Tag Archives: marriage

Love is Like a Stream

When I get a little emotional, my right eye begins to “leak”.  It’s like a little stream, but just out of that one eye.  I’m not sure why it happens that way, but it does.  As I was sitting in my bedroom in the Ikea “rocking chair” that was given to me by a friend who was moving, long before I had any idea I would be a foster parent, my eye began to leak.  I wasn’t alone as I sat rocking, my eye stream activated; Baby Incredible was lying on my chest.  He’s almost getting to big to do that now.  His legs curl up under him, and his arms hang off of the side of me.  

The first time I put him down for his nap, he woke up as soon as I left the room.  When it was clear he wasn’t going to go back to sleep, I went in, cleared off the rocking chair that had clothes piled on top of it…after all, what’s the use of it when there’s no baby in the house…and plucked him out of his crib.  He lay on me as I rocked, his ear against my chest, listening to my heartbeat.  We were both quiet.  I played with his hair, a little buzz cut now, his “jewish curls” gone.  His eyes fluttered, and my right eye leaked.  

I thought about how God knows just what we need, how he made the ultimate sacrifice for us, sending his Son to die on the cross, how all of my “sacrifices” for Baby Incredible pale in comparison to that.  I thought about how God knew exactly what I needed in that moment, and God is so amazing that it was actually what Baby Incredible needed, too.  We both needed each other, to have that skin to skin contact, for him to hear my heartbeat and for me to hear his breathing and smooth his hair and skin.  I don’t know if his mom rocks him when he is at home.  I know they don’t have a rocking chair.  I can’t imagine on her doting on him as much as I do when he’s here.  This is a gift for both of us.  

Everyone always tells new moms to sleep while the baby sleeps.  It is advice that seems to make sense.  New moms are sleep deprived and have a very demanding little human whose needs come before their own; moms need sleep.  This advice that sounds great in theory, doesn’t work out so practically.  There is laundry to be done and dishes to do and floors to be swept or mopped.  A lot of times, laundry or dishes or floors trump sleep.  Sometimes, though, holding your sleeping baby trumps all of that.  It is true for all moms that you never get that time back, but for this former foster mom, it is truer than true. I will never get back that opportunity to hold him a little longer while he sleeps, and I only get that opportunity once in a while.  

When I was a little girl, I had a lot of ideas about how my life would go.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a “co-parent”.  Never did I picture sharing my little boy with another family, one who gets to call the shots.  That’s really what I have become.  Where I once was a foster parent, now I am a “co-parent”.  That said, I am grateful beyond words that I still get to be in this little boy’s life.  Actually, it is a miracle of God that I am able to be a co-parent of sorts.  This kind of thing virtually never happens.  God is definitely working in this situation.  I am grateful for all of my friends who have prayed for Baby Incredible and me and his family.  I am grateful for those who continue to pray.  This is one amazing little boy.

It’s interesting to think about the way I once pictured my life in comparison to the story God has written.  When I was a little girl, I thought I would be married by the time I was in my twenties.  That’s when my mom and dad got married, in their young twenties: my mom was 20, and my dad was 21.  I thought it would be easy to meet my “prince charming” and that we would have a fairytale wedding and have a few years to enjoy some time together before we started having babies.  I thought I would begin having kids when I was in my mid to late twenties, and I thought I would be well into the rhythm of being a mom by the time I was in my thirties.  None of the messy realities of adult life ever entered my consciousness.  I never thought about not meeting my prince charming or not having kids before I turned thirty or of foster care or adoption or co-parenting.  My picture was that so many things were difficult for me during the kid part of my life that things had to go easier in the adult part of my life…easier, no.  Better with God, yes.  

God has given me an amazing man to live the rest of my life with, and I get to marry him in 77 days.  Although fairy tales are not real, God has given me such a phenomenal story that it feels just as good to me as if it were a fairy tale.  Erick, my incredible beyond words fiancé, and I have been through more than most engaged couples and have learned and grown so much through it.  We have each been on a journey that has been tying us closer and closer together.  None of that would have happened the way it has without fostering being in our lives.  God knew.  Every time I am fearful of what lies ahead for us, I think about God’s plan being bigger and better than I could ever ask for or imagine.  Even in all of my ideas of what my adult life would be like, I never pictured that I would get to marry my best friend, that he would propose to me in such a well planned, well thought out, and romantic way, singing a song to me before he asked me to marry him.  Never did I think that we would get to have the courtship and dating relationship and engaged relationship that we get to have.  Never did I think that I would have such amazing friends and family around me during such an important time.  I am truly blessed.  

God is never finished working until Jesus comes.  “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:6

This Foster Mama’s History…A Story of Surrender

My official journey to becoming a foster mama began on June 2, 2012, but I have unofficially been on this journey for much of my life.

As a child, I loved all children younger than myself, especially babies.  At about 9 years of age, I was making babysitting fliers to put up around the neighborhood, wondering why no one was calling me to ask me to babysit.  You might be thinking, “Wow, what an entrepreneur!”  Although my parents are every bit the entrepreneurs and gave me that example, I was not looking to make money, nor was I seeking to fill a desire to start a business.  I was not built that way.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my longing to babysit came from a deep desire that God had placed in my heart: the desire to be a mother. Just holding a baby brought me an indescribable joy and a peace that transcended all understanding.  (Philippians 4:7)  I found this kind of joy and peace in nothing else; I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a gift from God.

My path to building a personal relationship with God is a story for another post, but I’ll just say here that about four years ago I got to know Him and His word, made the decision to make Jesus Lord and Savior of my life, and was baptized.

I became a Christian at 27 years old, and by then I had already felt the desire to be married and have a family of my own for quite a few years.  When I got baptized, I was grateful that God had not answered that prayer yet because I would get to marry a godly man, something that I would not necessarily have made a priority if I had been married before I surrendered my life to Him.  I also became impatient.  I wanted to get married, and I didn’t understand why God was making me wait.  In the story I had written for myself, I would be married by the time I was 30 and already be having kids.  At one point, I even began to believe that God was saying “no” to my desires of marriage and kids.

I began to ask God to take away those desires, desires that He had put in my heart.  I couldn’t understand why he had put them there if He was not going to allow them to be filled.  I went through some periods of tough heart-ache because these unfulfilled desires were so strong at some points.  (Proverbs 13:12).

Godly, spiritual people in my life listened, prayed with me and for me, and sometimes cried with me.  For the most part, people, no matter how much they love you, don’t really know what to say in situations like this…when there is an unmet desire that is making your heart sick.  The one thing that I would hear a lot, though, was that I needed to surrender “it” to God – “it” being marriage and kids.  First of all, I didn’t want to surrender that to God if it meant that God wasn’t going to give it to me.  Second of all, even if I did want to surrender it, I didn’t have a clue how to do that.  When God has placed a desire so deeply in your heart, how do you surrender that?  God put it there, so what can I do about it?  It never made sense to me.

About two years into my life as a Christian, someone very wise finally explained it to me in a way I could hear it and understand it.  Simply put: I, myself, as a human being can do NOTHING without God.  I cannot “just” surrender.  I can PRAY for surrender.  God has to give it to me.  Great, so pray to be able to surrender “it” to God.  But I didn’t even want to surrender…so I needed a baby step.  My first prayer towards surrender was to “want to want it”.  God, help me to want to want to surrender marriage and a family to you.

After I got to a place of wanting to want surrender in this area of my life, I began praying that God would give me that surrender.  With help, I built my faith back up that God did want me to get married, and I continued to pray for surrender.  (To me this meant that I believed that God wanted me to get married but that I was surrendered to whatever story God has written for my life whether it included marriage and kids or not.)  Good friends of mine also consistently prayed that I would surrender.  It took almost two years of praying for this surrender for God to give it to me, and it came quickly and in a completely unexpected way…it came through fostering.

When God first presented the idea of being a foster mama to me, I thought I was totally crazy for having such a thought and dismissed it almost immediately.  I shared the thought with two women in my life anyway, and was told that I shouldn’t automatically dismiss it, especially since it seemed like something I really wanted to do.  They challenged me to pray about it and to get advice.  I thought for sure it was going to be a “no” from people in my life.  I’m single, I work, I want to get married, and I though people were going to say that fostering would be too much of a complication in my life.  What I heard was almost the exact opposite.  My spiritual friends were telling me that being a foster mama made complete sense for me.  The more I prayed and asked advice, the clearer God made it.  He wanted me to be a foster mama.

I turned in my first paperwork and had my initial interview on June 2nd, and I knew God was filling a desire that He had placed in my heart: the desire to be a mom.  But God is so awesome and big that he wasn’t just fulfilling one desire, he was also helping me surrender.  In giving me the gift of becoming a foster mom, he also gave me the gift of surrendering marriage and a family of my own. I still wanted it, but I was surrendered to whatever God’s story was for my life.  If his plan for my life was for me to be a single foster mama, great!  If it was something else, great!  I actually felt a total peace about His plan for my life, even though I didn’t know what it was.

It never occurred to me that I could want marriage and a family at the same time as being surrendered to God’s plan for my life.  Now that I am on the other side of it, I know that you can absolutely surrender whatever your “it” is and still very much want it to happen.  There’s just not the same desperation.  It doesn’t cause the same pain and sadness.  There is a total trust in God that He will take care of you according to your best interest and to His glory.  The best part is that, I didn’t do any of this.  It was all a gift from God so that I cannot boast.  (Ephesians 2:9-10)  It is ALL to His glory.

On July 30th, I became a certified foster mama, and on July 31st, I was placed with my first foster baby, the baby that God thinks I am perfect to love and nurture.  And so the adventure begins…