April 9, 2012

The Race (Part III)

The Crowd of Witnesses

The terrain on this race was rocky and treacherous, so despite my vigilance and careful attention, sustaining injuries was inevitable.  Contrary to what some people may believe, foster parents are not secretly hiding a pair of angel wings under their running clothes.   We are susceptible to the same sprains and pulled hamstrings as everyone else.   I knew that I needed help, but I had no idea how, or whom, to ask.   My friends and family members may have been willing to help, but I didn’t know how to let them.  And although nobody ever verbalized it, I suspected everyone was thinking, “Isn’t this what you signed up for?”   I had chosen this challenging path.  Wasn’t it my own fault if I was struggling? 

Getting together with family friends or even attending church regularly was completely out of the question.  Consequently, the trail was lonely and desolate.  My fatigue and isolation eventually led to self-pity and depression.  Of course I knew that God was right there with me, but the human side of me desperately needed a crowd of witnesses cheering me on.

April 5, 2012

The Race (Part II)

My New Stride

Every runner knows that if you want to compete well, you will need to run at a consistent pace:  not too slow that you get behind, yet not so fast that you use up all of your energy at the beginning, having nothing left for the remainder of the race.  As the weeks turned into months, and I continued caring for my sweet little foster daughter, I discovered that “frantic” was my new normal.   

April 1, 2012

The Race (Part I)

I tentatively peeked around the corner into the hospital room, my three older children quietly tagging along behind me.  As I caught the first glimpse of my newest foster baby, my initial thought was, “This is the scrawniest thing I have ever seen.”  I could almost see the bones showing through her thin black legs, her tiny arms hung limply at her sides, and her facial expression was listless and flat.  And of course it was impossible to ignore the snaking tubes, tangled wires, and dripping IV’s, which were all connected to blinking, beeping monitors.  

During the drive to the hospital, I had tried to prepare my children for what we might encounter, and had warned them that no matter what she looked like, they were absolutely forbidden to use words like “gross” and “yucky.”  As I stood there those first few moments taking in the unsightly scene and trying to discern which one of the machines was making that disgusting gurgling sound, my older daughter leaned closely and whispered in my ear, “Mama, why is your nose all wrinkled up like that?”  I had to admit to myself that the sights, smells, and sounds emanating from this child were pretty repulsive.  If I had to compare the placement of this new foster child to running a race, here I stood at the starting line, and already I had stumbled.  This race wasn’t starting out very well.