Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!


on June 21, 2017

When I was small I wanted to be a ballet dancer.  I danced everywhere.  My mom likes to tell stories of me pirouetting down the aisles of the grocery store.  Jettes across the yard.  When I was small, it was all about dancing.

When I was a teen, I wanted to be a lawyer.  Arguing, the excitement of the courts, making connections to put those criminals behind bars…  then, I took a law class, and that was out.

When I was newly married, I said I would never stay home with any future kids.  I would work, the kids would go to school.  My identity would not be wrapped up in being a stay at home mom with a pile of kids.

I’m sure that the Lord snickers over that one.  Here He has me, comfortably ensconced among my five homeschooled children.

There were other things along the road too.  Watching my own kids try to decide what they want to do, trying things out, wanting desperately to hear God’s voice, it all takes me back to my own days of figuring out who I am.

Difficult pregnancies.  Post Partum Depression.  A realization that maybe I wasn’t supposed to birth anymore babies, but a strong desire to care for more, to hold more, to raise more.  Difficult decisions that we had to make, and in the back of our minds, the idea of becoming foster parents was always lingering.

We have fostered eleven children over the years.  Sent nine on to forever homes, and two found their forever homes right here with us.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our identity, MY identity was completely wrapped up in being a foster parent.  Fostering was what we did.  It’s what we were known for.  We are good at integrating children into our family.  We are good at creating relationships with biological families.  At creating relationships with forever families.

I have spoken at foster parent training courses.  I was asked to take part in becoming a trainer for those courses.

We were well liked by CAS.

It’s where I felt I was gifted.  That fostering was what we were going to do for a long time.

Our adoption was finalized, and we were put back on the list for fostering.

And then we got a call for a high needs baby.

My initial reaction was actually no.

Kai doesn’t sleep at night.
Zayda needs some therapy.
Keyzia, Ephraim, and Talya are all full on homeschooling.
But, fostering is what we do.  It’s who we are.  How do you say no to a baby that needs you?

We had time to discuss this placement, and it seemed to me that everyone had more faith in me and my abilities than I did.  We heard a lot of, “this baby needs you.”  “Of course you can do it.”  “It’ll be fine.”

Even Ja thought that maybe God was asking us to do the hard thing and help this baby.

And still I worried.
And I gave that worry to God.
I gave it to him hourly, daily, even minute by minute.

I did all of the things I was supposed to, discussed treatment options, figured out a plan, talked to people who had had a baby just like this before.

But still, still, I wasn’t sure, and I worried.

How do you say no to what you’ve created as an identity for yourself?  How does a lawyer not practice law?  A teacher not teach?  How in the world does a foster parent not foster?

So, we prepared all of the physical things for this baby.  The crib was ready.  The clothes were washed and folded neatly on the shelf.  Bottles sterilized.  Wraps washed.

The baby came for a trial sleepover, as soon as she was dropped off, I think I knew.

She is beautiful.  A precious child of God.

But, BUT, we were not the family that was supposed to have her.

I allowed the opinion of people to override what the Lord had placed on my heart.  I thought I had peace, but it was not a true peace.  It was not peace from the Lord, it was peace heaped on me by the opinions of others.

And oh, how I am humbled.

And now I am lost.

I feel so much guilt at the relief that I feel that we don’t have this little one in our home.  I am so thankful that another better equipped home was found for her, and I have guilt in that as well.

We took ourselves off the placement list indefinitely.  We are no longer foster parents.

Now who am I?  JUST a mom?  A wife?  Is that enough?  Is that what God wants of me?  And isn’t that what we all want to feel?  That we are Enough?

Things are changing all around us, and the only way to hold on is to ground myself in who God says I am.

I am His child.
I am beloved.
He says I am Enough.  Just as I am.

Do we want more because we want people to think highly of us?  Why does our selfish human nature make us think that Jesus isn’t enough?

A good friend said to me yesterday that the Lord is weaving a tapestry of our lives, that one thread is not the sum of who we are.  Our fostering thread is woven into that tapestry of who we are, but, it is not the sum.

She also reminded me that we don’t know what God’s future plans are.  What he will call us to three years from now, six months from now, goodness, we don’t even know what he will call us to tomorrow.

I know that, of course.  In my head I know that and understand that God’s plans for me are farther reaching and bigger than I can possible imagine.

Yet, I still feel lost.  I still cry for that baby that was never mine, and that was never supposed to be mine.  I cry for needing to be humbled.  For pride getting in the way yet again.

And while I’m lost, there’s still some little hope here in this place.  And I will look for Jesus, and I will follow Him out.  Because His plans are bigger than mine.  And His plans for me are Enough.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11



One response to “Lost

  1. Mrs. P says:

    To everything there is a season. Perhaps your season as a foster parent is coming to a close. It doesn’t mean you are no longer a foster parent, it just isn’t the title that defines who you are. I can think of many titles you carry, any of which could define what God has in store for you; friend, mother, knitter, baby-wearer, teacher, wife, child of God. DO not think of this as an ending, it is simply the chance to change direction and have a new and different adventure.
    Trust that God has a plan and you are no less who you are, you’re simply changing your title. (think of it like getting married again, going from Miss H to Mrs. W, without the paperwork 😉 )
    Thinking of you always my dear friend!

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