Posts Tagged fostering
Imagine that you and your family are traveling through space in a house shaped rocket. Everyone is moving together within the rocket and getting stuff done. Things are in their places and the people inside are thriving. A new baby is added to the family, but because the baby grows in the mother’s womb, the baby doesn’t affect the trajectory of the rocket.
Now imagine a 3 year old joining the rocket family. The 3 year old arrives by riding an asteroid that slams into the side of the rocket. Everyone and everything is tossed around and mixed up. Life in the rocket gets completely disorganized and chaotic. Within the first days of the traumatic event, the family gets things stabilized. Meals resume. Sleep happens. Emotions return to normal. Within the next few months, they slowly get stuff put back in it’s place and they start to thrive again. The addition of a new family member creates some new logistical challenges that have to get worked out. Can they make these changes work in the limited space and resources of the rocket?
How did the asteroid happen to strike the rocket? The child and his asteroid were traveling through space in one direction when they met the rocket moving in another direction. Their life immediately took a new turn when they slammed into the rocket. They have a lot to learn on the rocket about how things work and who does what job. Life on the asteroid was very different. Now they are on the rocket and they have to adapt in order to thrive.
A reality starts to set in for the rocket family and their new child. The rocket is now on a different course because of the impact of the asteroid. They were heading one way and now they are heading in a new direction. How do they get back on course? How long will it take? Do they even need to return to the old direction? What has been lost as a result of this change?
About 2 years ago, my family and our “rocket” was struck by an asteroid with a crazy 3 year old ball of chaos and questions and fears and giggles and songs. Our family was thriving and doing our thing, but when we got hit by this change, the trajectory of our lives was forever altered. Even 2 years later, we are still trying to put our lives back together into some form of order. But, it’s not really going to ever go back to what it was. Especially because in a few weeks, we are going to legally adopt this asteroid baby. Then we are going to baptize him into the covenant family with a new name and a new trajectory for his life and ours.
I was going to write a post about how foster care has affected my lifestyle. However, I have only 2 hours to get my worship prep done for the holiday office break. Then I have to be home to watch 4 kids while my wife takes one to play therapy. After she gets back, we have a meeting with a case worker.
I might be entering into a phase of life when the basic work of living life takes up all my time such that there’s no time left for contemplative activities like writing. Living life right now consists of some fun new developments that are part of my calling to follow Jesus. He has invited us into some scary places, but His rod and staff are a comfort and the yoke He has placed on our shoulders is both “the cross” in that it costs everything and yet it is also “the empty tomb” because it gives everlasting life.
Currently, my family is hosting two foster children. One is a 3 year old boy who is a non-stop flow of questions and energy. He has been with us for 6 months now and he is still wrestling with both the trials of his formal home as well as the loss of his former life. The other foster placement which we just received last week is a 4 week old infant who is still a little bit in shock that the womb-home of her mother has been replaced with a loud and crazy home of big kids, dog barking and strange caregivers. Currently, she needs to be held and rocked and swaddled almost constantly when she is awake.
Fostering is a strange life. It’s hard to describe it to people who haven’t lived it. It’s both intensely personal as you become “Daddy” overnight to a stranger and yet it’s intensely impersonal as you are treated with cold, professional indifference by the vast bureaucratic web that these kids are caught up in. Foster parents are asked to love and nurture a child in their home as one of their own all the while knowing that at any moment a phone call could bring an abrupt end to your relationship with this child.
The other thing that I have going on this summer is a little project in the works that a few of my colleagues and I are cooking up. We have called it the “Worship Ministry Workshop” and it’s a kind of low-key conference to encourage and equip our volunteers. I’m working together with Michelle Higgins and Mary Higgins from South City Community Church and Jules Gikundiro and Adina O’Neal from New City Fellowship – South to put this together. The plan is that we will give our volunteers an time to draw near in intimacy with Christ without rehearsal agendas, to receive gospel-refreshment directed at our particular struggles as worship musicians, and then to share some of our vision for what God can accomplish through our teams.
At this time, I am filled with anticipation for what God is doing in his musician servants in St Louis right now. The ground is tilled and the season is approaching for a Spirit-filled movement in this city to see a new thing come into being, a new wine-skin of songs and expressions for a new generation of saints. I mean something bigger than the next flavor-of-the-month music trend. I’m talking about a revival of the Holy Spirit working to heal and restore this broken, fractured city into the family of Christ. Of course, he’s always at work, but I just feel like his Spirit is opening the eyes of my heart to see how vast his love is for this community.
You can learn more and register for the Worship Ministry Workshop here: http://wmw.ticketleap.com/worshipstl/
It was interesting to see all our friends posting pics of their families out sledding, making blueberry waffles and snuggling in front of a movie during their snow-cations this week. In our home, we had a little bit different scenario. Sledding was not an option mainly because our 2 year old foster son is a toddler and not quite able to hang with his foster siblings physically mostly because he is extremely small for his age. Blueberry waffles might have been nice, but in general, our toddler FS is locked into a daily routine which involves a series of predictable events beginning with picking out a packet of instant oatmeal for breakfast. He doesn’t respond well to a suggestion like, “Instead of picking out your oatmeal like you do every morning, why not delay eating for about 45 minutes while we fire up the waffle iron?” What about sitting on the couch and watching a movie? Toddler FS is not able to quietly focus on something for that long. He can watch about 10 minutes of Sesame Street before he’s roaming around the room looking for something to do. More often then not, he’s climbing in my wife’s lap or my lap and grabbing our faces to get our attention. A lazy morning of TV is not an option.
However, there were some really good times in our home during the polar vortex event of 2014. We made doughnuts from scratch and let the kids help (a few meltdowns and timeouts here and there). We had home made hot chocolate with made from scratch marshmallows (my wife is a real “homemade” geek as you can tell.) We painted our kitchen wall with chalkboard paint (after the kids were in bed) and then let them decorate it the next morning. We had dance parties, hootenannies, wrestling matches and other gross motor skill outlets. The snow storm has also forced us to be fully present in our kids lives for 5 days instead of dropping them off with someone else or escaping to our screens all the time. Even though the storm outside was often matched with a storm of conflict and discipline inside, I am thankful that we were considered worthy to become like Jesus in his suffering for the opportunity to live-out incarnate love.