Saturday, July 30, 2011

How Things are Going

We are about to head into Sunday, the most challenging day of the week, now made more challenging by the five little ones we have in tow. I'm thinking through the Sunday School lesson for tomorrow while I type this blog (subconscious writing is my thing). I have the kids' clothes picked out.

The little ones are in bed after a torturous experience trying to get DeLaynie and Ella bathed before the boys' bedtime. Ella fell asleep on the couch right before, so I had to wake her up to wash her hair. I'm pretty sure that I have solidified my future in a cheap nursing home. While I was trying to get the girls settled into the tub as quickly as possible, our foster daughter alerted me to the fact that the boys had pulled up a chair to the kitchen sink and were playing in the dirty dishes, which included knives. I decided that their bedtime could overlap with the girls' bath time.

I washed Ella's hair at a disturbingly rapid pace and took her downstairs so that I could get the boys to bed. After getting them settled, I came downstairs to the wet, naked Ella I had left behind, crying in the dining room. I brushed her hair (that nursing home will probably have a policy against pain medication, if Ella has her way), and threw on some pajamas. I took her upstairs and went to the baby's room to plug in the iPod that I left downstairs. He went to sleep almost immediately after I pressed, "play". She was crying in her bed when I arrived because she thought that I had forgotten her story. I excused myself to make sure that DeLaynie was good to go. She was in fish-heaven. I read Ella's story, which was only interrupted once for an excursion downstairs to let the dog inside so that her barking wouldn't wake the boys. Meanwhile, our foster daughter decided that she should watch "Jersey Shore," which I am pretty sure isn't intended for six year-olds. I changed the channel to Nick Jr. Once Ella was settled and her teeth were brushed, I washed DeLaynie's hair and got her out of the tub.

These were the busiest moments of what has been the most relaxing day we've had with five children. Everything's more work. Everything's more chaotic. Everything's more exhausting. There's more laundry, more cooking, and immeasurably more cleaning. But we're alive. The kids (all five) are happy and clean for the most part. Things get better day-by-day, with only a few exceptions. None of this is to our credit, of course. We're receiving, not giving.

Things are going well. We're grateful for our time with these precious ones, made in the image of the Majestic Glory. We hope that these months will have eternal impact, something that we are incapable of generating, but ready and willing to accept. Such a gift can only come from the hands of the One who made them and made us, who longs to see His people transformed into the image of His Son, usually by way of fire. So we'll let the fire to its task and won't run from its heat. When things are harder than we imagined (usually around five o'clock), we'll strive to remain in the Vine and receive our power from the Living Source. We'll fail. We 'll get emotional bumps and bruises whose only rivals will be the physical ones that the boys can't seem to go a day without acquiring. It's what we're made for, and it's the only possible way to be who we're meant to be and do what we're meant to do.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Here We Go!

We welcomed our first foster children into our home on Tuesday. We got a shipment of two toddler boys and a 6 (almost 7) year-old girl. We will not be taking any further deliveries for a while. We weren't planning on accepting any children older than Ella, but because of a glorious miscommunication between my sweet husband and myself, here we are!

I would like to say that the transition has been completely smooth, but it seems that instantly increasing your family's size by 75% is a wee-bit challenging. Of course, I knew that it would be, but knowing and experiencing are two different things.

It hasn't been bad, but it has been a whole new kind of difficult. Here are a few things that I have learned in the last 2 days:
  • Boys are different. I don't care how progressive you are, gender matters! Climbing, bumping, running, colliding, pulling, and breaking are just a few of the special gifts that these little fellas have in abundance.
  • Parenting a child who has been in a different home for the first year, two years, or 6 years is a whole different ball game from starting from the beginning.
  • Sorry to be so shallow, but cute really helps.
  • This is going to take more ability than I have, more patience than I can muster, and more love than I have to offer, so it's a really good thing that it isn't about me. My God has all that Edwin and I need, all that the foster kids need, and all that the girls need. And He's really good at sharing, which is good because no one else seems to be.