One year ago, I was stuck in a hospital bed with a PICC Line (permanent IV) coming out of my arm, a drain coming out of my stomach and way more questions than I had answers. I didn’t know the next several months would include multiple, painful and traumatic medical procedures. Or that I would be driving 14 miles every day for IV infusions. Or that I wouldn’t take an actual shower for close to five months. Or that I would experience a miraculous healing. Or that I’d be back in the hospital just a few months later with the same issue, the aforementioned healing seemingly not complete.
One year ago today, I thought it was another closed door. I thought our last viable option to build a family was no longer going to work out. I was writhing with anger. I was grasping onto whatever hope I could find. I started posting daily updates on Facebook and Instagram as a way to make the hope and grace tangible to myself.
And it was through these posts that this site came into being. My husband and I realized my writing needed to have a more official home. We realized we’d been given a story to share and this site was one way to be good shepherds of that story.
When I was researching how to go about starting a blog, I read over and over how you’re supposed to pick a lane and stay in it. Pick one topic you’re particularly fond of or one that is prominent in your life and make that the focal point of your blog.
But how am I supposed to write about our foster care journey without writing about our infertility journey? And how can I write about our infertility without writing about Glory? Or my chronic illnesses? They’re all so deeply, intimately intertwined that I would do an injustice to the story God has given me if I wrote about one and not the other.
One year ago today, if you would have told me I’d be watching my five month old foster son fighting a nap in the swing after playing hard all morning, I would have either burst into tears of disbelief or laughed bitterly in your face. Because from my hospital bed, I couldn’t look up to see tomorrow. I couldn’t see how my pain, my medical trauma, my illness would lead to being a stay-at-home mom, fighting for this little boy’s rights as a ward of the state. From where I lay in a bed in the north suburbs of Chicago, I couldn’t see how a itty bitty baby from the far south suburbs would one day show up in my living room, turning my life upside down, inside out and right side up again.
We are two months into this journey. I have cried tears of brokenness, sleeplessness, frustration, grief and heartbreak. I have laughed with joy and excitement. I grit my teeth with anger and fear as situations spiral out of my control. I have learned that one of the only ways to get this little man to sleep is to hum verse after verse after verse of “How Great Thou Art.” I’ve learned that he will stop whatever he is doing just to listen to me sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” waiting in hopeful anticipation for my fingers to dance up his legs and belly in spider-like fashion.
Two months into this journey, I have learned that I can love another little human being and still yearn for his reunification with his birth family. I’ve learned that it’s because I love this little man that I want him to be reunified. I’ve had to unlearn the thought that my way of raising a child is not the only right way to raise a child.
I’ve had to learn to not have or hold any sort of expectations. When expectations are held, hearts are broken, hopes are dashed and frustration builds up. Not only in dealing with foster care, but also with parenting in general. It took me weeks to realize that if I tried watching a show or reading a book or do anything that I wanted to do when the baby was awake, it would only lead to frustration as the baby would undoubtedly squawk for my attention, drawing me away from what I was doing and demanding my focus.
And probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that I have so much more to learn. The baby has taught me so much and I can learn so much more from him if I allow myself to stay pliable to all he has to teach me.
The same goes for God. It has been hard for me to find time to squeeze Him into this new crazy life of mine. Without fail, if I sit down with my Bible or devotional, the baby awakes. If I try closing my eyes to pray, I fall asleep. “You should be spending time with God instead of writing this post!” you might be thinking.
Through writing I am communing with Him. I am looking back on these words as they form memories, remembering where God has brought me, how much He has blessed me, how much He has stretched and taught me. Through my written words, I’m able to see His goodness and grace in my life. Through this post, I am able to see a work of art being crafted before my eyes, with strokes of sorrow, dashes of joy, dots of pain, swipes of anticipation and anxiety. It’s a beautiful canvas covered in the pattern of my life.
Through all of this, I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m changing. All because God has gifted me another day, another breath, another year. And, even if it’s filled with grief and pain, He will still be good. Because He was good last year. He’s good today. And He doesn’t change. That is about all I know with utter certainty.
God is good. Even when life is not, He is so, so good.