Sixteen years ago today a couple of toddlers walked into our home and that began our forever family journey. Even though at the time we didn’t realize it would be forever. At the time it was supposed to be a temporary thing. You know….foster the children in our home until they can return home with their parents. A few months later their older brother would move in as well and our “family” would grow. And a few months after that the long process of adoption would begin.
Most people who know us have heard our story, and I have blogged about it many times.. so here is a slightly edited post that I wrote a couple years ago..
On February 28th sixteen years ago our lives forever changed and turned upside down. We had been married almost 8 years by that point and there was no hope of ever having children. At least in my mind anyway. I had kind of resigned myself to that by that point. Certainly we were happy on our own, but in my heart of hearts, I longed for children. I had spent years running a daycare and caring for other people’s kids, but I wanted children of my own.
It wasn’t supposed to happen the way it did. The CAS had told us from the beginning, when we first started fostering that they would never place children under the age of 6 in our home. We would get attached. We wouldn’t want to send them back to their parents…blah, blah, blah. They were absolutely right of course. But God had another plan. He is so good! He had another purpose. Those things thought once thought impossible, were made possible. Because with God nothing is impossible. Where once there was no hope, he brought hope. There was an emergency. And on that day sixteen years ago, two toddlers in desperate need of a place to live, walked into our home. Ben…a rough and tumble, accident prone, almost three year old blue eyed boy with curly blonde hair and his spunky eighteen month old little sister Elisa. On that day we became a family of four overnight. A few short months later their older, fiesty brother Jacob moved in and we became a family of 5. I recall his social worker warning us that he was a pistol. Her description was pretty accurate. Over the years he always kept us on our toes, that is for sure.
The years have gone by crazy fast. At some point they just seemed to blend into one another and before we know it another year has gone by. It has not always been easy. This journey has had its shares of ups and downs, joys, tears and heartaches. It’s been complete chaos at times. There have been times when we didn’t know what we were supposed to do. There have been times when we have been completely broken by some of their choices. But through it all, love remains. There is nothing that these kids do that will change or cancel out our love for them. Nothing. We have not been perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination. We have made our share mistakes for sure and there have been many times where I have felt insecure about my abilities to parent, and I have at times (many) felt like a failure as a mom, but all in all we have always tried to steer their hearts towards the Lord.
They are all at the age now where we cannot fight their battles. I still want to. It is hard to sit back and watch when everything within me is crying out to respond. Step in. Punch someone in the nose. And by someone, I don’t mean my kids. It hurts if they have been wronged, rejected or treated unfairly. It’s painful to see them hurting over a wrong choice made. We can try to direct them, or offer our two cents, but ultimately the choice is theirs. And sometimes there are consequences.
It’s hard to imagine what our life was like before Jacob, Ben, and Elisa entered our lives, and it is equally hard to imagine what life will be like when they all have moved out. That will be our new reality very soon. I am not sure we will be ready for that. Our house will be so quiet… We want to slow down time. Hit the pause button somehow.
Our oldest son Jacob moved out two and a half years ago and began life on his own in Canada. He spent over a year working in a coffee shop and now works in factory making Amish furniture. He is super talented. Produces music on the side and has an apartment of his own.
This past summer Benjamin moved back to Canada and began Bible College at Masters in Peterborough after spending his summer working and paying room and board with an awesome family in London. He too is doing well. He loves God and is strong in his convictions. He always has been black and white when it comes to certain things. I’m so proud of them both…
In just a few months Elisa will begin the next chapter of her life in the Niagara area….having been accepted at the Niagara College a couple weeks ago. She will be taking the pasty and culinary arts program. It doesn’t seem real right now and I can’t help but worry a little about how she will transition back into Canadian culture..Dale and I are going back for several weeks to help her get set up wherever she chooses to stay…be it on campus or in a home boarding with someone.
And then the moment will come when we will head back to Honduras with no kids this time and in the blink of an eye, it will go back to being just the two of us. I’m not sure my heart is ready for that…but ready or not, that day will be upon us very soon.