We have our first placement coming … tomorrow morning! We officially signed our licensure contract two weeks ago. During that meeting we candidly discussed our hopes, our concerns, our limits, etc. with the Pathways placement coordinator. She heard our hearts. She heard our struggle over having felt for a long time that God had a hispanic girl for us (Erik in particular has felt this on his heart for years), and yet wanting to make our home open and available to any child in need (and yes, that is an entire blog post of it’s own – we hated the thought of limiting race, and yet we didn’t want to deny the leading we felt). She heard me laugh about recently envisioning a little boy in our home, because even 9 and 6 year old girls (ahem, the two that we already have) can be emotionally taxing. She heard our insistence that we would only take one child. Of course, to be practical, we were licensed for two spots – one for a foster child of our own and one for “respite” (the fancy CPS term for babysitting). In the end we decided to request ages 0-2, boy or girl.
Fast forward exactly one week later (at which point I have already started scratching my head and doubting if we will ever get a placement because it felt like it was taking “soooo long”!) and I see in my inbox a message that starts off, “I wanted to run this placement by you. I know it’s 2 kiddos, but …”. And from the moment that I read those words, we started on what has been the craziest ride of our lives so far – and that’s without even having kids in our home yet! I called Erik at work, got his voicemail, sent the “I need to talk to you now about a placement” text, and in a matter of 5 minutes we discussed, prayed, discussed some more, prayed some more and decided to say “yes” (CPS moves fast, these things happen quickly, someday maybe I can tell you the story of a friend who had to decide quickly if they could take 3 little ones into their home – while her husband was on a plane!). After being submitted that day as a potential home for these children, we prayed ardently that the Lord would close the door if this was not His will. A long 24 hours later we got the fateful phone call saying “CPS would like to place these kids with you all”. I hung up the phone, sat down on my front porch, and wept – in excitement, joy and fear, praying, “Lord, give us the strength we need to be able to do this, care for them, love them, let go of them, whatever you ask of us, ultimately Your will be done.” I would say we spent the next 24 hours in an excited state of shock, knowing that the Lord had these two little ones intended for our home, knowing that the legal status as of now makes it likely they will be with us for at least several months, while at the same time knowing nothing more than their names, dates of birth, and one brief line of medical information each – that was it! The night after we got the confirmatory placement call we went to a pre-planned dinner with some sweet missionary friends who were on furlough from Chile. I found myself vacillating between being fully engaged in thought-provoking conversation and sitting quietly, stunned, as a deer in headlights. Thankfully, by Friday evening, we knew the date and time they would be coming, knew significantly more about the biological parents and how these children came to CPS custody, and found out more than we ever imagined knowing in advance about each child from their current placement home.
We are strapped into the roller coaster now, there’s no turning back, we are just about to crest the first hill. Tomorrow morning, two children, who I affectionately refer to as “Erik’s girl, and my bonus baby boy”, will be handed over to us, entrusted into our open arms. Well, at least Erik and I have both always loved roller coasters. Hands up, here goes nothing.