While We Wait
Anticipating the Christ Child and our forever child
How the Gospel Is Wrecking My Life
Foster care, adoption, and the American Dream
The Little House That Could
How to thrive in family life
If These Walls Could Talk
Faith, fear, and the truth that is setting me free.

While We Wait: Anticipating the Christ Child and our forever child

I thought that he or she would have been here already . . .

I thought that maybe the little darlin’ would arrive just before Thanksgiving, just in time to be welcomed by the beautiful fall decor I had displayed for the season.

Brightly colored pumpkins, warm wreaths, and brilliantly colored mums all joined in a chorus – prepared to welcome the heart of a little child.

Emotionally, I had been holding my breath . . . hoping that the mums would live long enough to whisper “Welcome Home” Little One . . .

And then they died. 

The fall season has come and gone and now the season of Christmas is upon us – the season of Advent . . . the season of waiting.

Once again, I’ve decked my halls with boughs of holly, festive poinsettias, happy snow men, Christmas bells and nativity sets . . .

And still, we wait.

While the world is commemorating the arrival of the Christ child, I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of our forever (foster) child.

I am pregnant with anticipation.  I am filled with joy.  I am cautiously optimistic.

We trained for this.  My husband and I sat in classes for hours on end for this.  We bore our souls in meetings to strangers for this.

We gave caseworkers tours of our home for this . . . let social services into every nook and cranny of our lives for this.

We are “ready”.

And still, we wait.

Sometimes, when I walk the floor in the stillness of the day, I remind myself that at any moment, “this” will all change . . . this life that we now live and know.

A little stranger will come into our home – afraid, angry, and alone.  And we are all supposed to make nice and play well together.

I will have to be emotionally stronger than ever and wiser than ever, all in an effort to give this child the home away from home that he or she needs in thier time of crisis.

What made my husband and I think that we could do this?

We wanted to adopt, but the costs were astronomical.  My husband was open to the idea of fostering, but I was not certain that I was a “catch and release” kind of mom.

I wasn’t certain that I could fall in love with a child for years on end, and then possibly have him taken away; but we knew that we had to do something.  And we knew there was a good chance – a God chance – that some of these kids would end up becoming our own.

That sounds so terrible! – to envision that a parent’s rights are terminated and we end up inheriting their child.  And truthfully, I do not wish that at all, but I know that it will eventually happen.  A parent will lose.  A child will lose.  And I will “win” by default.

Honestly . . . maybe we all loose and we all win?

A parent will lose a child, but have the awareness that their child was placed in a loving home.

A child will lose their birth parents, but gain parents who want them wholly and fully.

I will give a permanent, loving home to a child who would otherwise float around in the system.

This is the tragedy of foster care.  This is the hope of foster care.  This is the world we live in.

Truth is, this world is broken.  People are sinners.  Parents are flawed – and fail their children.  Some of us pay a bigger price for our failure than others.

And I’m the first person to say: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” — John Bradford

We are all pregnant with sweet expectation . . .

We are all waiting for him or her to arrive.

My two youngest children think that the arrival of this child will be like the joy one experiences on Christmas morning.  One says, “When will she be here, Mommy?”  The other: “Mommy, I want my little brother already.”

I’m careful to remind them that a child being placed in our home means heartache and sadness for that child.

I remind them that the goal of foster care is for the child to be reunited with her birth parent(s).

I’m careful to explain that God knows exactly who to place in our home, so we will eventually be able to adopt one (or some) of the children.

But what I don’t have the nerve to tell my two youngest is what my husband and I were told in our foster care licensing class.

When we first began the class I was gung-ho on taking in kids, but as the class sessions progressed I quickly learned that this child’s placement in our home could take our family from DEFCON 5 (which I was fully prepared to accept) to DEFCON 1 (Oh no! I don’t think so!).

One of the class goals was to fully prepare parents for the realities that lie ahead – by giving us some worst case scenarios – all in an effort to reduce the risk of us calling our agency in the future and saying, “I can’t do this.  Please come and get this child!”

You can see how that would ruin a child – causing them to feel like they are unwanted and disposable.  It’s one of the very reasons why some choose not to bond with their new foster family, because they are waiting for the other “I no longer want you…you are disposable” proverbial foot to drop.

That is a type of abuse in and of itself.

Well, our teacher/trainer was so thorough and so convincing that she convinced me right out of the idea of fostering!

Mission accomplished! 

She had successfully weeded out another wanna-be foster parent . . .  ME!

I wanted to drop out of the class, but I was too embarrassed for my husband and I to be “that couple” who didn’t make it.  We had been warned that the class ranks would thin out as the sessions progressed.  Oh, my pride!  So, we persevered until the completion; but in my heart, I knew that I would not accept a placement.

I was completely terrified!

I knew in my heart that I simply could not handle the scenarios that the teacher/trainer was referencing.  I was not up to the task.  I was ill equipped.

So I walked around with my new unconfessed secret: that I wasn’t up to fostering children; only admitting the truth to my husband and a dear couple at our church, who were foster parents.

It took a while before the Holy Spirit got a hold of my heart and straightened me out.  He had me to realize that I was right: I could not do it!  I was not up to the task!  

If I were to go forward with fostering a child and possibly have him turn my family’s life inside-out and upside-down, I would have to do it in His strength and in His might.  Not my own!

That was a light bulb moment for me.

A game changing moment.

I don’t presume to know the mind of God (other than what’s been written in the Bible), but I don’t believe that God has called my husband and I to foster and adopt children because we are equipped to do the job, but rather, that He will equip us because He’s called us.

And so we wait . . . we wait for that blessed call. 

I am happy and joyful once again; full of expectation – no longer fearful.

I spend my time wondering if this sweet little child will fit into our loud and boisterous home, if he will like sleeping in a bunk-bed, and hoping (s)he doesn’t mind joining the line for our bathroom.  #largefamilyliving

My home will once again swell with children.  It’s basically bursting from the seams; even still, it matches the status of our hearts: full of joy and anticipation for the Christ child, and for our forever child . . . while we wait.

xoxo,

Tiffiney

I’ve shared this post at these fabulous faith and family link-ups.

Comments

  1. Oh, Tiffiney, your words brought back so many emotions as I relived our experience through your words. Praying for you. You’re right – it’s all possible with Jesus. He’s walked me through something I thought would be my undoing. But His grace really IS sufficient. God’s blessings to you and your family!

    • Hi Deb! It sounds like you have already walked a mile in the moccasins I am about to put on. I’ll l remember that when I need a virtual shoulder to cry on. LOL!

  2. Oh, Tiffiney!

    I LOVE YOUR HEART! Your tender honesty. What a blessing your kids (and your soon to be foster kids) have in you. Praying this season of waiting births the most beautiful experience for your family—especially the ones God allows to be apart of your heart. ❤️

    • Oh Dianne, thank you for your kind words of affirmation, and thank you for your prayers, too. I certainly need them during this season.

  3. Dear Tiffney,

    Thank you for taking the time to share this post. It is a great opportunity to welcome a young child into your home and raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I see many Christians and churches very keen on the fostering and adoption but not nearly as keen on the true work of the Gospel which is to preach and teach the Word of God to all nations. The child that you will receive will have a father and mother, but who ministers in the Truth and love of Jesus Christ to them, bears their infirmities and helps them to be successful in raising their child? What will you and your husband say to Jesus about that? About those two souls and the billions of others that are in bondage of sin while you enjoy a pretty picture and applauding amens? Christian men need to preach the gospel on the streets so that such as the parents of this child would be converted, saved and thus no longer vulnerable to the trauma of having their child removed. You need to help you husband to do this – not as outreach or a church event but as your very lives. Households could support and provide for single mothers, the addicted and infirm rather than succumbing to the all-powerful State as a means of doing good works (getting paid also for doing it). But it then would mean truly loving your neighbour as yourself and condescending to those men of low-estate. You would be despised called mad and thrown out of your congregation if you did this – then you would truly need God. There is a real disconnect and underestimation of the purpose and power of the Gospel to impact and retrieve the lost souls from the fire. Works like these, blogging, home ed and all the stuff we do cannot compare to submitting en mass to the headship of Jesus Christ through the Word of God. He is the Truth and cannot be appeased with iniquity – false festivals such as Christmas or any of the decadence that thinks it passes for the true religion described in the book of James. What a powerful witness that would be, what a refuge and opportunity for the lost, tormented and damned. I cannot wait for the manifestation of God’s power and Kingdom in a faithful remnant who will do the work the way He said and put all this vanity to an end. My counsel to you echoes the previous post about being wrecked – Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. If Christian men and women keep shirking the real work of following the commandment of Jesus Christ by faith as it is written truly they will experience the shipwreck of Acts and the coming Euroclydon.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, Ren. I appreciate all of the thought you put into your response.

      As you’ve mentioned: it is a great opportunity to welcome a young child into our home and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

      And even more than just a “great opportunity” my husband and I see it as being consistent with the “true religion” mentioned by James in Scripture: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (1:27).

      While we minister to these children who enter our home in crisis, we hope to not only point them to the Lord, but to have an opportunity to witness to their parents as well. I, too, believe that it’s only the power of God that truly changes a person’s life and delivers them from the bondage of sin that ravishes homes, and I am prayerful that the Lord will eventually open up the doors for me to disciple women who are in jeopardy of loosing their children and are struggling in family-life. I really want to see homes changed through the power of God.

      Once again, thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  4. While we wait…
    If only we knew the blessedness on the other side of our obedience, just think how much easier our ‘waiting journeys’ would be!
    I pray God graces you and your family with all you need to finish this new journey well.
    Do have a blessed Christmas, this Christmas.

    • Our “waiting journeys”…I love the way you phrase that. You have a blessed Christmas as well, Boma! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Oh Tiffiney, I loved reading this and catching up. I’m so excited for you! This is such a beautifully written post that shines your heart to love others. That child will be walking through the doors to a family longing to love and embrace him/her with the love of Christ. As you wait in anticipation, I pray God gives you peace. You are perfectly sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency. I can’t wait to read an update. Merry Christmas, my friend!

    • Hey Val! Thank you so much for sharing in our excitement! And thank you for the reminder that I am perfectly sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency! He is really all that we need. 🙂

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