I thought I was ready. Driving to the DCBS office, just me & Sweetheart, I turned the music off and said a prayer out-loud for the encounter that was about to take place (similar to below but not verbatim..).
♥Father God, prepare my heart to meet her Mom & Dad. Give me the words to speak to them, a non-judgmental mind & heart, and help me to show them compassion and love…that they may feel, KNOW, that their daughter is with someone who really cares and wants what’s best for their whole family. Be with us today and through this entire journey. May Your will be done..Amen.
I walked into the building for the “10 Day Meeting” and there she was. Mom. The woman who birthed this Sweetheart months before & who now sees me, the “other mother” holding her daughter. Me, the one who now has the privilege of feeding her daughter, rocking her daughter, bathing her daughter, kissing her daughter’s sweet chubby cheeks.
Her: “Can I hold her?”
Me: “Of course! I’m Angela, it’s so nice to meet you. She is so sweet.”
I handed her over and watched Sweetheart’s mom and dad hold her for the duration of the meeting.
I was flooded with an unexpected level of emotion. I did not realize just how HARD this would be. This is NOT how God intended parenting to go…foster parents co-parenting with birth parents who are presented with a plan on how to get their own daughter back into their arms & their lives.
It’s awkward quite frankly. I was sweating in my chair as I was asked to report on Sweetheart’s most recent Dr appointment and her “current update.” I have been her “Mommy” for just 10 days and I am reporting to her Mom & Dad across the table. I smile and finish by telling them how blessed we feel to be able to take care of her and that she is doing great and adjusting well.
I gave them a small gift bag filled with snacks, waters, and a photo album with several pictures of Sweetheart from our week+ together. I wanted them to see that she is happy. To see that she is cared for here and loved and treated like our own. I wanted them to have some place to keep all her pictures I plan to print periodically as a keepsake for them (and her). But I feared anything I did or said would not help the level of hurt they feel… and what if it makes it worse?! I determined that doing nothing is not going to help so I went with the “doing something” plan… and prayed it would be received well. Dad asked for my number, thanked me for taking care of his daughter, and I provided my Google Voice number (I highly recommend Google Voice as it is FREE and allows you to keep your own number private but still be able to text etc on a different number from your own phone!). I told them it was a Google Voice number and that I use it for all foster care communication and that info was well received (i wanted to be honest).
The portion of the meeting that I was supposed to be in attendance for came to a close and I was excused. Sweetheart stayed with her parents for the remainder of the meeting and a visit and then would be returned to us at our home by her caseworker after that.
It was a strange car ride home for me. Quiet. And thoughts flooded my mind. A (very difficult) hour or so passed until she returned to the house. I cried during that time because I think it finally all became SO real and raw. But after some tears and conversation with my mom, my foster mentor, and the caseworker I was back to that feeling of indescribable PEACE. That we are doing what we are supposed to do and that He is in control and His plans are always good. Even if we don’t get to see the whole story on this side of heaven. I trust she is in our care now for a reason and that is all that really matters right now. Worrying about the future never helped anyone.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
During that “10 Day Meeting” a visit schedule was established and it was determined who would supervise each visit & where. The next Monday rolled around and we were getting ready to drive to visit #1. My husband called and surprised me saying he was on his way home from work early and wanted to come.
I had planned to take the 3 kids myself, drop Sweetheart to her visit, and hang around the area with my two running errands or visiting my mom’s place. My husband joining was a little last minute change in plans that I believe was inserted by God because of what came next.—> Driving to the meeting, about half way there, we got a call that the parents could still come but the supervising party could not. We could cancel the visit or we could agree to supervise a shortened visit.<—
My husband agreed that since he was now coming we would supervise. I would take the kids on a little “adventure walk” and my husband would supervise the visit. We “just so happened” to still have a picnic blanket and toys in the trunk from the night before when we played outside on the grass at my mom’s with Sweetheart while the older kids ran around. So we offered to set that up on a grassy area nearby so the parents could sit with Sweetheart and have a little play picnic too. Mom wiped tears from her eyes (she was understandably upset that the visit was maybe not going to happen) and thanked us for sacrificing our time for their family (which is WHY we got into this…to help families in need).
Every step of this process has exploded my faith in God. I see Him in all the details. I feel Him in the joy and peace in my heart and soul. I hear Him in the giggles of my children and Sweetheart…in the prayers from my almost 4 year old’s mouth…and in the sweet conversations between my kids and Sweetheart.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”
Please continue to pray for Sweetheart (God will know who that is) and her family. Pray for His best for their lives. And pray that our family can be the support and love they need…for as long as they need.
♥ Happy Fall Y’All!