Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ripped-Up Plans

"On this piece of paper, here, I want you to write down what you plan to do tomorrow and with whom. What about next year? In five years? What is your life plan?...Good. Now I'd like you to read your words...Rebekah, what's in your five year plan?"

Well, professionally, I hope to be in pursuit of my PhD, teaching classes at university, have a publishing contract, and maybe writing adoption books for kids. Personally, I hope to be a mother to multiples - 3? 4? 5?"

"Wow. Okay, that's ambitious. Ben, what about your plan?"

Me? I'm just exhausted from hearing her plan. [everyone laughs]

"I want everyone to stand up with plan in hand and rip it to shreds...what are you going to do when your plan doesn't go as planned?"

Our first day of foster license training included this exercise. It was simple, yet it carried with me into my week. Ben and I have gotten really good at letting God rewrite our plans -  to fall in line with his. I'm a mixed bag of emotions as we head down this road again. My tank is running about 90/10. Ninety percent certain of God's faithful hand and ten percent shaken at the prospect of what that means.

I stifled sobs throughout our first day of training. The heaviness of what we're walking into is palpable. The cases we studied - the stories we heard - made me want to run to and from the the same time. I'm anxious of all the uncertainties that exist, but equally broken with the stories; it's hard to know how to function.

It's a strange dynamic.

I want to be excited about the possibility of expanding our family, yet there's this underlying tone of despair that comes with reasons for placement. I feel like I'm in this strange euphoric place, saying, "God. Your will be done. My mind can't comprehend the future, but I'm willing to let you lead me blind. Whether we adopt one or ten, this year or next, it doesn't matter. I trust you. And I'm going to continue to put one foot in front of the other as you finish the work you have started."

The adoption process that led us to sweet Ty was nothing like this. I was anxious and emotional and insecure. One day my emotions rang high, the others they bottomed low. I never felt this calm, steady, or at peace. I know part of that was the throbbing hole in my heart to mother. Walking this same, but slightly veering, trail with a little hand in mine makes all the difference.

When Ty boisterously proclaims, "Jesus. I need a sister," I don't ache with want, but instead look up and repeat...You heard him, Father. He needs a sister. (Smile)

The security in knowing that God has called us to walk this path is enough to lead me to my tape dispenser. I can tape my ripped plans back together and hang them on the fridge as mementos...reminders that God brushes with strokes of an artist. His picture has more depth and detail than mine ever would.

Three more weeks of training and an updated home study in November start to turn the key of our future.


  1. Very excited to see where God leads you. It's going to be amazing.

  2. Sometimes God rips our plans because He says, "Your dreams are too small. I can and WILL do more than you ever dreamed or imagined." ;) It's a privilege to follow you on your journey. I love your heart.

  3. Thank you for this.

    I want to be excited about the possibility of expanding our family, yet there's this underlying tone of despair that comes with reasons for placement.

    I'm feeling this right now, too, and it's a very conflicting emotion. We'll find out today if former friends are losing one of their boys (which 100% needs to happen) and if his brother being taken away will be addressed as wel. Luckily, those two have their father to go to, but they have a half-brother who is likely to end up in the foster care system. I don't know what's going to happen at today's court hearing, but we've let the Guardian ad Litem know that we are willing to provide kinship care to the half-brother if needed.

    And it terrifies me. He knows nothing but anger and abuse, and though I think I could handle it if it was just me, I have a toddler and a baby to worry about as well. Also, he has lots of medical issues, so if we do get him, our plates will be incredibly full.

    However, as terrifying as it is, I don't feel like I can just walk away from him - at least not without trying first. He will be incredibly difficult to place in the foster care system and the chances of him ever getting adopted are pretty low.

    I've felt pulled towards foster care for a long time, but my husband is not on board. (Not now at least - in the future, perhaps.) So when I asked if he would be willing to take this boy in if need be, I was kind of surprised when he only paused for a second before saying yes.

    Perhaps this is the road we are meant to be on. Time will tell.

  4. "there's this underlying tone of despair that comes with reasons for placement." That's exactly why I struggle with wanting to get a call quickly for a placement and waiting until 2013. I don't like to think about the pain but I have to.
    When our daughter asks where her brother and sister are and what they are doing I have to hold the tears, say a silent prayer that they are safe and tell my daughter that they are doing something happy.
    Praying for you as you continue to sit through the trainings.

  5. What I take from reading this and it's just my take and I might be wrong but your hurting thinking about how your future children might come to you because they were abused in some form or another? That it doesn't make sense that it's God's plan. Again, I could be wrong. It's just how I think I might feel if I were to gain children because they were taken from their parents because of abuse or neglect. I sometimes feel very frustrated with my volunteering for MELD (they do parenting classes and I babysit while they are in classes) At times, I get upset about crying babies that won't stop crying and some other issues that I been dealing with. I think about walking away because I been volunteering for over a year. But my heart won't allow me to walk away from them. I know the volunteering isn't the same as fostering and adopting but maybe the feelings of mixed emotions is close. Good luck in your days to come with adding Ty a sister.

  6. I'll be praying for you and your family that God leads you and guides you. His timing and best for you guys WILL happen.

    As you talk about writing your plans, I can't help but think of Habakkuk 2 "Write the vision and make it plain that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time. But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come"

  7. Good for you Rebekah. Your plans aren't ripped up unless God says they are. And if He rips them up, He'll give you better ones.

    Love Ben's answer. What a guy!

  8. Feeling equal parts peaceful, anxious, fearful, heavy-hearted, joyful and hopeful as my hubby and I begin our own adopting journey and especially as we feel God's prompting to consider adoption from the system to build our family in the future.

  9. it sounds like you are going to a good class...half tempted to ask you who you are taking it threw just to sit and listen.

    we have had a long hard road, but i read about other people who have had a much shorter, yet still difficult, road. i am hoping yours is shorter than ours and when i think of little ty telling God he needs a baby sister...well, i am SURE HE is listening.

  10. I am so very excited to continue following your journey! I have followed your blog for over a year now and have thoroughly enjoyed it! You and I emailed one time and you so very encouraging as my husband and I continue waiting to be matched for domestic adoption. Can't wait to learn more of your journey and this path that God has put you on!

  11. I just want to say thank you for taking that step towards foster care kids or adopting foster care kids. Please don’t run when you hear the horror stories of how kids come into care. My heart breaks for the kids that I see come into care each day seeing them taken away from their biological parents or processing termination of parental rights and putting them up for adoption. But I know it is for their best interest and they are getting out of a bad situation. Some kids will never go back to their parents and need a loving family that they can call “home.” Then there are kids that need a temporary home while their parents get their act together.

  12. I LOVE reading your posts. I hope some day I can have the same faith and hope in God that you do. I hope your road forward is smooth and that God answers little Ty's prayers quickly.

  13. What an interesting excercise...I have been saying through our whole process this quote from a country song "And if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans." Its a similar concept- nothing is ever as we expect it to be. Working for the Dept. of Human Services, I can only imagine how tough it would be to have all the heartache squeezed into a series of classes- its been tough enough for me to handle the worst of the worse in increments over the last six years in this field. You are gettin a highlight sheet of the heartbreakingness of the "system" Prayers are with you...


  14. First of all, I love reading your blog, you are a beautiful writer and as a foster/adoptive mom who experienced 10 years of secondary infertility I can really relate to you and what you write about. Second, I'd just like to encourage you to remember that not all foster placements are heartbreaking. Sounds strange, I know, but it's true. We're in the process of adopting our third foster child and we've been fortunate enough to have been able to forge exceptionally good relationships with the birth families, to the point that they've chosen to voluntarily terminate their rights because they see that's what's best for their child. It's definitely not easy for them, but we've developed beautiful relationships through these foster placements turned open adoptions. I realize this is very unusual, but I just want to encourage you to try to look at future foster placements as not just the child, but the whole bio family you're in a position to help and witness to. Its anything but easy, but it can be so rewarding. God's blessings!

  15. We never planned to adopt older kids from foster care, much less one with special needs. We planned to adopt a sweet little perfect newborn girl because we deserved that after everything we've been through. God ripped those plans right out of my hands and into a million pieces when he showed me the two brothers that belong to me. We are now on the road to having three boys, and I can say that even though there is that definite despair, emotional weight, and unholy fear that can creep in when you deal with foster care (we have fostered five children in the past year, and now are adopting two with plans to continue fostering), the peace that has passed any understanding of mine can only come from the hands of He who ripped apart my paper. I love it...this joy that is indescribable when I look into the eyes of my fat and adorable little gifts.

    It's amazing. I wish I could describe how awesome it feels to be living as a missionary in my own home; being able to minister to the children, the parents, the case workers...even others around us who have been blind and deaf to the "orphans"(such an ugly word) we have in our own country!

    The only thing I caution you against is to have no expecations. Don't expect a girl...don't expect a newborn...dont expect anything except the unexpected, and even then know that foster-to-adopt is not something those classes can prepare you for. Those classes did not prepare us adequately for what it's like, but it hasn't mattered one bit. You figure it out. :)


    I think you would be interested in these sites.
    A reader.