard and big and you provide comfort and safety and you go all in- because you do not know what may lay ahead, you battle for them while they are in your care and trust as they leave your nest there is Someone who watches over them and cares for them more than you ever possibly good and He knows all about redemption and restoration and He is still writing those stories...

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Day I Tried To Quit

Today I wanted to quit. Little Man woke up with a yucky nose- we just can't catch a break. It's been 8 weeks since placement and we've not gone more than 10 days without some sort of sickness with him. He's miserable when he's sick, obviously and when babies are miserable so are the parents. He still wakes up in the night- we are exhausted.

People ask us all the time how long we will have him, but that's just not how foster care works. You aren't given children and told it will be "x number of days". You really have no idea, and even when you might start to, things change in the 11th hour and you just have to go with the flow. Nothing is concrete or absolute. It's all so day to day.

I had to pull out of the Avenue of the Giants Race completely. First I pulled out of the Half-Marathon, after my concussion and broken toe I knew I wouldn't be ready to train the way I wanted for it. I switched my registration to the 10k and then I decided I wouldn't be able to even do that. There is no margin for me to train. No margin for the things I had been doing. To say I was upset is an understatement. I couldn't even talk about it with Trevor because I was so teary. Sure I could walk the whole thing, but I'm stubborn and I want to do it the way I planned to do it- I don't like feeling like I didn't meet the goal I had so I'd rather not go half...bottomed.

The reality is, some days I cope with my new situation better than others. Some days I'm pretty okay with this new life and some days I struggle to make it to bedtime without a breakdown. It can just be so very isolating and there is nothing I can do to change it, nothing anyone else can's just a reality.

So I told Trevor I quit. When he leaves us I'm done. I can't do this anymore. It's just too hard.

And then Kristen Welch from We Are That Family wrote a blog and published it the same day. The title of the blog?  For When We Are Too Tired To Keep Going - the section that made my eyes well up said "How many challenging marriages and hard parenting seasons and difficult jobs and acts of wild obedience have worn us out and begged us to walk away. Let’s face it, sometimes quitting is easier. But often, digging in and pushing past our weariness is where we meet a holy God that says, Come unto me and lay your burden down.
And then He fills our arms with Blessings and says this is why you must not stop."
Yeah, okay so that was timely.  And then, later that day Ann blogged, about their journey this past year and about their road to adoption. Yeah, I cried some more. 
"Sometimes — The story isn’t going how you planned, but that isn’t a reason to stop trusting that the story has a plan. Sometimes, turns out? You clearly not being enough  —- is what makes the enoughness of God most clearly seen."
Oh for the love...okay I get it already.
But a few hours later, on Instagram, Angie Smith shared about a rough day she was having, missing her Charlotte and feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit when to where she was buried, and posted a video of her driving by it with the beautiful spring in bloom and the song that played? 
The song that is Little Man's, the one he fell asleep to in my arms that first night and the one that speaks over him...even though you are lacking in an earthly father right now- Jesus is the Good Good Father who provides all you will need. 
So, I won't quit. I will keep on, trusting that my not being enough is what shows Jesus most clearly to others, and trusting for Little Man and that our God is a Good Good Father, who provides all we need. 

(*Update since my "I tried to quit day"--  I emailed the race director and said I still wanted to do the 10k, even if it meant walking the whole time--stubbornness be darned)