I’ve said it before, and I hope I have a million more times to say it–I am so blessed to be able to use my camera as a VIP card to get into your lives. Some pretty amazing things are happening inside the four walls of your homes.
Several weeks back, I got “the call” on a rainy night, from a family of three who was about to undergo some major changes. I would get to be there to witness it first-hand. It was sad, happy, and amazing all at the same time. Read the words and thoughts this family has to share about their fostering story. They will touch your heart.
The boys came. They were precious. The 5-year olds immediately started showing each other their best ninja moves. The 2-year old was sleepy, cuddly and sweet. Once the 2-year old woke up a little, we quickly learned that he loved to throw a ball. I’m not talking about a little 2-year old toss. I’m talking about a legitimate and athletic throw. The kind of throw that makes you gather up all the balls in your house and put them in the ‘outside only’ toy box. As soon as I saw them, I loved them. And not just the way you love your friends’ kids. I loved them as if I had given birth to them myself. I was not expecting that kind of attachment so quickly. However, I’m so thankful for it. The thought of that moment continues to confirm this calling for our family.
Over the next couple of days, we adjusted as a family. We learned about what foods each of the boys liked. We learned their favorite movies and games. They learned how we live our family life. They learned that we sit down every night and have supper and talk about our day. They learned that we read The Jesus Storybook Bible (the best kid’s Bible, by the way) every night before bed. They went to church with us. The days were not without challenges, but they were overwhelmingly hard and good. Our family seemed complete.
On Monday, as per a requirement of the State, we took the boys with us to a court hearing. We were told not to expect for anyone show up to want custody of the boys. We were told that since the State could not find any next of kin to care for them that evening, that it likely meant, there wouldn’t be anyone show up stating to the Court that they could care for them.
That was wrong.
When we walked in, the 5-year old immediately spotted his biological mother and father. There was also a grandmother. Of those three people, none of them were in the right state of mind to care for themselves, much less these boys. Then, we saw another set of grandparents. These grandparents appeared to be very capable of taking care of these boys. They wanted to take care of them. I shook the calloused, hard-working hands of the grandfather. I hugged and cried with the grandmother. She understood that we had become attached as a family. She expressed her gratitude for us taking them in for a while. She explained that they never got a call from the State. As we talked, it became apparent that the boys would not return home with us. They were to go live with their grandparents. And, they should go live with their grandparents.
As we drove away, without the boys I was mad. I was mad at the State, I was mad at myself for getting attached. I was mad a God. It wasn’t enough time. I didn’t have time to make sure they knew everything about Jesus. I didn’t have time to help the 5-year old commit to memory (as our 5-year old has) our favorite line from the Jesus Storybook Bible about God’s “Never stopping. Never giving up. Unbreaking. Always and forever Love” I didn’t have time. My heart longed for those boys. It still does.
Over the next few weeks, my head began to clear a little. However, my heart was still mad and confused at the timing of all of this. That’s when I began to question God’s sovereignty. I mean, I heard Him tell me to say “yes” to bringing the boys into our home. Why didn’t they get to stay here? I began to question the timing. Why didn’t God give us more time with the boys to talk with them and show them Jesus? Two and half days just wasn’t long enough. It just had to be wrong.
Turns out, I’m wrong. If I truly believe that God is sovereign, and that His timing is perfect, then I HAVE to believe that two and half days is what He planned out from the beginning of time. We are never promisedtomorrow. In fact, we are advised in Psalm to “number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Then what are we to do with such a limited number of days? Not just with our kids, but also with all of the people with whom we cross paths. What does that look like for the customer you meet only once? What does that look like for the co-worker that you know for two years? What does that look like for the your best friend that you’ve known since the first day of kindergarten? All of those days are numbered.
The last few weeks, I have been comforted with the truth that I do not number these days. They are numbered by God. The same God who put the stars in the sky. The same God that knows how many hairs are on my head. The same God who told me to say “yes”. I’ve been challenged to make sure that I am keeping his greatest commandments–to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-39.)
While there were SO many other precious moments that evening, the faces of these children will remain private from this post. God knows their names and faces, and I am confident He is taking good care of them.
A special thanks to this family for freely giving love to children you had never met, for letting me capture it, and for sharing your personal story with us.