When speaking with parents of children who have social anxiety disorder, one of the first things I tell them is that they need to prepare their kids ahead of time to go into a social situation which might cause anxiety. I know this well, because it is true for me, too. I generally don’t do well with surprises or last minute changes or with something that goes a different way than I expected. Plans help me. Routine helps me. Certainty helps me. Yet, the world is ever changing, ever unpredictable, ever uncertain. And I have to adjust to that as best I can. Sometimes I do so with faith and grace and maturity, and other times I allow my fear and faithlessness and sadness take over.
Less than a week ago, I posted that I had received news that Baby Incredible would likely be moving to a new home at the beginning of February. Less than 24 hours after I received that news, I learned that the family member who was planning to take him decided that she couldn’t take him after all. This shouldn’t have been a surprise. People are unpredictable and messy, therefore, the foster care system is unpredictable and messy. Sure, there are rules and protocols, but that doesn’t mean that they are always heeded.
After somewhat getting over the shock of two completely different updates within a 24 hour period, I began to ask questions about what that meant for Baby Incredible and his placement with me as his foster mom. What I learned was this: Unless this family member has a change of heart, there is no one else in the family who is able to take him at this time. It has been recommended that the parents be given some more time to do what they need to do to prepare to get him back. This could mean that Baby Incredible would stay with me for up to another 6 months. BUT anything could happen between now and then, like the family member changing her mind, another, up til now unknown, family member could step forward, or the decision could be made to send him to a foster/adopt home where the foster parents would be willing to adopt him IF the parental rights are terminated.
So, basically, what was originally thought to be a shorter term placement of 1-2 months has turned into a placement that could potentially last 8 months. But, anything could happen between now and July, literally anything.
Like I said, I don’t do well with uncertainty. God has been refining me in this area of my life. For the past four years my job has been in jeopardy because of layoffs. Each year, I receive notice that I may or may not have a job for the following year. Each year, for the past four years, I have lived in uncertainty about this for months before getting word that I would indeed be back the following year. I never lost my job, praise the Lord, but God did make me wait in uncertainty before he revealed to me that I was safe.
I believe that God was teaching me many things through such trying times. He was teaching me to trust him completely, to lean on him fully, and to be joyful, not because of my circumstances, but because of his love. (Romans 12:12) First I fought this. Then I fought through it. Then I fought for it. I failed, I fell, I took one step forward and two steps back, but I came through it by the grace of God.
When Baby Incredible was placed with me, I knew that there was a possibility that he would be with me for a longer period of time, but I also knew that the speculation was that it would only be a month or two. I never expected it to be a situation that could possibly last for 8 months. Since learning that could be the case, I have had many different and conflicting emotions. As I relayed in my last post, I have a lot going on in my life, and it would be somewhat of a relief for Baby Incredible to go, but then I feel terrible even admitting that because I love him and want the best for him. Ultimately, what I have landed on is this: When I take my eyes off of God in this situation, I become fearful and want to take control. When I trust in God fully and am confident in his timing in this situation, I feel peace. If God felt like it was too much in my current life space, he would find Baby Incredible a new place immediately. Although it is difficult, I am choosing to trust God’s timing on this and in all other areas of my life. (Joshua 1:1-9)
My pastor once shared that we can only see the road ahead of us, but that God can see around the corners. Sometimes I wish I could get a sneak peek.