Two years ago we did something we had firmly stated (multiple times) that we would NEVER do. We simply couldn’t. You see, it didn’t fit our current family. Our kids were still too new in our home to disrupt this way. We didn’t really have the time or the space. We were really too young yet ourselves. We simply were not ready.
But. God was ready. And. We said ‘yes.’
Yes…to disrupting birth order.
Yes…to making the newest child in our family the oldest.
Yes…to a preteen boy.
Yes…to fostering an older child.
Yes…to the boy who will soon be our son.
Here’s the thing. By human standards…we truly weren’t ready.
We didn’t have a vehicle big enough for the family.
We were going to be adding in a 3rd school to the mix.
We had nothing. NOTHING for a boy his age. No clothes. No essentials. No experience.
We had toys that were pink. And toys for babies or toddlers. And that’s it.
We had 5 other children. None of whom we had known since birth.
We had a family dynamic in the home that was far from ‘normal.’
We had always said ‘never.’
We had no clue how to parent a pre-teen. I know that’s technically true of every parent and their oldest child, but in our case we were being introduced to the preteen on the day we were asked to parent him.
We had a bedroom…but there were pipes sticking up out of a gaping hole in the floor, the wall plaster was falling in a little, and there was only patches of carpet.
We had a bed…we had recently been gifted another set of bunk beds. But we had no sheets. And no mattress.
We just weren’t ready.
And yet, that phone call. That 30 second bio. It stirred our hearts in a way that only could’ve been God. There was just something about this child. About this story. About the need.
And so, we stepped out in faith. Hubby left to head to the DCS office where our new addition was waiting.
I scurried around at home to move all of our things out of the master bedroom. Our mattress was thrown on the floor of the in process fourth bedroom and we moved the twin bunk into the master.
Hubby and sweet son came through the door. They struggled through homework for nearly 3 hours. (It was important to us to set this up well right from the beginning.) Then they made a trip to Walmart to purchase pajamas, clothes for school, toiletries, sheets, and some toys.
Hubby read him a Bible story, we tucked him into bed, and we tip-toed across the hallway to our mattress on the floor where we lay awake listening to the cries of pain and despair from the other room.
We weren’t ready for this.
It was harder than we ever could’ve guessed. I will not downplay that. We have had valleys so low that we wondered if we would make it through. There were days when we simply could not keep all of our children safe and we had to let go of what we believed were essentials in parenting. We have dealt with behaviors and patterns that we never would’ve allowed in our home before. There were nights we didn’t sleep at all. We had to choose our battles so carefully that sometimes it felt like we weren’t fighting for him at all. Our other children struggled in huge ways. This was a crushing change to them in so many ways. Our strength was taxed far beyond our limits. Our responsibilities were more than we could bear.
All this was true. All this and more. And it was in this place. These valleys of desperation. It was here that we began to see the miracles. True, living, breathing miracles of God in our home and lives.
If the valleys are low, just imagine how high the mountains are! The victories you experience in a desperate battle are sometimes very small in a long journey, but oh! How huge they appear in your day to day life!
Provisions poured in from those who know and love our family and from strangers we had never met. Clothes. Shoes. Toys. Bedding. Winter gear. School supplies. Monetary support. Meals. Hugs.
Our church deacon came over on a Saturday to help my husband turn our 7-passenger van into an 8-passenger.
Another church member came over to work alongside my hubby and completely finish that torn up bedroom. They turned it into a boys’ haven and we returned to our master.
The children of our friends sorted through their own toys to pass some along to the ‘new kid’ whom they also warmly greeted when they met him.
And the prayers. I am not exaggerating when I say that we physically felt the prayers. Those carried us in ways we never knew were possible.
We were surrounded with help from the community as well:
His teachers were eager to set up helps and programs to aid us as we sought to turn his schooling around.
Sunday school teachers took a special interest and were sure to check in to see what we might need or how they could best love him in their class.
The school bus driver was discovered to be a former foster child who was there to keep a special eye on him as she drove him back and forth from school.
There were other strong male role models who were quick to take him under their wings and invite him into their circles of ministry and activity.
We also saw near-daily miracles in our home:
Children who chose to love even when their little lives had been turned completely upside-down.
Children who prayed for and forgave another when they were mistreated.
Children who ‘got’ the mission and chose to work right alongside us as parents.
Children who gave hugs because they were needed even when they weren’t always appreciated.
Wisdom came when we were most desperate.
Forgiveness was granted when we failed yet again.
Hope came in those long nights. Mornings dawned anew.
New, miraculous strength came when we thought we were completely spent. Strength that was not our own. Completely beyond ourselves.
And the biggest miracle of all?
Salvation came to the newest member of our home. Angels rejoiced. We all cried. And suddenly new life began to grow.
We were right, you know. We weren’t ready. Our home wasn’t ready. Our kids weren’t ready. Our strength wasn’t enough. We couldn’t do this on our own. We were right. All this was true.
But don’t you see? This story isn’t about us.
It’s about our great God.
He was ready.