For us this holiday comes a week after adopting our foster child.
Some readers may remember some of the more harrowing events of the past three years — years filled with doubt, fear and moral dilemmas.
This summer after a host of obstacles (some created by the system and some by us), we were asked to make our final decision. I’ll be honest, my husband and I hardly spoke to each other for the month of August as we each grappled with the finality of the decision. I realized that I’d been sort of waiting for this girl to do something bad enough to justify backing out.
Foster kids have a way of pushing you to your limits, and I wondered what my limit would be.
The county gave us a month to decide. No more hoping the kid would do something insane so we’d have an excuse to say goodbye. We had to decide if we could love this girl “as is.” Plenty of people told us to cut our losses. Even the county workers had said this girl was a “hot mess,” but … my heart said she was already family. One day as I walked the dogs my decision was made. Biblical love is really hard. You have to lean into the pain. You have to work harder and you occasionally have to step back to see how far you’ve come.
I’m basically a selfish person who wants to write books and ride horses all by myself. I don’t feel like helping others all the time, yet in some deep way I know we’re called to do it.
My husband was driving home from work one day and suddenly felt that he was Jonah fleeing God’s calling on his life. Despite it all he knew McKenzie was already his daughter.
Not quite the Hallmark happy ending but that’s real life for you.
Once the decision was made, a weight was lifted. Maybe that’s God’s grace. McKenzie has come a LONG way. We all have.
At the adoption McKenzie gave an impromptu speech before the judge. Three years ago she was so jacked up on meds and so traumatized she could only drool and occasionally threaten to stab people. Now with her two sisters (adopted by another family), her new family, and countless county and foster care workers in attendance she spoke from her heart with power and eloquence about finally having a family. I was so proud of her. Even my son got choked up. The county workers were sobbing.
I didn’t cry, but I did feel at peace. I remembered the day I first met McKenzie. I told my husband that I already felt like she was my daughter. That feeling ebbed and flowed over the three years, but on adoption day it was as if we’d come full circle.