Sunday, October 18, 2015

Our Journey Into Foster Care: Part 1

Wow! It's been a long time since I've posted a new entry, huh? I always tell myself I'm going to do better and make this blogging thing work, but sheesh! Life is full of obligations and responsibilities, and just too many options on Netflix these days! The latter has probably taken the majority of my "free time" and I'm not liking that too much. So, instead of always waiting for another hot topic or an interesting discussion to spark my inner need to write, I'm going to write about my crazy life. For too long I've thought it was ordinary and boring and always sought to spice it up. But, I've found a nice balance to that here recently. My life is pretty interesting... full of unexpected twists and turns. The realization of this has brought an inner peace and contentment that wasn't there before. And yet, I have this drive to be different and make the most of every moment of every day in whatever season of life I'm in. What can be better to write about than just that?

Everyone's fascinated with stealing someone's diary or listening to the juicy gossip of someone else's life... So here's mine served on a silver platter for all who are willing to read. I won't promise everything will be chronologically presented, but I'll try my hardest to tie it all together in a way that at least slightly makes sense.

The current adventure in the Benfield home is, as said in the title, foster care. Dun duh duh DUH! It truly has been just that... and we haven't even had kiddos placed with us yet! Aaron and I both agreed that we wanted to foster and adopt before we were even married. Still, for years I let so many different feelings keep me from actually jumping in.  At first, it was just the I'm not ready for kids yet feeling. While I've always known they were amazing little creatures that bring untold joy, I also knew your first years of marriage were just as special and meaningful, and I wanted several of them with my new hubby. Our plan was 3 - 5 years, and I can say with all my heart that I wouldn't trade those years for anything! After the 5 year mark, I wasn't getting pregnant. To be completely transparent here, I was too bitter for foster care. I knew I could love any child like they were my very own, but I felt it was entirely unfair to have to go through so many leaps and bounds to make it happen, when it could happen so naturally and simply for others. Then, let's address most women's thoughts on the matter... I didn't want to have to give a child up! How did God expect me to take a child in my home, give him/her all my love, all my heart, and all my affection just to have them ripped away from me? So, for the last 8 years, I let immaturity, unpreparedness, bitterness, and fear of sadness keep me from doing what I knew in my heart I needed to do.


Aaron and I signed up for classes in January, finished up in August, and had our final home study in October. We go for our physicals in two days and once those are in... we will be open. I can't even begin to tell you the joy we are experiencing. I have no doubts that it wasn't God that changed my heart and views on this incredible opportunity. It did require a lot... It was tiring, expensive, and a tad bit lonely, but it's for sure been the most exciting ride of our lives.

I learned so much while taking the classes, especially in trying to understand what goes on in the minds and hearts of the child... and even the birth parents. What used to be disgust for them turned into empathy. Once you start to view them as parents who love their children, but just weren't supported enough to know how to properly handle the situations that parenting presented, it was easier to change your outlook on "giving children up."

The thing is... You're not giving them up. You're giving them back to whom God intended to have them. A lady that spoke to us our final day of class said this, "I'm a Christian and I realized I had an anger problem toward giving children back to people that I felt couldn't raise them as good as I would. But God spoke to me and said, You can't be one of Mine and want something so bad that you're willing to take it from someone else." When she said those words, I felt them sink deep into my heart. God allowed that child to be born to those parents, and they should have the opportunity to raise them... if they show the willingness to take the steps necessary to be a proper parent. Thinking of Aaron and myself as mentors and possibly the only support system someone has... Imagining their improvement and seeing that family brought back together... that is beautiful. That is something I want to be a part of. And, if for some reason, that parent decides it's not worth it to change, then I will know that God wants that child to be mine... and I will gladly accept.

Over and over in the Bible God says He will defend and protect the fatherless. He promises to bring them justice. He says when your mother leaves you and your father forsakes you, He will pick you up. Well, I want to be the tool that He uses to do that for as many children as I can.

I know that my life is about to drastically change. I'm going to deal with things that I couldn't even comprehend right now if I tried. I will experience a new type of sorrow. No doubt I may have to pray through some frustration or anger. I will understand a whole new meaning of the word tired. I'm going to experience the difficulty of finding a babysitter. I will hear the knock on the door as I try to bathe in peace. It will be me that gets stared at in the grocery store as my child decides they're not too happy. My OCD has no choice but to leave... because my house will not maintain its cleanliness as it has thus far. The list could go on and on. But, you know... I'm going to be tucking some babies into bed at night. I get to make fun lunches. I will know who Doc McStuffins and Paw Patrol are. I will have an excuse to jump in the ball pit. I will get bear hugs and sloppy kisses... Pictures drawn of me and for me... I will teach an adorable little soul how to write their name or tie their shoes. I get to put the coolest Band-Aid on the sorest knee. I get to pour myself into someone who needs me...

That little guy above... Well, he was the very first gift we purchased for our future child. I was given some great advice by a friend, who adopted a beautiful little girl 2 years ago... I've taken that little elephant and held it and squeezed it and prayed over it and poured all the love I could at this point into it. It helps put my tiny, fast approaching miracle into something tangible for me. Something I can hold onto... literally.

 I can't put into mere words the emotions I'm facing in this stage of life. All I know is that I couldn't be more grateful or eager. There's something about knowing you are right where you're supposed to be... doing just what you're supposed to... with the people you're supposed to do it with. It's a peaceful feeling. Knowing I'm going to be called mommy at sometime in the nearer future is precious. And knowing you have the potential to change multiple families' lives... Well, that's pretty much the best thing ever.

 This is the end of the beginning stage of the rest of my life. I hope you choose to read about it!

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