A little over 2 weeks ago, we received 3 precious kiddies into our home for an undetermined amount of time. Whew. I. Am. Exhausted. The song that plays over and over in my head these days, especially on the days that I just want to give up, is Satisfied in You by the Sing Team. In case you haven’t heard it, you can listen to it here. For those wondering what it’s like to go from 1 kid to 4 in a matter of a few hours, let me give you a brief insight into our past 2 weeks. Be warned. For those who don’t know me, I am brutally honest sometimes.
I feel like a 3 year old who has been thrown into the deep end of the pool most days. I barely survive days with 1 kid some times. Really. Why the H did I think 4 would be amazing and wonderful and I would get to lead them to Jesus and their lives would be forever changed? Seriously. Those of you considering foster care and/or adoption. Just know that it is nothing like the rose colored lenses tell you it is. And I mean really truly know that. Get it down into your being. Not just a head knowledge. Because I had a head knowledge. Having a head knowledge about what it will be like does not equate truly knowing. Just keep telling yourself, “This will suck. This will suck bad some days.” And then maybe. Just maybe you won’t be caught off guard.
How’s that for an intro? Some of you are probably scared to read further. I warned you. No rainbow paintings here. I’m a terrible artist. My rainbows look like a big blob. So I stick with what I’m good at. The truth.
Within the first few days, we had to have a visit with the kids’ mom and some other family members and then have doctors’ visits with all the kids. I literally had a conversation something like this in my head, “So they really want me to leave my house with all of them? Yep. At the same time? Yep. I only have two hands. Yep.” Well, we survived the family visit. We even survived getting Big B back to school. So I was a bit unprepared for how terribly a doctor’s visit could go. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was in town. She stayed with Jud while I loaded up the other 3 to drive forever and a day to their doctor. Where we remained for the next 3 hours. Yes. I said 3 hours. With 3 small kids. In a small space. With shots. Oh. Em. Gee. The shots. They do not warn you about how much cain a little tiny person can raise over shots. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it. Somehow, we all survived the doctor trip. I don’t think I can ever do that alone again. Seriously. It was bad.
Other than that, things seemed to be going fairly well. We thought we were all settling in nicely. Of course there’s the disobedience and not sharing and sticking paper up noses and not wanting to eat vegetables and missing the school bus (twice) and giving laxatives and curse words and more spit up than should be possible to come out of an infant and potty training regression and protein lectures and never ending laundry & questions and hitting and hurricanes. But other than those few minor details, we thought we were surviving pretty decently.
And then Wednesday happened.
And I really just wanted to throw in the towel.
I was done.
Baby girl was extra fussy all morning and the little boys were equally as disobedient. I really don’t think I said much other than, “No. Stop that. You need to share. Quit throwing things,” all morning. Then we had to pick up Big B from school and go have a chat with the kids’ attorney. When we got to the office, I pulled Baby Girl out of her seat to start feeding her and all three boys (literally simultaneously) declared they had to go potty. Um. Remember the conversation I already had with myself about only having 2 hands? How was this going to work? But I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge, so we all went to the bathroom and somehow made it out alive and without accidents. Then came the ride home. Which is all of 15 minutes, just to give you perspective about all the things that went wrong in the next 15 minutes. I get all the kids buckled into their car seats (which I think I should get to count as extra cardio for the day) and I point the car toward home. Approximately 5 minutes down the road, Little B starts screaming. Like, “I just got a knife to the gut and I’m bleeding out,” screaming. I, surprisingly, very calmly ask what’s going on. Little B holds up his finger (which looks like it’s about 5 seconds from decaying) and Big B says that he wrapped a string around it and it’s purple now. I whip the pilot into the closest parking lot, climb in the back, and find that Little B has somehow tied a rubber band so tightly around his finger that he has cut off all circulation. I finally maneuver it off and, despite his protests, confiscate the rubber band and steer us toward home once again. 2 minutes later, I look up and Big B has his hands around Little B’s throat. And you might think that’s normal boy behavior and just let them work it out, except, Big B shouldn’t be able to reach Little B when he’s strapped in his seatbelt. Uh-huh. That’s right. He was completely out of his seatbelt and seat, for that matter. I then start trying to talk him through how to buckle himself back up. I gave up a few seconds in and just told him to be super super still and stay in his seat until we got home. Go ahead. Judge me. But my nerves were shot and I just wanted to get home. I did not feel like pulling over again.
Ok. We’re almost home now. I’m planning how I will spend my 10 minutes of freedom when I send them all outside to play. And then the “I’m being punched in the face by a freaking ninja” scream again. And Big B starts screaming/crying, “He’s bleeding! It’s everywhere! He’s dying! Oh my God he’s really bleeding!” Um. Excuse me? I don’t take it too seriously and start trying to calm both of them down. Time out. Have you every tried to get to hysterical kids (one who is a bloody mess) to take deep breaths with you? I’m sure I could have won millions on America’s Funniest Home Videos if I had only had to right mind to video that beautiful moment. Just try it next time and tell me how good it works for you. I finally work out from Big B that Little B shoved a straw up his nose and yanked it out – thus, the bloody mess. I could not make this up. I have the bloody straw for proof. He definitely shoved a straw up his nose for kicks. And it was all fun and games until someone started bleeding like a gun shot victim on Grey’s Anatomy. Whew. I was so done at that point. After cleaning up what seemed like a pint of blood off of Little B and my backseat, we slowly made our way inside the house where we were greeted with an awful, incessant buzzing akin to a fire alarm. I screamed at all the kids to wait for me in the laundry room so I could go see where the bloody fire was coming from until I finally realized that our carbon monoxide detector had come unplugged. I mentally packed my bags. And then these words started replaying in my mind:
So when I’m drowning out at sea
And all your breakers and your waves crash down at me
I’ll recall your safety scheme
You’re the one who made the waves
And your Son went out to suffer in my place
And to show me that I’m safe
Obedience is difficult, dear friends. I have said it before. Obedience comes with a price. Obedience isn’t always fun. Obedience takes dying to self – often second by second. Obedience is what led us here and obedience is what keeps us going when we want to give up – and believe me, I want to give up more often than you would think. I am reminded often that Christ is our reward. Dear friends, we could not do this if we were seeking anything but Christ as our reward. I would have given up within the first 24 hours. Obedience is not always a beautiful rainbow painting. Obedience is ugly sometimes. Obedience requires something beyond ourselves. Obedience requires clinging to God’s promise for new mercies each day. Obedience requires clinging to the grace that is the Cross. Obedience is hard and nasty and sucky and amazing and joyous and glorifying to God. In the midst of all the suckiness, God has given us glimpses of His glory. It’s in the laugh & smile of baby girl. It’s the hugs and kisses and I love you so muches from the boys. It is when I look over and see Little B looking through the Bible and telling Bible stories from the ones we have read to him. It is when I am completely spent and still able to look these kids with the love of Jesus. It is in teaching these kids about unconditional love and forgiveness. Dear friends, obedience is painful and yucky but it is also beautiful. Obedience is sometimes lonely and repetitive. But it is worth it. It is worth it because Christ is our reward.
Let my losses show me all I truly have is You.