I received a text on Friday that the girls were being removed from our home and placed with a biological relative. Two hours later, they were gone. Just like that. Gone forever. As you can imagine, many tears were shed that day and many days since. Of course we always knew this was a possibility going into foster care, but we were still caught so off guard. Every caseworker from every agency involved in this case have all said this was looking like it was going to be a very long-term placement. Anywhere from a year to forever. The permanency goal had already been changed to unrelated adoption. And yet here we are.
I won't share the details, but the environment that they were sent back to is not good. I do believe that reunifying families is absolutely what's best if the kids will be raised in a healthy, safe, and loving home. But sadly this doesn't appear to be the case and my heart hurts for them.
I've been doing a lot of processing and I would say that my grief can be divided into two categories. The first one is kind of selfish. It's the part that didn't want to let them go. The part that just misses the heck out of them and is heartbroken that I'll never see their sweet faces again. The other part of my grief that I've struggled the most with is thinking about their future and how they're feeling. They had come so far with their trust and abandonment issues and had attached to us like our own children. They called us Mommy & Daddy & Sissy & Bubba and fit into our family perfectly. They struggled with huge anxiety and were always worried that we were going to leave them. And I can't help but think that from their 3-year old perspective, that's exactly what we did. My biggest prayer is that they know just how much they are valued. That they understand that they are loved tremendously and are wanted so very much. And that even when people fail them, they still recognize that God never will.
It's awful how fast Satan starts creeping into your thoughts when something like this happens. He whispers things like, all of this has been pointless. And, there's no hope for these girls now. And, just think of all the 'I told you so's' people are going to be thinking...the same people who are probably glad that they are gone. I wanted to be pissed off at CPS and the judge and their biological family and pretty much the entire world. I wanted to grumble and complain and SCREAM about how broken the system is. I wanted to climb under the covers and sob over what felt like a huge injustice. But I am refusing to let the anger take root in my heart and turn into bitterness and resentment. I know that we serve a just God even when we can't make sense of a situation. I want to try my best to honor Him through all of this and to channel my emotions in a healthy way. And I don't want any of this heartache to overshadow our time with them or the purpose in this all.
And every single day they were in our lives had purpose. Our goal going into this was to be obedient to what we felt God leading us to do. Whether our job was to adopt them into our family forever or if it was just to take care of their basic needs for a short period of time, we wanted to be willing. We're not always meant to understand why God opens some doors and shuts others. Maybe He led us to this to turn our focus outward and to help our children expand their worldviews and to plant seeds of compassion. Maybe to help bring awareness to a huge need. Or maybe just to welcome these children into our home, meet their momentary needs, and then say goodbye and faithfully pray for them every day going forward. I'm willing to bet they didn't have many prayers sent up on their behalf before all of this, but now there is a small community rooting for them. We'll never know the full impact or big picture or if they'll even remember us, but even if our role was just to simply bathe them...and take them to the doctor...and read them books...and play beauty shop...and sing to them...and show them love and affection and what it feels like to be held and wanted and chosen, then that is more than enough and we are thankful we had the opportunity.
God has taught and grown me so much during this process. Every day of this journey has been hard and stressful and exhausting, I'm not going to lie. I have never felt as vulnerable or unqualified but I have also never relied on Him more. It revealed so many of my shortcomings and where my character needs work (and there are a LOT of areas if it isn't already obvious). But the joy of knowing them and serving them far outweighed the hard work. They brought us so many smiles and great memories and our hearts grew bigger knowing them. They taught us that our purpose on this earth is bigger than our little bubble that we were living in and that God's work always brings reward (even when you don't feel like you are doing God's work very well!). He has blessed us richly through this experience.
As I've been processing everything over the last week, God has provided such comfort through a bible study I'm in. We have been studying the story of Moses' birth. When Moses was born, Pharaoh had ordered all Hebrew boys to be murdered. But God protected him. His parents were able to hide him before carefully placing him in a basket in the Nile. After 3 months, his mom had to let her baby go and have faith that God's plan was bigger. I can certainly identify with that. Moses' future looked bleak but he defied all the odds and went on to do great things. As our girls go back to what feels like a hopeless environment, I am so thankful for the reminder that our circumstances don't define us or our future and that with God anything really is possible. There is always hope and He has much bigger plans for our lives than we could ever even dream up.
A lot of people have asked about how Harrison and Harper are doing. We were very intentional about reminding them along this journey that we didn't know how long the girls would be with us and that we were just taking care of them for as long as God needed us to. I told them that their other family misses and loves them so much and has been waiting patiently for their turn to have these sweet girls in their life. They understood that and haven't had many questions at all. They gave them one last hug and kiss, helped buckle them in their car seats, and told them to have lots of fun and that they'd miss them and always remember them. They mention the girls a few times throughout the day when they think of something that reminds them of them or something funny that they used to do or say but they haven't cried a single tear. As a sweet friend pointed out, God protected their hearts just as we have faith He's protecting the twins' hearts as well.
Thank you to all of our friends and family who have called or come by to offer hugs and encouragement and who are joining us in prayer for these girls. It means a lot that they were special to you, too.
|thankful for good friends with listening ears...and comfort food :)|