All posts by Joel

Adoption Story Part 3: Met-Ya Day (Pigtails & Incubator Edition)

I will NEVER forget the butterflies in my stomach as we pulled up the driveway to Pigtails foster grandparent’s lake house. I felt like I was going to meet the President! Up the driveway came the beautiful foster mom holding that little nugget in her arms.  Joel and I cracked up as they walked toward us because Pigtails was giving us a full-blown Miss America pageant wave. She looked like the star of Toddlers & Tiaras!

I wanted to hug my #instafriend, the foster mom, just as much as I wanted to squeeze the precious little girl in her arms. So we all wrapped our arms around each other and made a precious emotional Pigtail sandwich.

We were warmly recognized by Cowlick. He was still enthralled with Mr. Joel and he wanted to show us off to his foster brother/best friend. The foster grandparents made us right at home and gave us the freedom to observe, laugh and play all day. Pigtails melted Mr. Joel’s heart by letting him help her with her water shoes so that she and Cowlick fearlessly ran down to the dock and we all started jumping into the lake.

After one especially big jump, Pigtails looked at me and said, “Will you hold my hand?” She should have asked me for a car when she turned 16 and to date when she was 12 because I would have given her the world at that moment!!!

I let jungle-gym-Joel and the kids go wild so that I could slip away into the kitchen to spend some time with my new-found best friend, the foster mom, affectionately known as “my incubator mom”. Words cannot begin to express the gratitude I have in my heart for this woman. She and her brave husband took a step of faith to move from their self-described, “laid back, low-key lifestyle” to the radical decision to foster 1 child under the age of 3. (We all know how those perameters work out!!! :)

She recounted to me the day they “got the call” for not one, but two foster children to come into their care. We both welled with emotion as she described the physical and emotional state in which they came into her home. I can’t even put words to my thoughts and emotions when I think of the early days of these children’s lives. It’s even more mind-blowing to think about God’s perspective of this whole situation. Sinful humanity wreaking havoc and inflicting trauma on children in need of a Heavenly and an earthly Savior… My mind and my heart can’t begin to unravel that mess. BUT GOD. My favorite words in Scripture.

But God took that hurting little boy in underwear so small that it was leaving marks on his little legs and that aching little girl that came with one messy diaper and a bag or two of junk and He place them in a family that would love them as hard as they could for as long as He allowed. They loved them just like their own because for that time, they were and a piece of them will forever be theirs. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This family loved these kids just the way they were. This family put countless miles on their cars getting them to therapies. This family lost countless hours of sleep for these traumatized little ones. This family poured out all their energy helping them develop and grow in areas they severely lacked. This family gave cooked countless meals and gave countless hugs to these fragile, traumatized children. This family rehabilitated these children. This family taught them about Jesus. This family prayed over them. Out loud.This family and their extended family and church family went to battle for these children. Joel and I will never be able to express our gratitude.

Okay, now I am sobbing, but just so you hear Incubator’s heart, I will let her tell you herself…

******************LOVE THIS WOMANNNNN********************************

“Yesterday was a great day. I shopped (mostly the window kind) and enjoyed the company of my kids, nephew, sister, and mom. It felt good to be around people but yet it didn’t. The truth is, I haven’t been wanting to be around anyone much lately. I still don’t.

See, I miss sloppy kisses. I miss chubby cheeks. I miss pigtails. I miss a cowlick. I miss him nuzzling his head into me. I miss her kissing me over and over and over and saying, “I love you, mama”.

I miss them.

Please don’t get me wrong. We are still focused. Knowing full well Jesus’ guidance through this all. This IS His plan. We want it. We get it.

But it’s still hard.

When you love a child like they’re yours and they’re not, your heart forgets the boundary lines.  It becomes blinded to them really. Love has a way of wedging it’s way past those lines, never knowing it even neared them…forgetting they ever existed. And it’s better that way, I know. Because if I’d kept my eyes on the boundaries, I’d have missed the opportunities to love deep. So, I’m glad really.

But it’s still hard. I know what Angie Smith meant when she talked about joy and sorrow dancing together as though it has a right to.

Mama said there’d be days like this.”

******You can see what I mean, can’t you? I don’t take her words and heartfelt emotions lightly, would you stop right now and pray for this amazing incubator family? *********

The sun and the fun took it straight out of Pigtails and Incubator sacrificially offered me the chance to rock her to sleep. And she even took pictures…WHAT humble, painful love. I gingerly took her up on the offer and relished the chance to stare at her long eyelashes, button nose and chubby cheeks. Time stood still. I was so in love. It was still so surreal though.

We ate dinner with their family and enjoyed the rest of the day together, reading books, playing with toys, and doing baths. Incubator  suggested to Cowlick that Mr. Joel and Mrs. Kitty come back to their house to see how we do bedtime. He loved that idea and of course, we jumped at the chance to spend more time together.

In between choking back tears, we got to read the kids “Llama, Llama, Red Pajama” and see their bedtime routine. The kids fought sleep, but lake day exhaustion won and we were able to have some adult time filled with plenty more tears. Incubator presented me with a “Happy Mother’s Day 2012” poem and hand-print that Pigtails had done at school and some pictures she’d been saving for their forever family. Joel and I just sat on their couch boohooing, amazed at all God had done to bring us to this point. (Much more than any blog post could ever explain!)

What a glorious day it had been. We couldn’t believe we had been discouraged and wondering if we should say “yes” to this match…We knew that this was the moment God had prepared us for since before the foundations of the earth and we knew it was time to jump into the deep end with no floaties!! 

Six More Weeks of Winter…With Two Rays of Sunshine!

We feel kind of like we went to the hospital but were told it was just Braxton-Hicks and to go back home!

We don’t have much news to share…in fact, we have no news because two of the needed witnesses (investigator and physician) didn’t appear in court today. Thus, the case was postponed for 6 more weeks. BUT the kids will come live with us tomorrow as “pre-adopted foster children” and we are excited to move forward as a family by faith!! 

It was an emotional day for us, but we are choosing to rest in the fact that God is working all things together for good. And as my new best friend…the incubator mom to my littles…who deserves and will be getting an entire post in coming days…pointed out, the Lord obviously wanted us to get a different judge. He obviously wanted us to have a more air-tight case. He obviously wanted us to be with the children 6 weeks longer before we have”forever family” type-conversations, etc.

We asked that God’s will be done and this is His good, pleasing and perfect will!! God is good, pleasing and perfect, even when He doesn’t feel good, pleasing and perfect! Aren’t you glad? 

So, needless to say, we are ready to get these nuggets in our care so we can love them as hard as we can. (By “ready”, I mean we are excited–as I type Joel is hammering and drilling their room together…) Pretty sure we will not sleep a wink tonight, but we are excited to hit the road bright and early tomorrow morning to pick up our two pigtails and a cowlick!!

Please keep praying! Here are some specifics:
1. For God’s will to be done in the court system and for the bio mom to become a believer through all this.
2. For us to be able to love these children and supernaturally bond in such a way that they experience Jesus and feel safe with us vs. traumatized in yet another home.
3. That we would be good stewards of these first days of caring for them while being faithful in campus ministry.

Thank you for walking this road with us. We are grateful for your partnership in the Gospel and in growing our family!