Last Saturday night the house was quiet. Darin was working in the garage and the children were sleeping. I sat down with the laptop, pandora, and a glass of wine, and wrote out a post. And then Typepad's server crashed, so even though I carefully saved while I typed, everything disappeared.
I haven't had the courage to sit down again until now. Considering how many tissues I went through last time...here's to hoping...
Nearly one year ago I wrote out this post to share a bit about our journey into foster parenting and since then life has been full of ups and downs that this calling has brought. I have shared many sweet pictures and stories of this darling (and intense) girl, but haven't talked much about the specifics of her case, as you can understand the necessity of confidentiality.
This week we enter into the next chapter of this journey: saying goodbye. And while we are confident in God's timing and in His provision (I can't wait to tell her the stories of God's faithfulness someday), this is so incredibly hard. There is no way around it: hearts around the Gemmer home are breaking.
The thing I hear the most now in sharing a little of this journey with others is, "I could never do what you're doing."
Most of the time I don't really respond to this comment, because the truth of the matter is, neither can I.
I can't change one more poopy diaper or wipe one more snotty nose. I can't drag myself out of bed to warm up a bottle and stay awake when someone thinks 3am is party time. I can't make one more phone call, attend one more meeting. I can't deal with one more tantrum or babyproof any more rooms. I can't wash another load of laundry, plan for one more mouth to feed, rinse out one more dish. I can't play peek-a-boo for hours. I can't offer grace to biological parents, social workers, judges, and all those involved in the "system" of care. I can't love a baby who isn't mine the way she deserves to be loved.
I can't do it on my own power, by my own effort. I can't. Trust me, I can't.
But here's the thing: God can. And He does. And he uses me to do it.
I know with every fiber of my being that God equips when he calls. I have learned this truth with every twist and turn our year with this girl has taken. My faith has grown immeasurably as I have watched God work through my family. He has used us to touch the life of a girl he adores. We have had the priviledge of being His arms, wrapped around a helpless babe. (My amazingly eloquent husband wrote so well about this here.) Is there any greater priviledge than to be used of God to heal a tiny piece of this hurting world? Is there any greater priviledge than to watch your children be used in the same way?
Yes, you can't love a baby who isn't yours.
You can't say goodbye to a baby you've loved. And still love. And will always love.
But HE will watch over her, he has watched over her. Because the baby is His. And so am I. And so are you.
You could love a baby who isn't yours.
You can love a baby who isn't yours.
And you can say goodbye. Tearfully. Prayerfully (oh so prayerfully).
And you can ask God to heal your heart, to heal your husband's heart, to heal your children's hearts...
...because there are more babies to love.