Foster Care: Things that Make You Go Hmm

Ana and water

The other day Ana and I were playing at the park with friends. Her friend took a sip from his water bottle, then passed it Ana’s way. The dad chimed in, “We only share our drinks with family, son.”

The logic made sense to me. It also brought me back to those first few days when Ana came to live with us…

Ana moved in and it was just a day or two before she was reaching for my spoon, my water glass, and my ice cream cone. Her simple and unspoken requests were innocent enough. She was hungry. She was thirsty. She loves ice cream.

Her toddler hands reached.

My adult brain hesitated.

I was mid-gulp of water and caught off guard. The same thing our friend said out loud at the park manifested as a brief internal struggle for me. I too only like to share my glass and my spoon and my ice cream – especially my ice cream – with my family.

The appeals were small. The implications of my response were not. We had just met this child and didn’t know how long she would be with us. How were we going to define this relationship? Was she… “family?”

These are the things you don’t think about when you sign up to be a foster parent. These are the things they don’t train you for. We could not have guessed that something as insignificant as sharing a glass of water, could represent something as meaningful as sharing a life.

The hesitation was fleeting, though this wasn’t the last time I hesitated. Simple things “normal” families take for granted, like cleaning off a child’s bloody boo-boo, and taking family photographs, begged the question be answered again: “How would we define this relationship?”

I tipped the glass up and helped Ana’s little head swig back a mouthful of my water. I handed over the ice-cream cone and watched as a tiny tongue smeared saliva all over my treat. With these seemingly insignificant gestures, we were family.

XO,

Kara

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Love is Sacrifice

birds

This is my first year celebrating Mother’s Day as an “official” mom. The adoption of our daughter was finalized last November and our son was born 3 weeks after that. If I’ve learned anything so far in my short experience with being a mother, it’s that love is bigger than I ever realized, and, that love means sacrifice.

Between being pregnant and nursing, I haven’t had a whole cup of caffeinated coffee in over a year. Couple that with an average of 4 wake-ups per night, and the caffeine restriction on top of the sleep restriction feels like a cruel joke. It seems like decades since I’ve watched anything non-cartoon on TV. I haven’t been to the gym in a loooooong time (okay, not super bummed about this one), and rarely, if ever, do I find time anymore to do things I enjoy like reading books without pictures. So yes, motherhood involves a great love and (what feels to me like) great sacrifice.

As Christians, sacrificial love is at the heart of our faith. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I take this for granted. Sometimes I take for granted the fact that Jesus died for me. Sometimes I forget that Jesus didn’t WANT TO die. Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives right before he was arrested was, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” That’s why 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” Love involves cost.

Beneath the surface of the emotion of love, there are choices. Jesus died for us because he loves us more than he loved his life. I wake-up every time my baby needs me because I love him more than I love sleep. Love is saying yes when we desperately want to say no. Love is doing things we don’t want to do. Love is sacrifice.

love is a choice

This Mother’s Day weekend I am not only grateful for the babies God has entrusted to me, but I am grateful that because of them I am able to understand God’s love a little more. This is how we know what love is. This is the heart of Jesus. This is the heart of a mother.

To all the mommas out there, thank you for the sacrifices you make on a daily basis. Happy Mother’s Day.

Xo,
Kara

 “Let my life be the proof, the proof of your love. Let my life look like you, and what you’re made of. How you lived. How you died. Love is Sacrifice.” – For King & Country