Thursday, June 24, 2010

First born Son

We recently participated in a feature article for our local newspaper. May was Foster Care month. We were asked why we became Foster/Adoptive parents. The answer was an easy answer for us. We became Foster parents because God called us to. We were not sitting at home discussing that we were getting ever so close to an empty nest and needed to fill it up. Quite the opposite was on our minds. We were counting down the days until one certain someone graduated High School. Suddenly our world was rocked by a young boy living in a group home and in need of a sponsor. He didn’t have anyone that spent one on one time with him or took him places as special treats. He was well cared for, fed, clothed and educated. He had his very own room and lots of special people to care for him. What he didn’t have was a forever family. The courts were deciding if his mom would be able to return to his life. The odds were not in her favor. She was not able to do what was asked of her and it appeared she would be losing her parental rights. We entered the relationship with lots of uncertainty. God did not ask us to take the easy road. He asked us to step up to the plate and give this child some love and attention. Spending time with him began as going to the group home and playing video games with him. That meant we sat in a room and held a control while he played. More specifically, he played Mario Cart and drove the car backwards. I honestly believe that he went backwards so that the game would never end.

Our first outing with him was to the Mall to do some shopping and eat dinner. He gave us all a good chuckle when he promptly got up from the table and said he was going back for seconds. Hmmmm – that’s not exactly how it works little guy – so our first lesson on eating out was that you have to get in line and pay for more food. It’s not always a buffet. He also knew how to shop. He only wanted the shirt that had a toy attached. Each time we visited with him he would ask how soon before he could spend the night in our home. Soon after, he was spending weekends with us. We cleaned out our office and turned the room into a bedroom. We purchased him a bed and began filling the room with some guy things. We were parents of teen-age daughters. We were most certainly rookies when it came to boys. And he gave us some true challenges. The first thing he told me he wanted for his birthday was a “transformer”. I was clueless as to what that might be. I knew barbies and baby dolls. I’m pretty sure he didn’t get one on his first birthday with us. I, was afterall, doing the shopping and I had zero experience with what a 6 year old boy might like.

Soon came the decision to become Foster Parents and not just sponsor him. We knew that becoming Foster Parents to him meant that we would be fostering two children. He had a sister that was ten years older and living in the same group home. Once again, we felt this was God’s plan and that we would embrace the opportunity. This was not without concern – lest I lead you astray. We fretted about how on earth we would pay for two in college and two in private school. Holy Cow – we fretted. We knew we had to step out on faith and allow God to provide for our needs. We asked our girls to sacrifice some things at home for these two children. They would be required to share a room and help out with driving. They would be sharing their personal things and likely receiving less. They were on board and accepted this call just as we did.

On December 24 of that same year, we opened our home and our hearts to two foster children. When leaving the home our son told us he was sad. He wanted us to follow him to his home with his mother and all live together. He was told that his mom would no longer be able to see him. This was a very difficult thing for a six year old to digest. He wanted what we had to offer him, yet he wanted his mother. He wanted the lady that left him in a shelter. He wanted the lady that could not stay clean, or keep a job, or provide for him. She was, after all, his mommy. That’s what he knew. Yet he understood that she was not well. He knew that she had issues with drugs and because of that she was not able to return to him. He cried that day, but not for reasons one would think. He cried for her because he knew he would never be able to tell her about Jesus. Yes – he wanted to tell her about Jesus and that drugs were bad. His heart was not broken for himself. His heart was broken for the lady who was letting him down. I thought my heart would explode. I was so very proud of his desire to share Jesus. He got it – at six years old he really got it.

Fast forward through the next few years to adoption time. Parental rights were terminated and he and his sister were able to be adopted. We didn’t have to consider whether or not we would adopt, we knew it was God’s plan. We had accepted God’s plan and would follow His lead. During one of his many visits at the group home he noticed that his bedroom was turned into an office. This hurt his feelings. He told me that he had a hard time with seeing his room gone. I didn’t really understand and asked him if he wanted to sleep there. He quickly said no but he didn’t like it to be changed. It was his room and he felt that he lost something that day. He later told a story of how his bed was taken from him while he lived in a shelter. It was told to us that his bed was taken because he slept with his mom and didn’t use it. What he knew was that his bed was taken away. When the social worker came to our home to interview him and his sister about being adopted he made me chuckle with what he loved about our home. He loved his bed. At first, my feelings were slightly hurt. A bed – the boy liked a bed the best. But after some thought – it occurred to me that his bed was his security. It was HIS. He had a bedroom and he had his very own bed. Wow! How often do we appreciate having a bed? How often do we mourn for someone’s soul? More particularly, how often do we even care about the soul of someone who has hurt us? He has a very forgiving spirit. He loves without boundaries.

(this picture says - WHY? Why are taking a picture of me taking out your mail?)

I am so proud to be his mom. He is my first born son. I pray that he always has the desire to want his biological mom to know Jesus. I pray that one day she does get well and comes to know Jesus. I am so glad she gave birth to him. I am so thankful that we didn’t avoid the call that God placed on our lives.

Love you all.


B said...

I share so many of your feelings displayed in this post. I too am an adoptive mom. I adopted my son when he was 7. Aren't these children amazing? Their capacity to love given the difficult times they have faced is so inspiring. I wish you and your family all the best! What wonderful people you all are!

Cristi said...

Wow, I had no idea. I was so confused at the "My family" picture. But I just figured it was niece and nephew or something. That is incredible. Good for you and Praise the Lord. Todd and I are thinking of fostering. Nothing is in the works yet but we are considering. (not adoption though, just fostering). Thanks for sharing.