Hope for the Hopeless
Today marks five years since a fiery, redheaded 7-year-old little girl walked through our front door and changed our lives forever.
On April 3, 2014, I received a call from our case worker around 2:00 in the afternoon while on a site visit at a school in downtown Dallas.
I almost didn’t answer the phone since this was the case worker’s seventh call to us since we’d become licensed foster parents a few months beforehand. The other six calls led nowhere. He’d say the child was on our way to our house, and then…nothing.
You could say we’d become slightly jaded and no longer felt the sense of urgency to answer the call quickly and run out to buy clothes and toys at Walmart, thinking a child was on their way to our home.
But when he told me the little girl’s name, I knew she was coming.
Many years before all of this…before fostering, before infertility, before diagnosis after diagnosis, we did what all potential parents do.
We picked out names for our future kiddos.
One for a boy and one for a girl.
We made monogrammed journals with their names, bought little trinkets that had their names printed on them, all the things!
While I’d rather not share our girl’s name publicly, let me just tell you that when the case worker said her name over the phone, my heart dropped into my stomach.
This little girl had the same first AND middle name we’d picked out all those years before.
She may not have come into our lives how I’d planned or expected, but the Father had such a better plan. The Word says,
“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” Eph 3:20 TPT
This truth came to LIFE for us. Isn’t it beautiful when that happens? When the truths of God’s Word manifest in your life? He blew our minds and exceeded our wildest dreams.
My friend Melissa reminded me this week that our Father is a God of multiplication, not addition or subtraction. He takes our little and multiplies it beyond our wildest imagination.
Honestly, our “dream” was that we’d be able to see her once or twice a year…if that! And that would’ve been enough.
b u t j e s u s.
Instead of one visit a year, we’ve been blessed with approximately 50 weekend visits, 5 Thanksgivings, Christmas plays, birthday parties, vacations, winter and summer breaks, and so much more in between.
Everyone will say, “Come and see the incredible things God has done; it will take your breath away! He multiplies miracles for his people!” Ps 66:5 TPT
The Father gets all of the credit and all of the glory.
I don’t want any of it.
He took what the enemy meant for evil and turned it into a beautiful redemption story. A story where this little girl got a set of “bonus parents,” while we have the privilege of remaining in her life and watching her grow up into this incredible young lady!
Our last day with her in our home was filled with so many questions and so little hope. But the story wasn’t finished yet. Little did we know that just around that corner were kingdom-sized blessings. Multiplication. Abundance at every turn.
More of our fostering journey can be read below in the posts, “Day 1 with our Little Lady” and “The Last Five Minutes.”
I wish I could turn the clock back 5 years and just hug the girl who wrote these posts and many others. See, I blogged every single night the year our girl was with us and looking back, there’s just so little hope. My words were filled with so much sorrow and not enough Jesus.
The girl writing these posts couldn’t see past her immediate situation and her longing for a baby.
This girl wanted a baby more than she wanted Jesus, if I’m being honest.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for waking me up and giving me the revelation of HOPE! The truth that there are things we experience IN the wait that we never would’ve experienced if we hadn’t gone through the wait.
When we started our fostering journey, I assumed that kids in the “system” were the ones without hope, but now I know it was me.
I was the one who was hopeless.
But the truth is that hope has a name.
Hope is a person.
If our hope is in a baby, a spouse, a promotion, a retirement plan, or anything else, we will be disappointed. But THIS hope? This is a hope that never disappoints!
“But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!” Rom 5:3 TPT
Day 1 with our Little Lady
About 9 hours ago, we got the call (call #7) that will inevitably change everything for, what will most likely be, the next 6-18 months of our lives.
As you may have read in my last post, we started to seriously lower our expectations with each placement call we received. So, when I heard the agency rep talking about a 7-year old girl who was in need of placement tonight, I was hopeful, but cautious. We accepted the placement and then waited to hear back from him. About an hour later, I heard the phrase, "CPS has selected you for placement," stream through the phone. The next few hours are already a little blurry.
I remember driving home. I remember flying through the kitchen - throwing dishes in the dishwasher and “cleaning” (moving) stacks of mail. I remember Brian leaving to pick up groceries so we'd have more food in the house than candy.
I waited for what seemed like forever to hear from CPS. With every minute that passed, it felt like our chance of receiving the placement was slipping further and further from reality. I thought we'd receive a phone call, but instead, I happened to see a car park in front of our house, and then I knew.
I wish I was making this up, but what happened next was almost EXACTLY like I'd watched play out in movies and on TV. The CPS case worker even had cardboard filing boxes lined up in the back of her car, just like I had envisioned.
Another car pulled up after her and I watched the social worker and our Little Lady walk out of their car (and into our lives), holding one bag filled with some clothes and a clown puppet hanging by a few strings. The first words she said to me were, "I'll only be here for two days, right?" (Within a few hours of being here, she asked if she could stay until she was 13. Why 13, you ask? Oh, apparently that's when she's going to college...so she says.) :)
The next part is definitely a blur.
For the next two hours, we signed about a billion forms (and 3 copies of each.) The Little Lady played with her doll next to us while we learned more about her situation and what our role is in her life. I could see her trying to place us in her eyes. Where do we fit in her little world? Only time will tell.
Within the first few hours of being a parent, I was already having to tell this precious child that no, sorry, we can't buy a teeny tiny bikini even if every other girl she knows has one. And no, we actually don't need to buy a bra today. :) Things are moving pretty quickly around here.
Just to recap a few of the things we heard today, here are a few of her quotes. Enjoy!
“Yeah, it's been a long day. A weird, long day.”
“The Google lady is smarter than Siri.”
“Cherry chapstick makes you smell like fruit.”
“I'm going to put socks in my purse just in case.”
“I'm from the country. Nothing hurts.”
I'm laying below her right now in the bottom bunk. I promised her I'd stay here till she fell asleep. I haven't peed since 1:00 this afternoon and I've only eaten two bites of chicken, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else right now.
I'm listening to her breathe in deeply.
She sounds peaceful. And safe.
“The Last Five Minutes”
"Have you thought about what the last 5 minutes with her will be like?" Bry asked from the kitchen.
I knew what he asked, but I asked him to repeat it anyway. I don't think I wanted to accept the reality this question forced me into so quickly.
Oh yeah, there will actually be a last 5 minutes. That's actually going to happen.
I wish I could count the number of people who have said, "Yeah, but you knew she was gonna have to leave when you started this, right?"
Of course we did. Just like you knew that your children wouldn't live forever when you decided to have kids. At some point, you'll have to say goodbye, too. But you don't want that to be too soon, or before you're ready (which is never), so it doesn't make it any easier to accept the fact that they will leave.
Can you imagine what it would sound like if someone asked you, "Yeah, I know you love your kid and all, but you know they're gonna leave you someday, so why do you care about them so much?"
What would you do if you only had 5 more minutes with your child before they left and you never saw them, ever again?
Some of the options I've considered:
1. Count every single freckle and memorize every curve, bump, and line that make up her sweet face.
2. Listen to her sing, "Let it Go."
3. Cry, hug, tickle, smile, laugh, giggle, repeat.
4. Pray for her. For her future. For her family. For her future children. For their children. That she will end the generational line of foster kids in her family and build a new path for her children. That she will not be enslaved by drugs or addiction. That she will find worth and value in Jesus alone.
5. Pick her up, hold her in our arms and just rock her for a while.
It doesn't matter what we do in those last 300 seconds with our Little Lady. Nothing will feel sufficient. No matter what we do, I know we will look back and want a do-over to say one more thing, to give one more hug, to tell her that Jesus loves her and so do we. Just one more time.
At her last visit, she begged the social worker to let her give her mom one more hug, one more kiss, to just have one more minute with her.
And then I realize that nothing will ever feel sufficient for her, either.