God’s Nipple, Part 2: Life’s a Gas

I couldn’t let the God’s Nipple post die without a sequel. I am going to milk the metaphor for all it’s worth.

Since my last post boldly went where no post has gone before – under my shirt – this post might as well stay there a minute. Humor me while I run the nursing imagery to the ground.

Baby Ziggy has a problem with sucking in too much air while he is feeding. I made that clear. What I did not talk about in my last post were the consequences that are associated with so much nothingness gulping. For Ziggy the result is body scrunching, leg flailing, hand clenching, stomach hardening, seemingly life-altering gas pain. The poor little dear. His face turns red, his eyes squint closed, and he fusses and squirms and wails and flails until the most ungodly of sounds resonate from his adorable diaper-clad backside. He makes noises and expressions only a mother could love, and even I am on the fence when all of that flatulence is going down.

I hate to see our child so tormented, so there are some things I do to try to ease his pain. I give him gas drops. I put thick white cream on his raw red tush. These things won’t fix him, I know. They are just band-aids to his underlying problem. Until the tiny dude learns to face the right way and pony up to the breast bar he will continue to be afflicted by the air bubbles he is sucking in.

Not the best photo, but the t-shirt was perfect.

Not the best photo, but the t-shirt was perfect.

Our little Ziggy is learning his first spiritual lesson the hard way. There are consequences for your actions, precious one. Welcome to the world… where life doesn’t have to suck if you just suck on the right stuff.

Okay, I think I’ve drained this topic dry.

Xo,

Kara

P.S. – Rest assured that Zig’s episodes don’t last very long or I wouldn’t be making such light of his situation. For the most part he is a happy and comfortable boy. 🙂

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God’s Nipple

Teenagers come up with the most outrageous of stuff (which is partially why I love them so wildly). On a youth trip to Moab a few years back, while snuggled into our tent on a dark and starry night, one feisty high-schooler shouted out the most random of phrases as her contribution to the word association game we were playing. “God’s nipple,” she exclaimed!

Beyond that week I never actually thought I would have a productive place to use those words together again. Yet, as I typed up the below I could not think of a title more fitting. Thank you, Gigi Coghlan, for your hilariously irrelevant (and potentially irreverent) comment, which could not be more relevant (and dare I say reverent) in this context…

—-

Three weeks ago I gave birth to the most amazing little boy! Parenting a newborn has ushered me into this crazy new world of making food with my boobs. It is so weird! I cannot get over how incredible the human body is. I also cannot get over how much time I spend in a 24 hour period sitting in one place with my shirt half off so a tiny human can suck on my nipple. Again, it is so weird!

Ziggy does something while he is eating or when he is wanting to eat that cracks me up. I will hold him close to my chest, he will be pressed up again my body, and instead of turning his head to line up with his spine and face my boob, he will swing his unstable neck 180 degrees so his face is looking away from my body. He will then grasp at the air with an open mouth looking for something to fill him up.

I’m like, dude, what’s up with that? Were you born yesterday?

Ziggy at one week old

Ziggy at one week old – Photo cred to Adam Gilbert

I am right there, holding him close, my body warm, my voice beckoning, my hands offering guidance, my nipple on his cheek, and still he fights against me. He resists. Instead of going where I direct him he turns his head away from me and towards the nothingness for sustenance. Sometimes, even after he has been eating for a while he will unlatch, pull back, and swing his little neck around in the wrong direction to suckle wide-mouthed into space.

As I sit here, bored and getting my chest milked, his comical little routine got me thinking about how his actions are so very much like our own interactions with God. The creator wants us tucked up against him, warm and cozy, and is offering food so we will never hunger and water so we will never thirst, and yet like infants we turn our precious faces towards the nothingness looking for nourishment.

Thankfully we have a God who cups our head in his hand and gently guides us back to the source of life if we will let him.

Here’s encouraging you today to stop sucking in empty air and to turn your face towards the one who made you. He will fill you up. I promise.

With love,

Kara

P.S. Do you think God has like, a bazillion nipples in order to feed us all? I wonder how many nipples God has…

 

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst…’”

Living Thanksgiving Day With A Black Friday Heart

black-friday-funny

The biggest shopping day of the year is exactly one day after we proclaim to be most thankful for what we already have.

Did that register?

The irony is thicker than mom’s gravy. Our Thanksgiving thankfulness seems cheaper than Black Friday’s cheapest deals. It’s like we can’t be done with giving thanks fast enough.

And sadly, the story is nothing new. It’s a humanity problem as old as Adam and Eve. The commercials and the web ads and the glossy mailbox catalogs are just modern day apples that distract from what is really important. It’s hard to see the apple for what it is when you are in the midst of the story though. Isn’t it?

So before you send your mother-in-law off to buy your family a new Vita-Mix, when you have a perfectly good working blender in your cabinet, put the latest Apple product (pun intended) on your want list, or set out for Best Buy and Toys R Us to make all your child’s Christmas dreams come true, I hope my own Black Friday story will have you giving a little thought to the kinds of things you want to fill your home with.

It is a story called “Black Friday Heart,” and it goes like this…

In a few weeks we will bring our second child home from the hospital. For months I could be heard telling my husband (and my co-workers, and parents, and friends, and anyone who would listen), “If I have to bring this baby home to our one-bedroom apartment I am going to flip.” It had been the same old complaint for a long time.

First the one-bedroom abode was perfect for us. It was an answer to prayer. It has cathedral ceilings, is surrounded by gardens and groves, and you have to cross a little bridge over a creek to get to our door.

Then, after a while, our home became not enough. It was only one-bedroom. My husband needed an office. Our guests needed a guest-room.

Adam's office and our cozy dining room. :o)

Adam’s office and our cozy dining room. :o)

When 18-month-old Little A came to live with us the one-bedroom was really not enough. Where would we put our daughter?

Our room and Little A's nook and trundle bed. The bright side - How fun that we get to have a trundle bed in our adult room. We don't even have to make it in the morning. Just push it out of sight.

Our room and Little A’s nook and trundle bed. How fun that we get to have a trundle bed in our adult room. Right? We don’t even have to make it in the morning. Just push it out of sight. :o)

Now we have a newborn about to join the mix and here we still are, in our one-bedroom place, with me pulling my hair out.

The baby's nursery, the dog's room, and Little A and baby's closet all tucked onto a wall in the Living Room. I mean, what's a "Living Room" if you're not "living" in it?

The baby’s nursery, the dog’s room, and Little A and baby’s closet all tucked onto a wall in the Living Room. I mean, what’s a “Living Room” if you’re not “living” in it?

It is simple math. Two adults + two kids + one dog does not = one-bedroom. This was not going to do. This was just NOT ENOUGH.

For two years I’ve been praying hard and complaining harder for something more. I’ve asked others to pray hard for us too. Surely God would provide. He was no idiot. He had to know. We needed MORE.

Can you sense where this story is headed?

God knew what we needed all right.

He knew momma needed a new attitude. He knew momma needed to sit down at the Thanksgiving table and stew in some thankfulness for a while. He knew momma needed to get rid of her Black Friday heart.

And this momma has come to learn that a Black Friday heart is the kind of heart only our good God can get rid of.

You guys, after two years of me praying for a new house and asking others to pray too, one morning I woke up and none of my prayers were answered. But. Everything was different.

I woke up and my glass was not just half full. It was over-freaking-flowing. I suddenly began to see our “predicament” and my “problem” as our “adventure” and something “fun.” I suddenly began to see this part of life as I should have seen it all along.

I woke up remembering how the best time of my life so far was when my husband and I spent 4 months together with one backpack on one motorcycle. We had nothing but each other and adventure and a $12 / day food budget. It was awesome.

Me, my love, and the open road. The year was 2010.

Me, my love, and the open road. The year was 2010.

Add a dog and a few little people to the mix and should I choose to see it this way, we are kind of on the same bike now. We don’t have much, we are snuggled up close, and life is still a big adventure.

I did not need a new house. I needed a fresh perspective.

IMG_7103

Sooo thankful for these two! Little A and Papa. Snuggled up close.

Living in this space we are not able to give our children very many things. Things don’t fit in our home.

But here comes the really neat part…

Do you know what we do have space for? (And you do too, no matter how big or small your house.)

Thankfulness. Joy. Kindness. Appreciation. Love. Adventure. Patience. Fun.

These things are FREE. And they are so good. And we don’t need to buy a bigger or fancier house for them.

Pretty cool how for the important stuff, there is always enough room, don’t you think?

If you too are missing out on an “adventure” because of a Black Friday heart, I hope my story will help you reconsider your perspective. I also hope that this Black Friday we will all remember to cherry pick only the very best deals, keeping in mind that the best things in life are free.

This holiday, let’s fill our homes with the stuff that matters.

From a momma who sometimes forgets that to raise a happy family all you need is love. And, if you want to have a lot of fun, a cardboard box…

Happy Turkey Day!

Kara

P.S. I will let you know how this family-of-four-in-a-one-bedroom-adventure turns out. Wawho!

P.S.S. I hope it’s clear enough that this is not a post against big houses (or people who own them). Rather, against black and lustful hearts. A big house just happened to be one source of mine…

 

projects

Doing projects at the dining room turned art table.

More art. This time in baby boy's room. We needed to mix up the surroundings to inspire creativity, ya know.

More art. This time in baby boy’s “room.” We needed to mix up the surroundings to inspire creativity, ya know.

The Privilege of Being Mommy

I used to take the concept of motherhood for granted. Like it was something that was owed to me. Like the moment I decided I wanted to be a mommy my husband and I would just pull the trigger and bam! – new title – “Mommy” I would be.

It didn’t work out like that. I now know that for many, it does not work out like that.

After three miscarriages I was faced with the harsh reality that motherhood was not something I would be able to control. And after three times the loss you would think that Adam and I would have turned next to a family planning method that was a little more… I don’t know… predictable.

Instead, God had us sign up to be foster parents.

It seems his timing was right. We were not even through the entire certification process and a child was placed with us. In no time at all we had a foster daughter in our home.

I had not had the chance to be mommy to our lost babies.

Was I mommy now?

I had been yearning for the moniker of mother, but the despair of miscarriage had taught me that motherhood was not something I was entitled to.

I was about to meet another mother who, for different reasons, was learning the same hard lesson.

………….

Have I told you about the first time I met Little A’s bio mom?

………….

Little A was placed in our home on a Saturday night. The caseworkers left and we didn’t speak with anyone from the department until Monday morning. On a side note, that was weird. They dropped the child off and then trusted us enough to wait 36 hours before checking back in! But I digress.

Monday morning rolled around and the case worker called. She asked how it was going. She said we needed to get A to a visit with her mother. That day. Like within the next two hours. This was a fast intro into the world of needing to be flexible and, just like with the miscarriages, having no control.

Visit with mom? No problem. In between trying to research and set up daycare for the very next day we would bring A down to the DHS office for a visit.

I presented myself and the little girl to a locked door. The buzzer clicked. I met the case worker in the hallway.

“Should I come into the room?” I asked. “Like, should I meet A’s mom? Or should I stay out of it and let you do the hand off?”

“It’s up to you,” the case worker replied.

That is not what I wanted to hear. There were actually some things I did not want control over. We had to make so many new parenting decisions I just wanted one more to be made for us.

“Well, does she want to meet me?” I inquired. I was curious about her, but scared. What would I say? How would she act? Would she be combative? Crazy? Drugged out? Hateful? What sort of villain was she?

“It might put her at ease to see who A is living with,” the case worker suggested. “Having A taken away has been traumatic for her.”

I reasoned with myself that despite my own fears, maybe if A’s mom saw that I was a fairly normal looking human being she would feel more comfortable. Not to mention, I was more than a little curious about her.

The case worker led me to the closet-sized grey box of an office space “play-room” where A’s mother was waiting. My heartbeat quickened. This was going to be so awkward! The baby was clinging to my neck like I was a life raft. I took a deep breath before I rounded the corner.

A slight adolescent girl was sitting on the edge of her seat. Wearing black jeans and a hoodie with a messy topknot, she looked like your average teenager waiting outside of the principal’s office. She was not combative. Not crazy. Not drugged out. Not hateful. She was just there waiting for people with more power than her to tell her what was next. I could see my own anxiety reflected in her eyes. This was uncharted territory for us both.

I couldn’t help but notice the baby did not reach for her. Did not even acknowledge she knew her, save for the tightened grip on my neck and hair. I held this mother’s baby close and sat down in the windowless room.

I said hello. I introduced myself. I told her what a gorgeous daughter she had. I think I told her she was pretty too. (Because THAT is important at a meeting like this.)

There is no script for this sort of thing. At least not that I know of. If there had been I would have forgotten it anyway. My thoughts were spinning a hundred miles an hour but nothing productive was coming out of them.

I asked the mother if she had any questions for me. She couldn’t think of any. I asked her what her daughter liked to eat and a few other questions I had been pondering since Saturday night.

The mother’s responses were measured. I detected only the slightest quiver in her voice. She seemed resilient beyond her years.

The baby squirmed in my lap and snuggled in closer to me. The room got quiet. Was this mother yearning to hold her child? Was she mad that I was? Was she embarrassed that there was no connection? It didn’t seem like it, but what did I know?

We looked down at the floor. More silence.

The case worker jumped in. She was new to this too but seemed to know what to do. “Kara, A’s mother is concerned about what the foster home is like. She said she is picturing a place where adults are just trying to make money and take in as many children as possible. Almost like a puppy mill.”

“Oh God no. She’s our first and only foster child.” I looked at her intently, trying to reassure her. “Not to mention,” I thought but didn’t say, “foster care would be a pretty non-lucrative way to make money.”

After a few more minutes of nobody really knowing what to do the time came for me to leave. The birth mother would get one hour to spend supervised time with her daughter. I peeled A from me. She screamed, cried and pleaded with her arms like I was handing her over to a doctor for a round of injections. I pulled the Band-Aid off quick, turned my back, and walked out the door.

I beelined it to my car. I kept my head down. Oh how I cried.

Is the maternal instinct so strong that after 36 hours with this child I couldn’t bear to hand her over? Couldn’t stomach her tears?

Was I mommy now?

She had clung to me.

Children have instincts. They know what they need and they know who is giving it to them. Just four days after having A in our care she looked up at me with her Hershey Kiss eyes and she called me momma. So many questions. That felt good, but should I “allow” it to happen? Was that “ok?”

Was I mommy now?

I sought counsel from the caseworkers.

“What should I do? What should she call us?”

They too seemed unsure about the whole thing. Here was yet another unwanted opportunity to exercise our decision making power. We didn’t know what would be best for her in the long run. Somebody, please, tell us what to do!

Adam and I reasoned…

This child was just learning to speak. She didn’t have many words. Teaching her our names felt too formal. She was one-and-a-half for God’s sake. The child needed a mother. And a father. Didn’t she?

I had just been to a talk given by Susie Krabacher, a former playboy playmate and the owner of an orphanage in Haiti. She said she didn’t want the children in the orphanage calling her mother because she didn’t want them to grow up thinking that a mother was someone who came into and out of a child’s life.

She had a good point. We didn’t want that for Little A either. But, we also didn’t want Little A to grow up without knowing the joy of having parents.

A few days later when I picked A up from daycare, older kids in her class called out, “A’s mommy is here.”

Was I supposed to sit them down and explain the whole morbid situation to them?

“Well, technically kids, even though Adam and I drop her off and pick her up, pack her lunches and give her hugs, you don’t have it quite right. It would be more appropriate if you referred to me as….”

Ha. Yeah right.

So while I still wasn’t sure if I was a mommy I decided to just run with it.

And run we did, for the life of a foster child is busy. For the next few weeks Adam or I drove Little A to and from visits with her parents. On a few occasions we stayed with the bio mom or dad through the entire thing.

I was surprised that it was never that uncomfortable with her parents. There were moments, for sure. Like the first time A called me “momma” in front of her momma. I cringed, held my breath, and didn’t know what to do.

The crisis was avoided before it began. The case-aid came to the rescue. She addressed the birth mother with something like, “since Kara and Adam are playing such a vital role in A’s life right now, and A is just learning to talk, it is appropriate that she sees them as a mommy and daddy.”

The mother nodded like she understood. “I don’t mind,” she said.

I believed her.

I wish I could say I was as mature as this young girl.

Three visits a week continued and we got into the routine of the visits happening during the workday. The case-aide would pick A up and drop her off during daycare hours. Weeks passed without Adam or I seeing A’s birth parents.

I could not help but wonder, “what did Little A call her mother?”

A few times I tried to pry. I asked our daughter how her day was. One time I asked her what she had done that day with her mommy. She looked at me confused. “My mommy!” she exclaimed, pointing to me. I attempted to suppress a satisfied grin.

On another occasion I asked A how her play time with her mother was, but this time I called her mother by name. She responded with something completely off topic, like toddlers do.

And then…

After eleven months of calling ME mommy and one week before her biological parents’ trial I asked, “What did you do today?”

“Um,” she said, “I went to the pool with my mommy!”

The smug smile I had worn in conversations past was nowhere to be found. Indeed, she had gone to the pool that day with her biological mother.

Was I still mommy now?

Little A’s statement was bitter-sweet. Two days after the mommy comment and five days before the case went to trial A’s biological mother relinquished her rights.

I was finally going to be a mommy!

Except that I already was.

And I had been for a long time.

And now, despite the relinquishment, A’s bio mommy was too.

Here is what I’ve learned through the foster to adopt process: custody is something that the court can order. The privilege of being “mommy” is not. Our small daughter knows that better than anyone.

I am beyond words excited to be the “on paper” mommy of Little A. I am also hopeful for the future of our relationship with Little A’s bio mom. We are proud of her for the progress she has made and grateful that our daughter has a courageous woman to look up to. God is good.

Whether you are a “normal” mother, a foster-mother, a step-mother, an in-law, an adopted mother, a bio mother, a yet-to-be mother, or whatever else I am missing, motherhood is not something any of us are entitled to.

I pray that not one of us takes for granted what a privilege it is to be called “mommy.”

Xo,

Kara

p.s. The pictures on this post of our family almost did not happen. They were taken just weeks after Little A came into our life and there was so much that was uncertain. I had so many doubts. Were we allowed family photos with this little girl who may not be with us very long? I watched on Facebook as friends posted snapshots of themselves with their adorable babies and children. Was I allowed this same joy?

Was I a fraud? Or, was  I mommy?

Now that we are where we are I am so glad I let my sister convince me to do this shoot!

A Foster Child Is Home

melissayoungphotography.com

melissayoungphotography.com

I just love happy endings!

I have been wanting to update everyone on the court proceedings I discussed in my last post, but it has been a week and I am still speechless. Hospitalized, “potentially due to a ‘hormonal surge'” (don’t worry, I’m fine), and speechless…

So without any extra verbiage and with an awestruck faith, it is with tremendous joy and thankfulness that we share…

Little A will be adopted into the Gilbert family within the next few months!! 

Thank you for reading my stories. There are more to come.

Thank you for your prayers for Little A. I am more convinced than ever of their effectiveness and of God’s power.

When I can articulate more clearly I will share in greater depth.

For now, just so so joyful…

xo,

KG

melissayoungphotography.com

melissayoungphotography.com

(A big thank you to my sis for the stunning photos of Little A!)

Foster Care Judgment Day

Foster to Adopt

melissayoungphotography.com

Have you thought much about your own Judgment Day?

I hadn’t. That is until our more recent visits to the courtroom.

Last Tuesday was a pretrial hearing for Little A’s case. We sat in the gallery of the courtroom several pews behind A’s mother. She sat at the defendant’s table all alone. Her shoulders were shrugged into herself and she looked even smaller than she is in the black and grey hooded sweatshirt she wore. The judge’s bench loomed in front of her. On the other side of the courtroom at the prosecution’s table sat a gaggle of well and colorfully dressed blonde-headed ladies – lawyers and caseworkers – all representing the best interests of Little A. It was impossible not to notice just how lonesome A’s mother was, juxtaposed to the pack of older, educated women at the competing desk. My heart was in turmoil, oscillating between demands of justice for Little A and gut-wrenching empathy for the solitary young mother before me. Her lawyer had called in over the phone – distant representation without a face or physical presence to offer guidance and support.

This was an important day in the courtroom. It was a day to determine if the case would proceed to trial on September 2.

Let me give you a little foster care process background so that you know what brought us to this point…

Biological parents have a set amount of time to work on and complete their treatment plans. In A’s case, due to her young age, the “set amount of time” is one year. If representatives for the child can agree that enough progress has been made on the treatment plan prior to the one-year mark, visitation with bio parents is ramped up and a schedule for reunification of the child with bio parent(s) is put in place. On the other hand, if representatives for the child do not agree that reunification of the child with the bio parents is in the best interest of the child, yet the biological parents still seek to regain custody, the case is brought to trial.

Bringing a child’s case to trial is not ideal. I am told it is an emotional situation for everyone involved and is to be avoided if at all possible. A’s parents and their state appointed lawyers will face off against A’s team of lawyers, caseworkers, and volunteer advocates. A day and a half of testimony will be presented. Witnesses will be called to the stand. Experts will be asked to weigh in. A’s bio parents as well as Adam and I will likely have to take the stand (um – freaking out!). Supporters for either side will fill, or not fill, the seats in the gallery.

If A’s lawyer’s “win” this case, the rights of the biological parents will be immediately terminated. A would essentially become an orphan for a temporary period of time until her adoption day. If the bio parents “win” this case, A will remain in foster care for a newly specified amount of time while the parents continue work on their treatment plans. (“Win” is an inaccurate word to use in situations like this.) From what I understand the case would then go back to trial in some months for reevaluation.

It has been suggested that the experience of a trial will be devastating for A’s parents, win or lose. They will be faced with tough questions on the stand and hard to swallow presentations to the judge of them as people and as parents.

Did I mention that I am also freaking out about taking the stand? Speaking in front of people is hard enough for me. Speaking in front of people, about another person, who is also in the room, whom I hope to have a relationship with in the future, is going to be infinitely more terrifying. Oh man, I don’t even want to think about it. And I’m trying not to – too much – as I’m still praying for one of the other options to come to fruition.

The other options are voluntary relinquishment (best case scenario), or that the parents won’t show up on trial day and the case will default to termination.

Voluntary relinquishment was one of the major points of the pretrial hearing last Tuesday. The judge wanted to hear from the parents that they still intended to go to trial. They could, after all, throw their hands in the air and surrender custody of their daughter. Voluntary relinquishment is the preferred route because trial would be avoided, state imposed termination would be avoided, and more time in flux and in temporary foster care for Little A would be avoided. The parents would also avoid having a termination on their permanent record forever, which carries with it several implications including red flags if they have future children and the inability to ever work anywhere or anyplace involving children. Relinquishment, on the other hand, carries with it no legal ramifications.

It is a choice for A’s parents that I do not envy. It’s a battle for them of head versus heart, desire versus ability, pride versus honesty, and the fight for love versus the strength to surrender in light of it. It is a lot to process and A’s parents are young and largely unsupported. We can hardly imagine being in their shoes. Yet participating in this case has personified the faith we have in the nerve-wracking fact that we too will be sitting at the defendant’s table in front of The Judge some day. I had never visualized this occasion before. Seeing A’s mother there brought the whole thing to life and got me thinking about some important questions…

Will I have an advocate at my trial to represent me, or will I have to speak on my own behalf? Will it be a somber or joyous day? Who will I call to the stand? What will my witnesses say? Who will the witnesses for the prosecution be? Is there testimony I will be ashamed of? And most importantly, how can I make restitution for my choices now?

I have not and do not always love God or others well or enough, but I believe God’s “treatment plan,” in theory, is simple. The Bible says the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest is like it, to love people. Everything else [in the “treatment plan”] hangs on this. This case has reminded me to relinquish my rights on a daily basis and to continue to chip away at the treatment plan. I’d like to avoid the trial all together. How about you?

We should have some answers regarding Little A on September 3. I will keep you posted!

As always, thanks for reading and would love to hear from you.

Xo,

Kara

How Foster Parenting Fosters Faith

melissayoungphotography.com

melissayoungphotography.com

One of the first nights we had Little A I was singing her songs as she was falling asleep. Without much thought I started to whisper the words to Jesus Loves Me. It’s a song I’ve sang a thousand times, but the words had never hit me quite like they did that night. This 18-month-old little darling had just been pulled from all things familiar and placed into the arms of strangers. She had absolutely no control over what was happening to her. She was weak.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I sang familiar words, new circumstances giving this seemingly simple song new meaning…

“Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong.”

In that moment, singing those words, I was surprised by the conviction with which I believed in that last part. I didn’t yet know how my faith would be put to the test.

It is 8.5 months later and we are in the thick of this foster care process. Expectations regarding A’s future change weekly. We are left to question, interpret, and put our spin on the information given to us by “The Team”.  If we felt good about A’s prospects and her future outside our home this whole thing might be less emotional. But the circumstances are what they are and the ups and downs are taxing.

“Do you guard your heart with her?” some friends have asked.

“Guard your heart,” other well-wishers have suggested.

I know that all these friends mean well, but guarding our hearts is the last thing we want to do.  I don’t think God guards his heart in case his people walk away from Him. I don’t think the world needs guarded love like that.

The foster care journey with Little A has been faith testing in the best and worst of ways. Trusting Jesus is something we must surrender to daily. It is not easy. Now, each night, as we tuck Ana into bed we sing “He is strong” as more of a prayer than anything else. As a nightly ritual, when we are done with the song, A looks up at us, puts her hands together in baby sign language, and pleads in her little toddler voice, “More Jesus please.” We couldn’t agree more. We really have no other choice.

Do you struggle with trust like I do? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

With a grateful heart,

KG.