In the fall of last year, Ira and I decided that we really wanted to become liscenced to foster infants. So, we began the process and were finished by the end of February this year. I knew that it would probably be hard when it came to giving the baby back. But NOTHING prepares you for reality, but reality itself. We had our first baby a couple of weeks ago. He was so sweet. E, M, J and S were ALL over him. I was reacquanted with the unnatural-ness of having to be mentally alert every three hours during the night. But with each of those feedings and each diaper change, I was looking into the eyes of a precious little one. There is nothing like the feel of that little bundle against your shoulder. There is nothing like the sweet way their body balls up into the fetal postion. I fell in love. And so we neared the end of our time with him. I would spontanously burst into tears at any given moment. I learned how hard it was to intimately care for someone, but have NO control over what would be happening to him in just a couple of days. I looked at Ira and asked, "So WHY did we want to do this thing?" It is hard.
People would ask me how I thought my kids would do when the baby was gone. I had no way of knowing. What I did know and kept saying was, that if it was indeed God's will for us to foster infants we would all be okay. We might cry, but we would all be okay.
So we came to the day of giving the baby to his adoptive parents. Ira was out of town. I took the kids to my mom's before I took the baby to the office. I was depending on God to help me to feel the way I needed to feel, whenever I needed to feel it. I had no confidence in my flesh. God kept telling me, My grace is sufficient, My grace is sufficient. And it was. It surpassed my expectations. It gave new meaning to the scripture - I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. I CAN do ALL things through Christ. All things, through Him. By His grace I was made strong. Through Him and only Him, I was able to be strong for the new parents. I was able to encourage them. I was able to let the baby go emotionally.
And so we came to our second baby. I was encouraged by the fact that we had all lived past the giving up of the first. But, the closer it got to the end with this one, the more I dreaded it. Today, Mother's Day, we would be relinquishing this little girl back to the social worker. Yesterday I found myself in the grip of God's grace. My mind parked in His faithfulness, His soveriegnty. This morning we took the little one to church. I didn't know if I would be able to make it through without losing it. But God was faithful.
Things that God is teaching me - His faithfulness in all situations. His grace to help me let go. His peace in accepting that our time with the baby is OUR time with the baby. Ours alone. Given the opportunity, I would always keep the baby longer. But that choice is not mine to make. We play a part in the little one's life that is timely. We will rarely know how long we will have any given baby. It could be a couple of days, weeks or months. I am not by nature an emotionally flexible person. But my God is faithful. My God is faithful. And He always provides. His grace is sufficient for me. I can do all things through Christ. ALL things.
This Mother's Day I am thinking of mothers who have given their baby up for adoption. A mother, indeed, but with no baby in their arms. I am thinking of women who foster children, nuturing a child as if he or she was their own. I am thinking of M's foster mother who took care of her for FIVE years. How did M's foster parents even breathe, when she was removed from their care? I am thinking of all women, everywhere, having given birth or not, who have invested themselves, long or short term, in the life of a child. You have had the impact that makes a woman a mother. Happy Mother's Day.