Monday, January 19, 2009

Incarnational 101



We are a foster family.

We recently had a little girl named Klaudia placed with us as a foster child. To be honest, our reasoning behing becoming licensed was because we wanted to adopt a second child, and we could not afford to do another private adoption, as we did with Anisa. By going through the foster care system (DCFS and its various contracted agencies - in our case ECFA) we could go through a foster-to-adopt process and actually be paid for the whole thing rather than going into hock. Nothing like your tax dollars at work!

A little boy named Venson was placed with us last summer, but he ended up being permanently placed with relatives shortly after we got him. So in September we got Klaudia at the age of four months.

Klaudia was born drug-addicted. As a result, she spent the first month of her life in the far from ideal environment of a hospital. Because her birth mom was trying to get her life together and was in rehab, she got her little girl back. Unfortunately, her mom worked a lot and Klaudia was left with various caregivers, which ultimately led to 11 fractures, including 5 broken ribs. Klaudia was removed and placed in the system, which led to our paths crossing.

Here's the hard part: Klaudia cries all the time. Often, she screams uncontrollably. When we first got her, she screamed so bad I honestly believe it could not have been worse if someone was sawing her leg off. It has gotten better, but it's still extrordinarily hard. Too frequently we are awakened to screaming at 5 am. Because of her drug addiction, hospitalzations and abuse, she has significant sensory issues and is delayed several months in her development. This results in weekly appointments with various therapists, representatives of DCFS and ECFA, various social workers, and of course the regular weekly visit with her birth mom.

Klaudia also has a condition called craniosynostosis, which will require cranial surgery later this month. Our lives have been consumed with doctor visits, consent forms, and tests at Children's Memorial. The surgery itself will require the turning upside-down of our entire lives (all 6 of us - me, my wife, my boys Klaudia and Anisa) for some time.
It's insane.

I was teaching on the concept of biblical love a couple weeks ago when I realized that I had not been loving Klaudia. In fact, I was looking very forward to the time when she would go back home. The thought of adopting her is really unrealistic since her mom wants her back and is working toward that end, and the emotional trauma of attaching only to lose her seems to be too much. I have even been contemplating getting out of the whole foster care business entirely and scrapping the idea of any more adoptions. It's just too much.

But I am a slave of Christ. Do I love only when it's gratifying? Do I make my own decisions about my life?

What about the thousands of kids in the system that need homes? After Klaudia, do I just get out for the sake of my own sanity?

Maybe...

But it's not my call.

I had something of an epiphany the other night when we went to a foster parent support group hosted by ECFA. I saw other couples that had 4 or 5 or 6 foster kids, all with significant issues. And they were doing it with love and joy.

At the very least, I need to be wide open. I need to be available to God. What, after all, does it mean to be the "hands and feet of Jesus"? It has to be something tangible, no?

I don't want to sacrifice the health of the rest of my family, and God knows how much we can take, but I am no longer willing to simply say no. Life cannot be about my comfort or what makes me happy if I am to call myself a disciple of Jesus.

So I am open.

And I am learning how to love a difficult little girl who lives in my life and my home.

Labels: , , , , ,

6 Comments:

Blogger Morgan said...

Wow, Steve. What an amazing story and life you have! First off, bless you for opening your heart and home as a little safe-haven, a portal of goodness for these kids. Here's an opinion from someone you don't know ; ), but God certainly led this little girl into your lives for a reason. Maybe for you to have in your life for good or maybe to show you that what you already have is all that you are meant to have? Hmmmmm....I wish I could give you the answer, but you know God is about to show you HIS answer very soon.
I love your blog, btw!

January 21, 2009 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Morgan said...

I love, love that picture, too! Her big beautiful blues eyes are mesmerizing!

January 21, 2009 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Thanks, Morgan!

She is a little doll, and a blessing as well, despite the difficulty. God is teaching me some good things here.

I guess our family was already out of margin before she came, so that's the rub. But I am learning to consider it joy.

January 21, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Steve,
Long time no hear... or something like that.

hey bro! Man I am so inspired by you and look forward to the day we can kick it in person.

My wife and I are seriously looking into adopting since we cannot have any more kids "naturally"... thank God for our three wonderful children who have our blood and this has not discouraged me at all but your words have inspired me.

I love ya man!

January 22, 2009 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hey, man!

I miss your blog, and I miss blogging with you guys!

Adoption is an amazing journey, and very incarnational. I'd love to talk to you more about it.

Our adopted daughter Anisa is also challenging in some ways (VERY energetic!), but she more than makes up for it. She is a delight.

Klaudia is a delight as well. Very precious.

It is important to know what you're getting into, I would say, but definitely worth it.

January 22, 2009 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

BTW - Klaudia just got out of surgery a couple hours ago.

So far so good!

January 22, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home