Monday, February 15, 2016

Walking the Long Road

On our way home from a family weekend away, Ralph and I were talking about the year.  What. a. year.

We talked about hardship and change, our propensity for sameness now that we are *ehm* older.  We talked about ministry and the church, foster care and our own boys and how they are growing.

Last summer, when we had the girls, our time with them was fast but furious.  We were able to live with them through all kinds of growth and milestones, lovely trips and experiences, river play, book reading, and all of the baby-toddler things.  Along with that came a lot of hard stuff: trauma, loss, a tiny raging girl, and adrenaline.  In fact, I've come to the conclusion that I was in a state of heightened-adrenaline fueled parenting the entire time that Sweet Pea was here. I am dealing with secondary trauma  I'm in slow recovery.

In October the girls were moved, and we were hit by the immense loss and hole that is left when someone is no longer in your home & hearts.  


That day the boys spent extra time with the girls, reading books, cuddling, all of the sweet things.  I held them and hoped my heart wouldn't actually explode.  Before nap time Nate sat and read stories, then my dad came and took the boys to ice cream and distraction.  I flew around the house and gathered all of the things.  Bags and bags of clothes, blankets, toys, bottles, diapers....all of it.  I took it out to the driveway so that Sweet Pea wouldn't see them when she woke up.  She didn't know; how could I explain to a 2 year old that she was leaving and going to a new home? 

When she woke up I brought her downstairs for a snack and put on a new princess dress we'd gotten her for Halloween.  Oh, she loves princesses.  When the case worker arrived I brought the girls out to the car.  We loaded it all up and I put them in the car, doing my best to hide any emotion.  The case worker shot me a look at one point, I was going to cry.  Her look said, "don't you dare."  I really didn't want to scare the girls.  I pasted on a smile and mustered my hope.  I handed Sweet Pea her favorite blanket and bedtime story, a cup of milk.  "Are you coming back, mommy?" she asked me as always when I tucked her in a strangers' car for a parent visit.  

"When Mommy Amanda takes care of you, I will always come back.  When Mommy J takes care of you, Mommy J will always come back for you."  

"I'll see you later, " I said.  

Then I ran upstairs to my room, 13 again, slammed my door and wept.  I yelled, maybe I screamed. All of the beauty and the trauma was gone.  


The following week we finished packing up our things from our home of 5 years and hauled it all to our new home.  Thankful for the distraction, I worked furiously for the next weeks to get our new home settled.  When I came to the cribs, boxes of baby clothes and blankets I pushed them all into the room that was meant for the girls.  I closed the door.  

Settling into the house, we had another big change.  We left our church of 5 years.  That change had been coming, over a year we'd planned to move to a different church.  Looking back the timing wasn't awesome.  It has been another huge loss for us.  It grieves me that when you choose a different church relationships are strained or dissolve.  

Since all of these changes our family has been settling.  I have walked through some immensely difficult weeks with the boys and their feelings about the girls going.   Most of the time when I get into the car by myself I'm crying by the time I hit the main road a few blocks away, my tears stored up for a quiet, undistracted moment. The losses of our connections with our church friends weigh most heavily on Ralph as he was involved there daily within the leadership.  We have floundered through. 

Grief is a long, long road.

Lately I've been thinking of how hard I strive to be ok.  How I don't like to be unresolved and for things to be undone.  Clearly, standing back I can see that life is ONLY undone.  I am forever going to be impacted by the girls being gone.  A part of my heart will forever be with them.  Relationships will go unresolved.  I want to learn to rest in God's sovereignty in all of this.  I don't know why things happened the way they did with the girls, it's certainly not what I hoped for.  I have guilt and so much sadness about it all. I don't know how to heal hearts or even move forward with the losses in my life.  But I do know that God is good.  I know His plans for each of us are good.  I know He is Sovereign.  

I have nothing, in my life, in me to rest in.  But God. 

His mercy envelops me, and I am inexpressibly grateful.


So I get up each day with hope for new beginnings and knowing that my heart still aches so for those girls.  I get to keep up with them by peeking at the private blog of Mommy J.  I know they are loved and cared for, I know she misses me, too.   I get to love on my boys daily with and homeschool with all of my heart.  Ralph and I are not in a place that we can do foster care now.  Maybe we'll pursue it in the future, maybe not, but we are together in our decisions and we will wander further through life together.   Meanwhile, we'll live, unresolved and learning to rest in God's big goodness.  I'll sing, and I'll keep praying for those sweet girls.