Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Wilderness of Foster Care

I have been fairly quiet in this space as it relates to Foster Care.

I find myself at a loss for words most days, everything that can be said has been said and our family is in a season of waiting. This is a familiar space for me, one of wilderness. Rachel Held Evans says in her book Inspired, "Rarely do the people of God reach any kind of promised land without a journey or two through the wilderness" and that is the truth.

"It is disorienting, it forces the point, it brings to the surface your fears and doubts and struggles. It strips you down to your essential humanity and inherent dependency. Here is where you find out what you are made of and who your family are. You are forced to leave everything else behind and quiet yourself and just listen"

Eugene Peterson is one of my personal heroes and he passed away earlier this week. He translated the Bible into words I could easily grasp and digest in my daily reading called The Message. This January I decided to read the Bible through in 2018 like I have in years before, but I chose to use the Message version this time.

Eugene has an oft quoted saying that has been a personal anthem of mine in the last several years, especially as it relates to foster care. He wrote a book called "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" and that phrase is exactly what this life of faith looks like. It is a marathon of endurance, one of trust and hope even when we get tired. It is quite literally one foot in front of the other without an end in sight.

In his book Eugene says, "And yet I decide, every day, to set aside what I can do best and attempt what I do very clumsily--open myself to the frustrations and failures of loving". 

I have found nothing more frustrating that Foster Care. I have hardly found anything that feels so much like a failure as Foster Care does but there is only one option for me and that is loving in the midst of it. It may not be what I am best at in the moment, but love is a choice not a feeling and I choose to show up with love. Love looks a little different each day. Some days it is quiet, rocking chair, brushing hair and kissing owies love. Some days it is emailing, calling, firm tone and word rallying advocacy. Some days it is both.

This system is failing children day after day.
It is very broken and it starts at the top...and that change doesn't come easy or free.

I believe those who love Jesus need to engage the system more than ever, but I also will be honest in saying when Sunshine goes...we will most likely step away from the role we have carried and will take a long sabbath before deciding how to engage again. This season has left our family beaten and bruised and drained and weary. I have found myself unable to pray because I don't know what to pray for, the previous prayers seemingly unanswered.

As I wrestle with the realities of a broken world and I engage in brokeness on a daily basis in the form of a precious child, I know there is no solution outside of God to heal these wounds.

The limbo she is in is damaging to her development and future. Children were not meant to live in the "in between" and there is nothing our family can do about it. Talk about feeling helpless.

I have never endured a season where God did not teach me something new about my own brokeness and need for Him. I know at the end of this I will find a new depth of love and dependency on God because He is faithful in that. I am unsure of the damage that will come before that though, to my family and to her. That is the honest and hard truth of it all. We will continue. We will endure. We will break over and over again because we believe this is where we have been asked to love like Him and when it is over I will lay shattered in a million pieces as the child I have raised as a daughter leaves and we learn to grieve and feel relief all at once.

Nothing is black and white, there are no easy answers for anything hard in this world. There is no perfect equation to solve foster care or any other hot topic our world is faced with on a day to day basis- but there is only one way to engage it all and that is with love.


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