All The Feelings

So, everything has changed.  Everything got real yesterday.

We started the process to become foster parents on September 9, 2015.  That’s AGES ago.  We did an information session that day, and followed it up with 30 hours of training.  Then we did the background checks, roped a couple of friends in to be our backups and got their background checks done, fingerprints, and the home study.  The home study involved the fire department coming to our house (and deciding our windows were not to code), the health department coming out (and deciding that our house was mostly okay, with some minor, easy changes), and multiple visits with a social worker to talk about Kullervo’s and my history and motivations and all the things (read: free therapy).  Due to our neighborhood being a national historic neighborhood, our windows were ultimately allowed as an exception.

Finally, we found out at the beginning of February 2017 that we were approved.  We got our certificate that said that we were official foster parents.  I was out of town on a Christian middle school retreat, and I got the text from Kullervo, and I just cried and cried.

And then, nothing.

We were supposed to hear from our social worker at some point, but paperwork moves slowly through the governmental system.  We figured that it was all God’s timing, and when we had our entire lives all put together with a bow on top (read: the house was clean), we’d call someone and find out if we had fallen through the cracks.

But then yesterday happened.  Yesterday, I got the call.  The first call.  There was a little girl who needed a placement that day, if they could find her, if her father hadn’t run off with her.  Her story is not mine to tell, and we weren’t sure of all the details anyway.  But she was 14 months old and she needed a place to go.

We said yes.  We prayed first, but of course we said yes.

Social services found her, and at 7:30 last night, she arrived.  Just a sweet little girl with a diaper bag.  Her father had packed what he could, but said they didn’t really have food.  There were diapers, baby wipes, and some too-small clothes.  And a little girl who attaches really easily, especially to women.

She didn’t cry.  She whimpered a bit when Kullervo picked her up, but didn’t cry.  All night.  I woke up this morning and rushed to where she was in case she was dead.  She wasn’t; she was asleep.

We loved her.  She was so lovely, so sweet, so beautiful, that we hoped we’d get to keep her, but this morning they identified a family member who could take her in.  So 18 hours after we welcomed her, we kissed her goodbye.  With prayers and hopes and all the feelings.

My little boys didn’t understand.  Neither did my mama heart, but my mama heart doesn’t win this one.  Part of this job, part of this calling, is the goodbye.  It’s all the feelings, over and over, and my prayer, from the very beginning, has been that God would give me a heart big enough for this.  Big enough to love the children who had been hurt.  To love the parents who hurt them.  To love in spite of the brokenness.  To be a safe place, full of love and the Holy Ghost.

So, tonight is a normal night.  No new baby, nothing out of the ordinary.

But, yet, everything has changed.  Because this is real now.