Just as quickly as they arrived, the three precious angels who entered our lives left again. Our world was rocked for six days. We were literally still in blissful survival mode.
Remember the prayer request My Love mentioned on his drive home the day we got the call? Well that developed into a stomach bug that evening. It turned out to be a huge blessing that he was sick because he stayed home from work the next day and was there to welcome the children (feeling mostly better by that point). Fast forward to Sunday night and I was the one puking my guts out. All. Night. Long. My Love took Monday off to take care of all five kids solo while I stayed in bed. Tuesday afternoon, I was waving goodbye to three beautiful children that I held in my arms.
It was the most crazy-beautiful six straight days I have ever had. Noise, laughter, and running feet. Wiping snotty noses, changing poopy diapers, and comforting night terrors. It brought me so much joy to see our home full and being used for God's glory. These three children had no idea what foster care was. They thought they were just with us for a sleep over. It is amazing how God protects the minds of children. Thankfully they had someone already in their life who was willing and able to care for them. We feel so blessed to have offered a soft place for them to land for those six days. And forevermore our hearts will be changed as we pray for their futures for the rest of our days.
It wasn't far into the morning of day one when the oldest of the three said the most heart-wrenching and genuinely loving compliment I have ever received.
"I can tell you act like a good Mom!"
We knew Tuesday would be the day we would find out how much longer they would be staying with me. My Love was back at work by then and when the phone rang this time I got the news I was expecting. But somehow I was still saddened. The unknowns, the what ifs, the we-didn't-do-enough thoughts.
Just in case things changed again, I decided to wait until the last minute to tell the children (including my own) that the fun was over and they would be returning home after nap. I braced for tears but none came. Instead they left with happy smiles just as they arrived. Not a care or fear in the world even while being shuffled about.
It overwhelms me to think about God's sovereignty in all of this. How he prepared our hearts two years ago for such a time as this. To provide them a loving home even for such a short time. He loves them so much.
A week after they left, My Love and I still hadn't sat down and had a real talk about what we had just walked through together. We learned A LOT. We learned that we work well as a team. That My Love has a sincere servant's heart --which I already knew. We saw how our top priorities had quickly fallen by the wayside in the name of survival. In the future that could NOT be the case. We felt peace in our home of chaos knowing we were being covered in prayer. It really was a sweet time. The children were so precious and we think back to those days fondly.
How thankful we are to have said yes and obeyed God even when it felt scary. If I am truly honest, it wasn't until the social worker was on his way with the children that I really believed it was going to happen. We went through this once before when God asked if we were willing and then after he got the answer of "Yes, Lord" he promptly said, "good to know," and those two children were placed somewhere else.
The real truth is though it wasn't us at all. The Lord even saw fit to allow us to both be vomitting during that time to remind us that we can do NOTHING in our own strength. For six days we were literally just empty shells being used by Him for his good purpose. It was a busy time but it was also so peaceful.
Like I said, we hadn't even decompressed fully days after the children had exited our lives. We knew we needed to be really praying about what this meant for our family continuing to serve God through foster care. "Those social workers loved us, My Love," I joked. "They will probably call back. We need to be ready with an answer.
Nine days later around 4pm, the phone rang again. It was the Department of Social Services...