I grew up in the church. It was, and is, an important part of my life.
Athena at church
In children’s classes, I heard about missionaries going to far away places. I learned there were abandoned children languishing in places I’d never been. I wanted to help. I wanted to go. I really wanted to be a missionary serving countless children.
Mothering is in my DNA. It’s the most natural instinct for me. I knew I could do it. And that’s what my heart set sights on. That’s where I expected to find children I would adopt.
Although my dad was in and adopted out of the child welfare system in Canada, I had no knowledge of it. That’s not something that came up in lectures at school or lessons at church. No one, in my vast community, had anything to do with that system.
It didn’t come to my attention until I was in my late teens. Discussing it with friends and family I was met with a great deal of resistance. Me going across the world to work in an orphanage was seen as noble. Me wanting to foster and adopt here in Canada was labeled as selfish. “There are lots of good Christian couples doing that.” The problem became the fact that I was single.
So I waited for that to change. When neither that nor my desire to parent vulnerable/abandoned children changed, I made a choice to step into missional living.
Eventually most of my family and friends came around. But it’s still a hard sell. The government graciously pays me to foster. Since I care for special/high needs kids I receive a bit more than average. The provincial government has come to recognize the challenge of adopting wounded children. They now offer a subsidy to adoptive parents. That enables me to remain at home working on connecting with my daughters and helping them to heal.
I’m very grateful for the financial support that makes my everyday life possible. I do my best to steward that responsibly. And add to it by making tutus, selling tea, doing some catering, making freezer meals for friends, editing manuscripts for fellow writers, and anything else that I can manage.
My children want for nothing and, hopefully, my efforts will instill in them a proper work ethic. Overall, we manage fairly well. But now I’m faced with the necessity of buying a new vehicle. Our careful budget doesn’t leave much room for that.
The daily struggles I share with you here aren’t glorious. Much of my mission is not. Some days it’s nothing more than meals and dishes in the midst of lots of anguish. The progress I make is slow and, at first glance, insignificant. Like my foster child not fully melting down over an unavoidable everyday task that usually undoes her. The fact that she argued, stomped her feet, and then eventually did what was required is huge progress in her own journey.
Parenting in this context is vastly more difficult than I ever
Athena at a princess party at the book store
imagined. I don’t always do it perfectly or even well all the time. But I’m doing it. And that matters.
It’s not countless children I reach, but a small number who I walk with on a daily basis. Rarely is it picture perfect. But it’s an opportunity I can’t leave to lots of other couples. It’s one I am compelled to complete in my present state.
And, at the moment, it’s something I need your help with. We’re in need of a newer van to get us to things like church and princess parties and doctor’s appointments and what not. I appreciate the time you take to read my ramblings. And would appreciate your help as I forge on in this wonderfully unusual calling.
It’s not as exciting as heading overseas, but I can’t help believing that what I do matters. The lives I minister to matter. And I know you feel the same. Thank you for journeying with me.