Here and Not Yet

As Christians, we believe in the here and not yet. We believe that God through Jesus Christ has shown us His Kingdom here on earth and yet we haven't seen its fullness and won't see it until we experience God face-to-face. So, as believers we live in this tension of knowing that we have indeed encountered the living God already; and yet there is still more to be experienced.

I have felt a similar tension today. We went to court for our three foster boys (our friends have the older two boys and we have the baby) for the first time today. The oldest children have been in care for over 15 months and our little one has been in care his whole life (nine months). We went expecting that the heat may be turned up a little on mom and that her visits may be suspended for a while until she showed more progress.

What happened was quite different. I felt my heart race in the courtroom as the typical questions were asked by lawyers, caseworkers and judges to catch everyone up to speed on the details of the case. It's hard hearing these little lives talked about with the proper amount of seriousness this kind of conversation brings, but also with a "business as usual" tone much the same as how many of us would make plans for the day. That in and of itself is a hard reality - that these conversations are customary and far from taboo for the court. Lord, in your mercy...

And then the judge mentioned a TPR (termination of parental rights), a phrase we have hoped to hear but never expected to hear today. Within five minutes or so, the decision was made. Mom's parental rights were gone and we were moving toward adoption with a high probability of our friends and us being the permanent placement for these boys.

I was stunned. I wanted to shake my head vigorously and clap for the judge. Finally, someone was talking with some sense and logic!

I wanted to cry tears of joy for our little guys and our families. We may not have to say goodbye.

And then the emotion that surprised me the most, I wanted to weep for their mother.

We exited the courtroom and this tension of the here and not yet was palpable. Did our novice ears understand the language used in there? Were we creating the reality we wanted or did that really just happen? Was it too good to be true? We had been warned these things don't happen this easily. We must have heard something the wrong way.

Our caseworker confirmed that it had happened exactly as we heard it.

You would think we would jump for joy and cheer and celebrate, but we didn't. I think we all sat in the tension of the moment. We had to give ourselves permission to smile and it still wasn't easy. Honestly it still isn't.

Yes, we could be the forever home for these boys and yet it hasn't been fully realized and won't be for a while. And while we feel confident of the gift these boys are to us and we are to them, it doesn't take away the burden on our hearts for their mother.

She will never know the joy that it is to really know these babies. To rock them to sleep at night, to bandage their wounds, to pick them up from school and have them run to you with joy. Never. I'm still not sure what to do with that. I guess I never will. Some things won't ever make sense and really shouldn't.

Jody Landers said it best, "A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me."

This moment isn't lost on any of us. We are all sitting in the beauty and difficulty of it.

With that in mind, please pray for us. Many of you already have and we are so grateful.

Pray that we can actually believe this has happened. We are still in shock.

Pray for our children and our extended family and friends who love these boys as much as we do. This journey is difficult for us but also for all who love us and them. (Note to friends who are around Isabel: she does not know the outcome of today. We are afraid her little heart couldn't take the disappointment if this doesn't work out the way we think it will.)

Pray for the process and those who have a hand in it - there are many hurdles and steps to take. Much wisdom and discernment is needed.

Pray for their mother - for her heart, her life and her future.

Pray for us. This forever family is a gift but it's one that we cannot open yet.

It's here but not yet...