As my phone rang and I saw her name on the caller ID I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever hear from her again. But, the name was a familiar one. One I saw appear on my phone weekly in the past. It was the birth mom of the little boys we fostered last year. She sounded good. Her speech wasn’t slurred. There wasn’t a ton of noise in the background. And honestly, I was happy to hear from her. She told me that the boys were placed back in her care. That news hit me hard. It’s a tough place to be in- showing kindness and love to someone who hurt two little boys you love so deeply. But, beyond our desire to protect, care for, love, and help those boys heal we prayed often for soft hearts towards their birth mom. I knew this would be a struggle for me. It’s easy for me to judge, complain, and write people off as failures when they’ve made the mistakes she’s made. So, I turned to the Lord to help rid me of that and replace it with love. I didn’t do it effortlessly, or perfectly, but we wanted her to see Jesus in the way we treated her and her boys.
Her and I spoke regularly during the time the boys were in our care and she often expressed to me how we were a blessing in her life during this time. Every single time she’d say that I’d tell her what a blessing those boys were to us. My selfish flesh doesn’t want them with her. I want them with me. I’ve wrestled with God for months about why it ended the way it did. Why place such a burning passion on our hearts for adoption if they will just be ripped away? I’ve pleaded with Him to bring them back to us. But, that prayer hasn’t been answered. And it might never be. Regardless, God continues to lovingly pursue me. Our kids talk about them all the time. I awake from sleep thinking about them and proceed to spend the next hour praying for them. We can’t get them off our minds. Yet, they still aren’t ours. It’s a heartache that’s hard to explain. But, God continues to show me He is bigger than me. In the past I would have taken this failed adoption placement as God telling us to quit and move on, but my understanding of God is so much deeper than that now. It’s not about me. It’s about Him and doing and saying what will bring Him glory, especially when things don’t go the way you hope. Maybe we won’t ever get to adopt them but we’ve been able to do so much Kingdom work by opening our hearts to them.
We got a call from the boys court appointed special advocate this week and she was calling to tell us how much she admired how we treated the boys. She said she wished they could stay with us forever. She encouraged us to continue to do foster care because she’s experienced so many horrible foster homes and there’s such a need for safe, healthy ones like ours was. Beyond all that, she told us that she admired how upfront we were “with our truth.” She said she doesn’t agree with everything we believe but that she admired that we were living out and acting on our beliefs. So, even if the boys never come back to us, we were able to show her Jesus.
Then their birth mom called and told me that all the boxes I had sent with the boys weren’t given to their next foster home. Instead, they were saved in storage and given to her when the boys came back to her. This seems like a mistake on the county’s part, but in actuality it was a total blessing from a loving God. On the night I packed those boxes of their things I placed two hand written notes to the next people who would care for them. With tears in my eyes, I told the next people all about how special the boys are. I wrote their favorite foods and their daily schedules. I wanted the transition to be as easy as possible for the boys, but above that I wanted whoever read those notes to know how lucky they were to have the chance to love those two boys. Unfortunately, the next foster home was horrific. The boys were treated absolutely poorly. I don’t think my letters would have mattered even if they were given to them. But, God knew who needed those letters most- their birth mom. She told me that as she unpacked their things and those letters fell out she was in tears reading them. She thanked me for loving them well. So, even if the boys never come back to us we were able to show her Jesus.
Jesus met people’s needs. He didn’t make them get sober first, he didn’t walk away because of their past mistakes. He showed up in all that mess and met their needs. If nothing else, we hope we did the same.