Well hello. I’m back to break our radio silence on the blog front and give an update about what’s been happening that last few months. On March 18 our lives completely changed. Before we get too deep let me back up a little.
On Friday, March 15 I got a text from Sean that said “Caseworker is calling me. In a meeting. She’s calling you next. ANSWER!” My heart was racing as I answered the phone. “Hi Lauren. I have a placement for you and Sean. It’s a brother sister sibling group. They’re 5 months and 1. Are you willing to take them into your home?” Our first placement. 2 sweet, sweet babes. Yes! Wait. 2 kids? You said 2? As in there’s more than 1 kid? Uhhh….I’m going to need to call you back. I called Sean real quick and we talked it over and decided that we’ve been praying for this exact moment. We told God that our hearts are open and willing; we were waiting on Him to do the rest. I called the caseworker back and said yes. She said the kids would be with us Monday at 1. You know those moments when you have SO much to do that you truly freeze and have no idea what to do? Yeah, that was us. I had a sleepover at church that night for the elementary girls so my mind was truly everywhere. We had one crib but since both kids were under 2 years of age we needed another. We quickly made some phone calls and I packed for the sleepover and just cried. Tears of true joy. Tears of anticipation and excitement. Tears of fear and doubt. I didn’t (still don’t!) know how to be a mother, am I ready for this? Are WE ready for this? We were planning on one, could we even do two? It’s been months and those same tears of joy, excitement, fear and doubt still show up almost daily. Over the weekend we got a new crib, more sheets, installed two car seats and did as much preparing as possible. Do you know how hard it is to grocery shop for someone you’ve never met? Kids are picky!! How am I supposed to know what food they like?
On Monday, March 18th 2019, at 1PM we picked up the kids. B, who was about 6 months at the time, and L, who was about 19 months at the time. We got to the center and the kids caseworker and the nurse went over a few things; medicines, sleep schedules, upcoming doc appointments etc. I tried so hard to listen, I promise I did, but all I wanted to do was see these sweet babes who were coming home with us. I just wanted to see what they looked like and to hold them. They warned us that L might be a little hesitant around Sean but would warm up eventually. Friends let me tell you. There is absolutely nothing to prepare your heart for walking into a room and seeing the most precious faces for the first time. NOTHING! They gave us L’s favorite blanket and opened the door to the cutest kids on the planet. When we walked in Sean had the blanket and L saw it yelled “Blankie!!” and headed straight for him. He bent down, scooped up his girl, she instantly laid her head on his shoulder and the rest is history. I was handed B, we said our goodbyes, loaded the kids into the car and headed home. Home. With 2 kids. What bliss. I kept looking at Sean and saying “there’s kids back there!” on the car ride home.
Bedtime for L the first night was very bittersweet. She had been so happy and go with the flow all day I kind of figured bedtime would be the same way. She got a bath and into her jammies and snuggled and we sang “Jesus Loves Me”. Her head was heavy so I carefully laid her in her crib. Her eyes opened big and she held her arms up to me and said “Momma”. As soon as my parents found out we were getting a placement my mom called and asked which rocking chair (she has a bunch) I wanted. She said every mom needs a rocking chair. So I scooped L back up and we snuggled and sang in the rocking chair from my mom. I just sat there crying. Thanking God for my mom and this rocking chair. For this girl who we get to love. For her brother who was snuggled with my husband. For Sean who opened his arms and heart to these children who need it most. Once I thought she was asleep we tried the crib again. Boom! Eyes open. I sat on the floor outside her crib and held her hand, telling her she was safe and loved, until she fell asleep. Loving her felt right. But the fear I saw in her eyes broke me.
Once L girl was asleep we got B all situated and cozy in his bassinet in our room. I don’t even remember going to sleep. But I do, however, remember saying “thank you Jesus” about a million times. I had no idea what the future would look like, we still don’t, but I know 2 things with certainty. 1. We love them and are blessed to provide them with a happy, safe home as long as we can. 2. Jesus love them. This whole situation is ordained by His goodness and He will always go before us making a way for us to be with Him. The days and unanswered questions are hard but those two truths are always good and I can rest in the certainty on our Lord.
B woke up around 1AM screaming. We had just met so I had no idea if this was normal. We got him out of bed and made a bottle. Still crying. He felt warm. We changed his diaper. Still crying. Gave him medicine (read that as we put a syringe in his mouth and he spit medicine all over us lol). Still crying. His temp was over 102. Sean and I took turns holding him and walking around the room, we could get about 30 minutes of sleep out of him that way before he’d get upset again and we’d switch off. I called the pediatrician at 9am after B had thrown up everywhere. She said she could get us in at 10. We were quickly finding out that kids are hard and when things are hard/stressful Sean and I force ourselves to say at least 2 blessings. 1. The doctor was able to get us in immediately. 2. L slept all night. We actually had to wake her to go to the appointment. The doc said B had a virus and it should be gone in a few days. Of course by the time we got to the doc he was happy and smiling and his temp was down to 99.9- kids are stinkers. B was back to his normal happy self within 24 hours.
Let me tell you about the kids. B. Cute and little. The biggest blue eyes that really and truly look at you. He gives the best smiles and is always so happy to be part of the group. Our B boy is full of so much goodness and peace. He rubs his nose and face on your shoulder when he’s tired and plays with his hair when he’s eating his bottle. The excitement he gets when he sees us is breathtaking. When we get him out of his crib in the morning he kicks his legs so hard; I giggle every time. He is such a content and joyful little boy. L. Girl is full of it all. Joy, love, energy, independence, confidence. She is brave and bold. Courageous and smart. She is also a little on the sassy side, but man, oh man, is she sweet. She gives the best hugs. She will wrap her pudgy little toddler arms around your neck and squeeze with all her might. She makes her presence known everywhere but her voice when she says “thank you” it is so dainty and petite.
We went through over 40 hours of training to become licensed foster care parents. I have been babysitting since I was 12. We have 1 niece and 4 nephews and so many more honorary nieces and nephews from friends. I am the Nursery-Preschool Director at church. Sean coached 3 Upward Basketball teams. We teach the preschool class on Wednesday nights. I was CERTAIN we were ready and prepared for a placement. WRONG-O! There’s just something so different when you’re the parent. When this child is looking at YOU to keep them safe and meet all their needs it’s very different than being the babysitter a few days a week. We may not have all the answers but we are giving L and B as much love as possible. Doing our very best to show them Jesus, give them comfort, provide them with a feeling of security, and love them with everything we have.
Whatever word/phrase is beyond thankful that’s where Sean and I are. We have the best support system anyone could ask for. Friends showed up with BAGS of clothes. People at church just started signing up to bring us meals and sending digital gift cards to restaurants in the area. And whoever invented DoorDash and InstaCart YOU’RE AN ANSWER TO PRAYERS FOR ALL PARENTS!!!!! People. If you don’t have these on Earth angels in your life, you gotta get you some. These are OUR people. Friends who I have texted and said “Quick. Difference in sickness and teething” or “how the heck do I get an infant to take medicine” or “Are you awake? Please tell me we can come over and play. I’m so lonely.” Friends who are better than Google and more loyal than anything. And our family. Where to even begin?? Our family has welcomed L and B into their lives without hesitation. No one views them as foster children. They are children. They are our family. No one is loving at arm’s length. No one is saying they don’t want to get too attached. Everyone, I repeat, EVERYONE, in our circle is on this journey WITH us. Not as a spectator on the sidelines.
Sean and I don’t know the future and what our relationship with L and B will look like long term and that’s hard. Like really really hard (have I ever mentioned I’m kind of a control freak??). But with that uncertainty comes the beauty that is faith. Faith that God is in control. That He isn’t surprised by anything, no sickness, court date, visitation; He knows it all. That God has ordained their life with purpose and full of great things. L and B aren’t “foster kids” they are children of my Savior. The creator of the universe. His most precious gifts. That truth takes my breath away and brings me to my knees with the most thankful heart. We don’t know how long we get to be their Momma and Dada but we know that God will never be apart from them. Thank you Jesus, for always loving our babies.
Sean and I were in the car and the song “So Will I” by Hillsong came on the radio, talk about a powerhouse of a song. But at the end of the song the lyrics are
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind
We both looked at each other and said “YUP! We’re in.” We had already gone to the info meeting and felt confident about doing foster care but needed that last little bit of reassurance and God did it. He met us right where we were and answered the desire of our hearts. Thank you God for saving us. For saving ME. And for allowing us to love these babies each second we get to. Thank you.