Life is A Moving Target

I sat this evening holding my 11-year-old daughter who curled up onto my lap, thinking wow, I need to do this more often.  This sweet Sarah of mine, who for the last several nights and few times before that has worked on making my feet softer by polishing and smothering lotion on her mama’s feet before bed.  Yes, it may have been a stall tactic but it was a good one and I was willing to go for it.

It is moments like these, especially lately that has brought tears to my eyes and a sadness to my heart to know that it was just yesterday – isn’t that what all the old folks say?? – that they were just little ones cradled in my arms.  I look UP at my oldest who will turn 17 this next week.  Nathaniel, the one who has been the guinea pig, the one who I have poured much time into but God loved him first and has created a gem!  He’s an awesome kid.  Right now, at Nationals in Atlanta, GA having competed for his school, MVCTC, in Culinary Arts.  The child who towers over me but I still remind, that I will squish him like a bug!  I can’t believe we are going into his senior year.  I look back and remember my young mom self, wondering how in the world I was going to deal with puberty when that time came.  ACKKK!!  And here I am looking at a young man working two jobs and starting to lay out his future.

There’s Isaiah – who has been a tremendous blessing, especially over the last few weeks when I’ve needed an extra hand with the littles – he’s so willing to help.  What a kid with a servants heart!  And he will be driving in less than 7 months – how did that EVER happen?

It’s hard mamas; friends of all ages, to launch a child into the world when you don’t take it one day at a time.  Life is a moving target.  You can’t always aim straight for the target, you have to take practice steps.  Steps into the darkness about which path to take – decisions about which school to enroll them in or should they join sports.  Decisions about should you stop at 1 or 2 or 5 OR….???  I see that now in looking back.  I am so glad that I didn’t aim for Nathaniel to just turn 18.  I didn’t aim for him to be a top-notch chef (and not saying he’s there yet).  It was steps of launching forward.  Oh, yes! there are goals – getting them to sleep through the night, to tie their own shoes, to not cry when they lost at a soccer game and they are 8 or 10!  It’s the day-to-day mundane moments that allow us to help mold this blessing that God richly blessed us with.

Over the last month, the changes that our family has gone through has been rapid.  I think it became apparent when we took a respite for an 8-year-old boy for 12 days.  It was our first respite that we had done and it was an eye opener.  God surely gave us lots of patience and mercy to get through that week and a half.  Two days after he left, my 15 yr old nephew came from Reno, NV.  He was here for 2 weeks.  We had several many talks at the table about issues that came up.  It kept me on my toes and shed some light on our “system” that makes our family work, and even helped us redesign how things worked  – especially gaming time!!  Two days after he left, we took another respite for a 10-year-old boy.  He is currently with us now and things seem to be working OK.

In this last month, it has entailed emails and phone calls with caseworkers and supervisors as there has been misunderstandings.  We have a 7 yr old whose parents are working towards reunification.  Yet, his parents are floundering as to how to get things done to get back their son.  He has been in our care since Jan. 2017.  My heart hurts for them.  In talking to the family, they don’t have a support system.  Life has had some hard turns for them and few, very few that lean in and give support.  WE ALL make mistakes.  We are ALL sinners, in need of Jesus grace and mercy.  DAILY!  Yet, we look at these situations and really don’t know the hurt and the stories of who these people are and where they came from.  So, yes, I was one of them, and let me tell you that even on my best days – I can still be ONE of them – one who judges and thinks I know how this story is written and how it ends.  But on this one day, last Tuesday, I stood up for the mother of this child in a room with caseworkers, a CASA, and some typist lady that just edged right under my skin.  My target that day was a moving one, that was for sure.  I went in knowing that I had been told to hold off working with the parents til after the court date in Sept. (isn’t that a little late?), yet in the room, I was told there was no such thing said……can we look at the email I have?

There was bigger fish to fry for me – I was upset.  This child managed to get into a camp and school ONLY because my foster care worker had told me and got the paperwork in, not the caseworker…’s her job to give opportunities to this child!  But this was only the beginning.  He was being put out to families for adoption (before PC was granted) but when sent – a picture of our bio son was included in one of the pictures!  Ummm, can someone give me a time out?!  Yet, I was told this was NOT the caseworker who sent out the picture – NO!  But she gave the picture to the individual(s) who sent it out.  So you see, here we are in battle.  My target was the caseworker.  I was annoyed with her, not just b/c of these things in the last month but over the last 15 months, there had been more than 4 months that she didn’t even make a visit!

Let’s get back to Life is a Moving Target!  The devil gets you distracted on where you are headed and before you know it, you are shooting at problems that aren’t yours, and if they are – you gotta look at the big scope of things; the eternal side, I’m still learning how to do that.  My target changed in that room from the caseworker to the typist lady.  She came off as if she were the judge.  I didn’t take to that well.  I am sure that she won’t forget who I am.  I thank Jesus that he helped me keep most of my dignity in tack.

So, we go out of that to a call from my foster mom friend who tells me that my 2 littlest ones are having a whole weekend visit.  What?  {She has the brothers of these two littles.}  I call the caseworker.    Mind you this is the same day that I take my nephew to the airport to go back home, and Nathaniel to fly to Atlanta, GA and then head to Centerville to have (minor) eye surgery for a touchup from my Lasik.  He says, “um, no, ma’am, we aren’t doing the whole weekend.”  I said, “wait a minute, it is every other weekend for overnights and it was just last weekend?”  He says, “oh, I didn’t tell you.  I’m sorry.  We are doing every weekend now.”  Uh, thanks for the heads up dude!

Between tears that evening of having my nephew leave, which gave me a touch of my sisters and Nathaniel going out-of-state for school and knowing he’s going to be 17 next week AND tears of discomfort from my eye – I could feel the 2 littles slipping out of my grasp and the tears were plenty.  Their court date is July 11.  This may be when they leave our home.  Life is a Moving Target – one that we have to just keep on, keeping on.  We can’t quit!  Philippians 4:6 (NIV) says:
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and                                petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

May we find rest and reassurance in this, even amidst the busyness of our days.