Friday, January 1, 2010

Another Life

I recently realized that there are few people in our lives now that new us BF (Before Foster parenting) let alone BA (Before Abby).  It's sort of amazing how our lives have changed in the past year and even more so... in the past nine.  I started blogging shortly before we became foster parents, which means the readers of this blog didn't have the opportunity to see into our lives before the two babies became part of it. 

I wonder at the people we'd have been if we hadn't left the geneticist office in the same way we came over nine years ago.  Somehow I knew my life would never be the same again, but to what extent I could never have guessed.  It took me eight years just to allow others into my life... I somehow thought that being honest about the struggles we had lessened my God.  If I was having a hard time than I was saying God wasn't big enough to make my road easy.  I thought that the Godly had it easy or the Lord made it look easy, so I did my best to maintain that facade.  As we sat through endless doctor's appointments and therapies I wondered how we could live life in between the stresses.  Would our little girl grow up in a medical facility?  How could it be any other way? 

We went into the hospital on January 25, 2001 as "Barbie & Ken" living out the American dream in a beautiful home, an English Bulldog, a job Andy enjoyed & free as a bird with dreams of travel and fine furnishings right down to every self centered detail.  I don't miss those people.  I'm often afraid of going backward and being that gifl I once was.  I loved myself.  I wasn't a bad person.  My world was just so small. 

I grew up in the next few years.  I found a place that I hurt more than I'd ever hurt before.  I hurt for the loss of a dream for me and Andy.  I hurt for the struggles of a little girl who couldn't understand her pains.  I hurt for her blank stares and distant giggles in a world that wasn't ours.  We began to live in a glass house.  We were somehow transported to a display window in our own lives... everyone looked, but didn't touch.  Did they not touch because they didn't know how to get to us or because they didn't want to?  It's best if I never know the answer.  I choose to believe that the way into our world was locked... from the inside.  We wanted to open the door, but didn't know how.  We were stuck in a land we didn't even know how to navigate let alone give someone else directions.  How do we talk to other parents about breathing treatments and therapies when they were so consumed by runny noses and teething?  Our worlds were just too far apart.

If I had it to do over again I'd have it no other way.  I went from decorating my home to stripping out carpet because it had too much vomit and poo on it...  I used to spend hours putting my pictures on finely decorated pages to over 300 pics in my online cart that I've simply not had the time to order.  Am I a saint?  Far from it!  We probably wouldn't be back in Duluth raising my babies with my family, being a part of a missional church plant, been foster parents or relishing a few nights away together as much as we did an overseas trip if our lives hadn't turned out this way.  Our home isn't something to be elevated or praised, but a zoo!  We're not better, but a whole lot crazier.  On paper some say we look so noble, but a short visit to our home and that thought disappears.  The chaos we call home reveals something else. There is a lot of love here & a lot of overwhelming commotion.

 It is our crazy, though, and I love it... overall.  And even more so I treasure each and everyone who commits to coming & being a part of our world.  I could write a list of all those who have come into our world just because of Abby.  They have blessed our lives and continue to do so in ways no words could express.  Our paths cross to mutual benefit (we hope).  When I need more help I start praying and the Lord sends someone our way.  Usually it's a person who needs us as much as we need them.  They bless us, and I pray that we can bless them as well.  We still live in a glass house, but this one has no doors.  Our home is always open.  They see the good, the bad & the ugly.  They see our life as we live it.  We are humbled... daily.  They see who we are and also who we're trying to be by the grace of God. 

Our lives aren't crazy just because we're foster parents.  Our lives were crazy before and will be again with or without kids in need of a temporary home.  Abby's birth didn't stop our lives, but expanded and challenged it.  We are better for having her.  She is a reflection of God's perfection... not only in her, but more so in the lives of those she touches.  A rare gift.  So many layers of extreme joy and desperate sorrows.

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