Monday, June 2, 2008

uncomfortable shoes: part 1

Have you ever been a bridesmaid in a wedding? If yes, did the bride request that you wear a certain pair of shoes that match the dress?

Back in 1994, on a beautiful sunny day in April, I was a bride. I was a bride that asked my faithful little bridesmaids to purchase and wear specific heels that would match their coral dresses perfectly. I admit that they were not comfortable. In fact, Becky Fox, one of my bridesmaids, likes to remind me that they were painfully uncomfortable. The rest of the bridesmaids must have felt the same way because as soon as the ceremony concluded, the girls all kicked their heels off, almost in a celebratory unison.

We joke about it now, but looking back, I don't remember anyone complaining about having to buy the uncomfortable shoes and I don't remember till after the fact, anyone sharing how horribly painful they were. These are the sacrifices you make for your friend; for the bride. It brings you joy to do so because it's their special day and it's important to them.

As many of you know, our family has become a "fostering family." After 9 weeks of training, lots of paperwork and homework, doctors appointments and most importantly, lots of prayer and communication as a family - we were approved as foster parents. On Monday, May 19th, we got a phone call with news of our first placement: A 3-day old baby girl and a 14 month old boy. We excitedly accepted and that day became a flurry of running errands, getting clothes and diapers, calling people with babies to ask them questions, and just lots of raw emotion.

Since that day, 2 weeks ago, we have gotten into a schedule and after an initial week of chaos (2 more kids and Matt leaving for New Attitude added to the craziness), we have sunk into a groove made up of nap times, feeding times, homeschool, grocery shopping, trying to get rest, and did I mention feeding times? It has not been easy for me at all.

In light of the fact that so many people have asked me why we decided to do foster care, I decided it would be good to write up a post answering that question. It's strange how I knew the answer to this question prior to getting custody of these kids. I had no doubt about it. Then, on the Tuesday Matt arrived back from Na, I found myself sitting at the counter, feeding Diamonte (the 14 month old boy) in tears. Looking around my house, all I could see was a pile of toys, scrunched up kleenex from wiping snot from D's nose all day, dishes in the sink, stained burp cloths everywhere, piles of diapers around the living room, a sink full of dirty dishes, and homeschool books on the dining room table - opened with unfinished work. I was losing it and I broke down emotionally and began asking myself why I decided to do this (fostering). Stephen and Abbie heard my crying and Stephen simply hugged me. I shared with my 10 and 7 year old why I was upset and Abbie sweetly said, "we can help you more Mom."

I spoke to a friend through tears and she sought to remind me of the faithfulness of God. I quickly hung up the phone as Matt arrived home. The kids ran to the door greeting him with hugs and kisses and as he made his way through the living room mess, he found his desperate and seemingly hopeless wife sitting at the kitchen counter - eyes puffy and face reddened with tears.

So why did we choose to be foster parents? What do uncomfortable bridesmaid shoes have to do with that?

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2. The story does get better!

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