Before anyone signs up to do anything, they usually do some research.  Maybe they know a friend that did something and had great success so they are willing to try it too hoping for the same outcome.  Maybe they watched a movie or a TV show and got inspired to make a change or be a helping hand.  Maybe someone lost a lot of weight and they sign up to do the same program desperate for the same results.  For me it can be as easy at looking at a picture.  I see something advertised.  I google said item.  I make an educated google review decision and either “buy” into it or read a few bad reviews and carry on with my life.

How about foster care.  How did we get here?  I don’t even know anymore.  Why did we even sign up for this?  I’m struggling to remember why we would willingly sign up to put ourselves and our family through this.  I mean, who willingly signs up for pain, trauma, a broken system and decisions that are made beyond your control and what you might think is best?  Somehow we did.  We signed up for this.

People told us the system is broken.  People told us that fostering is hard.  People told us lots of things and yet somehow we ignored all the red flashing lights and signed on the hundreds of dotted lines.

This past week has been hard.  Like, really hard.  I can’t share all that I want to.  I can tell you that I don’t swear (cuss for all your Florida people) but this past week I almost let one or two bad words slip out of my mouth.  ( or maybe more than 1 or two).  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, but I thought it which is basically the same as saying it so that’s where I’m at right now.  Let me tell you a little story that may have contributed to my inner thought swearing.

This past Sunday we were out to breakfast celebrating my hubby’s birthday.  We drove to 3 different restaurants looking for a place to have breakfast on a Sunday morning with a group of 12.  Not an easy task by any means in this brunch loving town we live in.  We found a cute little place, waited a half hour for 4 tables to open up together and sat down to celebrate the man who loves our family deeper than anyone.  My phone rang and I answered it.  “Hi, this is placement calling.  We have a newborn baby girl that needs immediate placement from the hospital…do you have room and can you take her?”   Let me enter in a side bar here….

The night before (less than 12 hours previously) Dan and I were driving home from a date night.  We were talking about foster care and my never ending nagging that I really want a newborn.  I know, I know.  I am crazy.  There is a reason we may have had 7 children in 9 years.  I LOVE babies.  Fresh cuddly, snuggly newborns are pretty much my most favorite thing in the world.  I know they grow up and are only little for like 2 weeks but my heart aches for a baby.  I can’t explain it.  I know they don’t sleep.  I know they are basically the hardest thing ever, yet I long to have one in our house again.  Every time I see a baby Dan knows it’s coming.  I say, “I really want a baby.”  He says, “I know Susan, but we did that 7 times.”  I say, “I know, but I just really want another one.”  He ignores that comment and we move on with our lives.  This conversation happens at least 3 times a week and has been happening for the last 8 years since our youngest was a baby.  On our drive home together, we talked about fostering a newborn and that was ultimately what I thought our foster care journey was going to look like.  I thought we would be placed with a baby, have them for about 6 months and then they’d go back with their family.  We never got that call after we got licensed.  So when they called us for J & J, we felt that was what God wanted for us.  The void is still there in my heart and I can’t explain it.  While we adore J & J and love them greater than I thought possible, they have a mom.  We are just supposed to be here for them for a short time.  We aren’t in foster care to adopt.  That is not why we signed up for it.  Are we open to it?  Yes, maybe…depends on who you ask in our family and how hard our days have been.  I know how hard it would be to hand a baby back after having them for a period of time, but I really do think my heart is prepared for it.  We have kids going to college soon and we can see a light at the end of the very long tunnel…but yet my heart still is aching to love kids that need loving.  Okay, I have gone way off the deep end now…long story short…Dan and I agreed that we would be open to take a newborn knowing that we are not going into any placement for adoption.  So when the call came in less than 12 hours later, it totally had to be a sign, right?

“YES!  We would love to take her.”  For the next 10 minutes I sat on the phone with placement giving the name and ages of all our kids, room assignments and any information they needed.  “Okay, the CPI will be calling you soon when they are on their way with the baby.”  So I hang up the phone and Dan looks at me.  He said, “What did you do now, Susan?”  I tell him.  We talk about it with the kids.  We go around the table and ask them to say “yes” or “no” to taking in a newborn.  100% of the 12 of us said “yes”  because we are CRAZY PEOPLE.

Something felt off.  This was too easy.  Would God seriously just answer my prayer just like that?  Normally, my type A planning everything mode would have kicked in and I would have gone straight to target to buy every pink thing possible.  Instead we went home.  I cleaned a bit, worked on lesson plans and I think I might have even closed my eyes while watching the Packer game.  About 3 hours after the initial call I decided it was time for me to call placement back and let them know the CPI never called.  I guess I expected them to just show up with the baby and we would go with the flow and get what we needed after we had her.  I called placement back, they had to call the CPI and then they called me back.  I was told the baby needed another couple of days in the hospital and we would be called for her when she was ready to go home.  I asked if I could go hold her (the mom had already been discharged) and was given the run around.  Okay, this will be perfect.  I’ll have a couple more days to prepare.  My mom is flying down later this week so I thought I’d call her and see if she could come down early to help us.  In my gut, something was off.

Later that evening, I saw someone post a picture of a newborn baby girl they got placed with on our foster care support Facebook group.  Could this be the baby we were supposed to get?  What is happening?  I messaged the other foster mom on Facebook and we chatted for a bit.  I am still not sure if that was the baby girl we got called for, but it seemed very suspicious to me.  I called placement back and asked again about the baby girl and was assured that our baby girl was still in the hospital for a couple more days.  Monday morning came and I still had this weird feeling.  I just didn’t want to prepare for a newborn if the baby would never come home to us.  So I called placement again and was given the same information.  About an hour later placement called me and told me that our sweet baby girl was ready to be discharged and the CPI would be calling me to make arrangements to pick her up.

While I was on the phone with placement making arrangements to pick up the baby, she said, “Oh, hold on…she’s already been placed with someone else.”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  After getting put on hold, getting hung up on”accidentally”, never getting called back and phone calls to the placement supervisor 2 times a day since Monday, I have yet to hear back from anyone at placement.

While I could go on and on about feelings and emotions and frustrations and disappointments, I have to trust that those 2 baby girls are just where they need to be and with whom they need to be with.  However, that isn’t stopping my heart from hurting.  I get it.  We have a lot of kids.  If I were placement, I wouldn’t think it’s a good idea either to put a baby with us.

I want to rip open my heart, show them how big it is and how much love it has to give a baby.

I don’t know if anyone can really understand my heart.  I don’t know why I have this aching desire and passion like I do.  I like my sleep.  I have a full house with kids I love and adore.  Why can’t God just take away this burning desire?

This mixed with things I can’t share about foster care has left me feeling pretty sad and confused today.  I am trying to focus on the right things as to why we are doing this and blah blah blah…however at the end of this day, I am heartbroken.  God knows it all.  All things are in His perfect timing.  I know this and I believe this is 150% the truth.

No one told me this kind of stuff would happen.  No articles I read or google reviews told me that foster care would plain SUCK some days.  No one told me my heart would be ripped out, stomped on, and lied to.  No one told me I would have to watch my own kids cry and struggle with how broken the system is.

Yet, tomorrow is a new day.  A new sun-rise.  It is another day to make a difference, if even in the smallest way.  I will focus on that as I get my full nights sleep tonight instead of being up all night with a newborn that I think I should have had.  Isn’t life funny when you think you know better than God?  Tonight I will trust that He has greater plans for me and our family than what I have….still, it isn’t as easy at it sounds.