In the early Spring, my husband and I decided to take classes for people interested in adoption or foster care. We went into the classes with a desire to one day adopt and left the classes with a calling to become foster parents. This calling surprised us as much as it did anyone else. At the same time, it made so much sense to us.We had been gifted with the resources and the ability to help these children. How could we not answer the call?
Thus, came the next steps in the journey...home visits, telling people...answering the questions of aforementioned people. And, the waiting for the call. The wondering if we would truly be ready when the call came. And one day it happened. A phone call to pick up a four day old infant from the hospital. Four days old and nowhere to go. Such a sobering, humbling and God-filled moment in our lives.
Our four day old is now two months old and this little guy has taught us more about love in his short two months of life than we have ever known. Sometimes it seems hard to verbalize just how much we've learned, but the other day as I sat rocking our little man to sleep, I was flooded with words to express my heart and gratitude.
So, here it is...what I've learned about love two months in.
Love is limitless. I always thought I'd be able to love a child I had not birthed like they were my own, but doubted myself. I still wondered how it would feel to receive a child into my heart who I had no connection to. Would I really be able to fall in love just as I had with my biological children? Would I treat this child with the same affection? Would it come as easily as I thought? The answer is yes a hundred times over! More so than I could have ever imagined in fact. It comes easy to us as believers because God has placed within each of us an incredible gift to love and to care for the orphan, the least of us, the marginalized. Love is born when we choose to live beyond our fears, preconceived notions, our bias and simply choose obedience and love. Up to the day we received our foster son, it felt scary. Now that we are in it, it's just what we are doing every day to touch the life of this little one. Nothing grandiose or special. Nothing unique to our family but simply a willingness to let God strengthen in us the ability to love.
Love isn't about me. Not about my plans, my schedule, my thoughts on how things should run. Love extends beyond my need to control and when I am fully surrendered to this type of love, a love that looks outward not inward, oh the peace that floods my soul! We encounter so many questions about how we could ever give him up. While the heart of the question is valid and sincere, my only answer is that it isn't about me. When I chose to love this way, I chose to take myself out of the picture. I choose to everyday make a conscious decision that what we are doing isn't about me. It's about being faithful and giving love knowing that it probably will end in heart break for me and my family. But love isn't about me, it's about others.
Love is an investment. When Jesus commands us to love one another with all of our being, He's asking us to give ourselves completely to each other. To invest our heart, soul, mind and strength into other people. In our situation, He is asking us to invest in this child for however long we have to invest in him. Whether that be days, weeks, months, years or a lifetime. I am grateful for the people who have invested in me in my life. Some have given me a lifelong investment while others only gave me a few minutes of their day. A campus minster whom I had just met who took time out of his day to talk with a college Senior about her plans after graduation and brought to light that as a female she could be a minister. Five or ten minutes but a life changing investment in me. Love is being aware of the other - whomever they may be - and investing for however long God has called us to invest in that person.
So as we hit this second full month of care, there are still lots of unknowns. How long will we have the baby? He's so young, will he remember us when he is gone? How will my children handle saying goodbye? How will my husband and I handle saying goodbye? Will the hard reality that he may go to a home that won't love him the way we do make me bitter? Mostly...will he be okay? Will he be treated well? Will he know just how precious he is and that he is loved?
And I stop in the midst of all those questions, and am reminded that God is so much bigger than me. That God speaks love into our lives in ways greater than me or my imagination. That God holds the future for all of us and especially for this precious gift that has been placed in our lives.
And knowing that, frees me to love not only this little boy but all others around me with more fervor and authenticity than I ever have.
I am learning how to love in a whole new way and know this lesson in love is how God has chosen to invest in me.
And we're only two months in...