If you've been here to follow our foster care and adoption journey I'm so thankful that you cared to spend your time finding out how we are.
I began to write about foster care and adoption as we entered into this world more than 3 years ago.
I cannot begin to tell you how different my life is that then. Heck, I feel like a different person than even 365 days ago. There have been many ups and downs that you've weathered through with us. We've taken many paths that have led us to entirely different places than we thought we'd be.
This Christmas it's just the three of us. Which is not where I thought I would be right now. I've been unable to even attempt to make a Christmas card. It just stings like salt in a wound of the dreams I had for our family this year.
This last year has been incredibly difficult in many facets, and I've just not been able to report where I'm at with it all on "paper." A year ago we were eagerly awaiting a referral for our second adoption from foster care, and since then we've endured a disruption, a miscarriage, and been foster parents (or respite) for over 10 kids (since November 2015).
I have spent a lot of time moving people in and out. Changing out one bed for another. Boxing up mementos. Saying hello, and goodbye. One of the kids, who I never got around to writing about, lived with us for almost 5 months and was successfully reunited with her family!
We saw every angle of foster care this year. The good, the bad and the ugly. I'm so glad we were able to end the year on the redemptive side of foster care. A child who desperately wanted to go home, who was able to. A family we'll have a relationship with for a long time.
We're in a season of rest, waiting, and deciding which direction to head.
All of life is on pause. I've not had this much space to breathe in years.
I don't mind sharing. I read a bunch of foster care blogs, and still do. I know that the people who have read my words might be right there with us in the midst of trying to figure out adoption and foster care, or we might be the only crazies they know in this world where family can look a little different.
In the beginning I started out prompted by the direction, written on a rock, at the end of the IF:gathering (a women's conference). "Write what I've done." Not, what I, myself have done. But how God has intersected our lives. Write what HE has done.
He has done great things. The greatest of which are the hardest to put into words. The peace we felt in the most difficult of situations. The view I have of heaven, which has changed all of my earthly longings. The sheer ability that God alone has to rescue and redeem us. I cannot fix it all. I am not the rescuer. But I know who is.
I have been changed this year. I'm still sorting it all out in my journals and in long caffeinated conversations with whoever is unlucky enough to ask the wrong question. I have been marked by the contents of 2016 in a different way than other years.
So much so, that I tattooed a visible reminder on my forearm to close out the year.
It reads "Hope Always," because Jesus is the only hope I have, despite the circumstances. Because He is alive I can always have hope. My hopes have been so tied to what I want my family to look like. But I can have hope that does not disappoint or fade, even when suffering is near. We lost 2 children in 6 weeks this spring. I'm still in over my head, but somehow this time in our lives is molding us into people whose hope is solidly in Jesus, and nothing else.
The flower is a Magnolia, because the week we miscarried the magnolias were blooming throughout our city. It was such a gift to be able to see even one beautiful thing, though it was fleeting.
So that's where life is. More silent than I'm comfortable with. More raw that I want to admit.
I'm not planning to blog on this personal space in the coming year, but I'll be continuing to "Write what He's done," at Anchored Voices, a collaborative Blog my dear friend started. The once a month commitment (and deadline!) is good for me.