About five years ago, I began dreaming about having twins – foster babies to be exact. So when Ikea had green cribs on sale for $50, I bought two. Since then the cribs have been used in various combinations – … Continue reading
Tomorrow I will make my own breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ll do dishes, clean up, and likely put away laundry. There won’t be gifts or accolades. I have no spouse and my children are too young to do much for me.
That’s alright. I look at them and my lovely house and think, “Not long ago this was all just a dream.”
It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve arrived at the place I always wanted to be.
I’m a mother to 4 exceptional children. Two are completely mine. One is in my care possibly temporarily. The newest addition will soon be completely mine. April 5 I got the long awaited call saying I’d been selected to adopt a little boy. After a transition period, he officially joined us on April 25. In about 6mths the adoption will be finalized. Unlike the process with Raine and Athena, I’ve been informed I can’t post anything identifying about him until everything is completed in the courts. So, sadly I can’t share his cute little face yet. But will tell the story of how he came to join us in a future post. It’s a wonderful tale.
I don’t really mind that my Mother’s Day will be filled with the usual mundane tasks. It’s a blessed reminder of the miraculous fact that I am a mother.
Apparently it’s National Single Parent’s Day. I didn’t necessarily set out to become a single mom. But I’ve never feared the prospect. When God first spoke to me about adopting, He said I might do it alone. At the time I was 10yrs old. The only alone I could imagine was a husband dying or divorcing. So that’s the scenario I played out with my Barbie dolls.
As a teenager, I felt more strongly that I would adopt before marrying. By then, outside the church, women were doing that. Then, I fell in love with someone who loved everything about me – including the crazy dream of adopting. At that point, adoption was still primarily done when you couldn’t have children of your own. Never was it the first choice. But I wanted it to be mine.
Over the past decade, I’ve watched the church rise to embrace adoption as a calling. It’s a powerful testimony of Jesus choosing us as we choose to love the least of these among us.
I tell my daughters that God knew I would be their mother – He made us for each other. “Then why didn’t He just give us to you at the beginning?” Raine often asks. Why didn’t He spare them the pain of beginning elsewhere under less than ideal circumstances? I don’t know. “Because He hoped things would be different. He wanted things to be good for you. He let your birth parents have a chance to work with Him. But He got me ready just in case,”is the answer I give her.
When I finally felt ready to pursue fostering, a dear friend informed me that any children I cared for would be cursed by God. She told me I was going outside of His desire for family – a mother and father – and because I was defying divine design my children and I would live outside of God’s blessings. Her words stopped me in my tracks. Though I didn’t agree, I found myself blocked for several years as I processed that thought. My idea of fostering and adopting as a single woman was foreign to the circles I moved in. Most people didn’t take me seriously when I first started talking about it. But when I began moving towards it, I realized how opposed most people were.
Because of that and other reasons, my relationship with that friend came to an end. I grieved for a long time while I continued to grieve the loss of the man I’d fallen in love with. For reasons I still can’t fully understand, that relationship exploded. Was it all for the best? I really don’t think so. But it’s how it worked out. There’s nothing I can do about my lost love. Believe me. And there’s nothing my girls can do about their ill-equipped birth parents. That’s just how it’s gone. We have to come to a place of acceptance.
I didn’t intentionally set out to defy perception. God created me to be a mother. It’s in my DNA. “Mom” was my nickname as a teenager. That’s how everyone saw me becuase that’s who I am. Would it be better to have a husband walking along side me? No doubt. But I wasn’t willing to forfeit my calling when that opportunity didn’t come togehter. So, I have become a single mother.
It may be more difficult than parenting with a partner. Since I’ve never had one, I can’t say for sure. I’ve been told that it is. I am only one person. That means that some of the kids have to wait for my attention sometimes. The dishes don’t always get done right away. Sometimes I run out patience. But, I think, that can be said of any parent – even when there are two.
My children are blessed. They have one parent who loves them. They have one parent who always puts them first. They have one parent fully commited to raising them into the amazing women they’re meant to be. I am one person, it’s true. But I don’t see that as a disadvantage. My kids have one person completely devoted to them. And that counts for an awful lot.
Today is thanksgiving. There are many things I’m thankful for. My daughters, of course, and our amazing life. This year I’m struck by the family and friends surrounding us. In deciding to pursue foster care and adoption as a way of life, I counted the cost. I knew full well the sacrifice involved. Gladly, I lay down my own desires and pursuits in favour of parenting children I did not birth. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes not, I deal with problems I did not create – like prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. I do this because I’m compelled to fulfill the great commission in this manner.
This is not the ministry most of my friends and family have chosen. Still, by association with me, they are drawn in. It’s messy, challenging, and frustrating most of the time. It’s Christmas dinners served in my pj’s because my teenage foster child forgot to take her medication and I didn’t realize until we’d spent a horrific morning trying to get the turkey ready. It’s holes in my walls and knifed wallpaper (something my then 4yr old managed with a butter knife). It’s a child who takes her cough to the extreme, overpowering any conversations around the Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s buying gifts for children you’ve never met and may never see again. It’s me being tired and depleted all the time. It’s me forgetting to confirm whether or not I need you to babysit. It’s things like this that my family and friends are drawn into.
I’ve chosen this wonderfully unusual life. They haven’t. But I am eternally grateful that they have chosen to love me and all that I’m trying to do. I love that I have friends who choose to donate their time to my business. I have family who respond by saving, “It’s wonderful to have a full table,” when I say my friend’s three foster children will be joining us for Thanksgiving. I have friends who drop by with banana bread or a dozen buns when I suddenly find myself with two extra little ones. I have friends who invite us back after Raine has a complete meltdown – hitting her sister and informing all of us that I’m not her mother so she doesn’t have to listen to me. I have friends who come by in the evenings when kids are asleep because I really can’t get out.
When I chose this life, I didn’t consider what it would cost the people in my life. Thankfully they have been willing to pay the price for me to pursue the calling on my life. I am grateful for the support and encouragement they offer. I am grateful for their willingness to accommodate my unusual life. I am grateful that they consider it to be as wonderful as I do. Thank you.
Today is father’s day. It’s true – my girls don’t have an earthly father. As Athena is quick to point out, “we have God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. That’s three!!” More than the average kid.
Our life is wonderfully unusual, I know. Intentionally I chose to become a single mom. I’m ok with that. And so are my kids. Since their arrival, I’ve been it – the only parent around. To us it’s just the way it is.
Of course in a perfect world, I would have married when I was young and the foster children who come to me would be greeted by a lovely mom & dad. That didn’t happen. I’m grateful God isn’t hung up on perfection. He’s willing to bend the rules. In doing so He brought me two delightful girls that I get to keep forever.
Today I’m focusing on what my kids have instead of what they don’t.
They have a mom who loves them. Even though I fail repeatedly, I’m not giving up on them or myself. Relationships aren’t easy. Each is an opportunity to grow in grace and compassion. I’m making the most of every opportunity!
My girls have a great community who love them. We’re surrounded by other families and individuals who come alongside us. My daughters have friends they’re growing up with – something that was and is a very special part of my own life.
My own family have embraced Raine & Athena. It’s hard to believe that some extended families don’t welcome adopted children. Sadly, this can be the case – especially when the children come broken and, at times, resistant to love. Thankfully my parents, siblings, and their spouses have all welcomed the addition of my children.
My daughters have a stable home life. They lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10). The Lord has provided a beautiful home and the necessary finances to keep us afloat. He’s opened the doors for me to be home full-time with my kids. This means the world to them and me.
Most importantly, my daughters have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for them. They live in abundance – lacking nothing.