Sunday, December 18, 2011

When my heart's overwhelmed...

Here my cry, O God, attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth to Thee I cry;
When my heart's o'erwhelmed lead me to the rock that's higher,
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I

(Psalm 61:1-4)

Sometimes, life just isn't fair...  Sometimes, it overwhelms...

Last July, I got a phone call from CPS.  My son Luke's three siblings were in foster care, and the parental rights had just been terminated.  Would I be interesting in adopting them, I was asked?
Quite the question right out of the blue, but once I got my breath back, I said, without hesitation (and after asking my husband): "YES!!"

So my name was passed to the children's social worker, but before he could call me, there was a problem with the adolescent boy in the group.  A problem that made it impossible for us to take him.  I wanted too, but I had to keep the children already in my home safe.
They tried hard to change my mind.  They told me of door locks and door alarms, and not letting him out of my sight.  But I am a scatterbrained, easily distracted person, and I knew I was not able to do this.  When they accepted that my no was no, they told me simply that it was all the children or none of them.  They would look elsewhere.

I didn't hear from anyone for three weeks, then I got another call: the judge said separate the children.  Was I still interested in the girls?
My answer, again?  "YES!!"

The fact was, the older sister, who was about to turn 15 years old, had been in my oldest daughters foster home back several years ago.  I had tried to adopt her and the brother back then, but in the end, they were returned to their mother and her boyfriend.  But mom gave up her baby, who I didn't even know had been conceived when we started the process, and he is now my son, Luke.  The littlest sister, who is five, had not been born when we adopted Luke, who is now seven.  I still wanted this older girl, even though I knew she had been through terrible things since the last time I saw her, and now she was nearly grown.   And I was happy to take the younger one, too

So we were directed to a Christian adoption agency.  Soon, we were taking classes, getting TB tests and visiting an office to get FBI fingerprints done, having our backgrounds checked, taking CPR classes, and all sorts of things, at our own expense of course, but we didn't mind.

After a few weeks of this, we were finally given permission to visit the girls, and we began to have them over almost every weekend.  They were thrilled to see their brother, although the older girl had just about forgotten she had a little brother, and the little one had never been told about him.  The older girl held Luke and sobbed when they were reunited.

I won't say it was easy all the time to have them over.  They were certainly different from my own children.  But we were having fun, and bonding in the meantime.  Both girls freely expressed that they really, really wanted to live with us.  The older one remembered coming to our house and milking cows and playing with our kittens.  She had fun getting to know us again.  I was thrilled with the whole thing.

So we went through the whole process, even buying a building and adding it to our house because we needed a bit more room.  We were assured we were the only family they were looking at...

We turned in our homestudy, and suddenly it all came to a screeching halt as the girls were in the process of being transferred from the foster unit to the adoption unit.

I got a call telling me that they had moved too quickly.  That someone had made a mistake.  That we should never have been called so early...

That CPS wanted to reinvestigate putting the girls back with their brother.  That it was all on hold, even though it had been hinted to us that they might be moving in over Christmas break.

I was crushed with the phone call.  So was foster mom.  What I was told and what she was told were different things and not adding up...

As I took the girls back to their foster home last Sunday, I talked to the older girl a bit, telling her I wasn't sure it was going to work out after all, because CPS wanted to think about putting her back with her brother.  "That will take about five years," she replied.  Then she turned her whole body towards me and said, "You are the only one who wants me."

Friday, I got a call.  We had been turned down as a placement for the older girl by CPS.  Even though they were the ones who called and asked us to take them in the first place.  The adoption agency had asked CPS if they could reassess our homestudy to see if it could work out.
"Don't bother."  CPS said.
I declined coming into the office for a meeting, because I was told it wouldn't do any good.

Since that time, I have learned in a round about way what seems to be the reason we were turned down:

We are too "strictly religious".   CPS doesn't believe the older girl can acclimate to a household like ours: headcoverings, dresses only, no TV, etc...
Even though she wanted to be here, knowing us well.
Even though she seemed at ease with it all, and in fact, was already imitating us.
Even though I expected that once she had been here a while, she might rebel against it.  I had even talked with the person doing our classes, and gone over how I would handle that.
CPS was afraid rebellion against our "religious lifestyle" would cause us to disrupt the adoption.

This decision was made by people who did not know us, and had never seen us with the girls.

But the decision is made, they tell me.  We will not be allowed to adopt them.  They will look elsewhere, to strangers.  Guess the older girl won't rebel then, right?

However, they encourage us to continue visiting them so they can know their brother.  Once a month, or less, they say.

All weekend, I've been trying to make sense of it all.  I hadn't cried this time.  For the past two weeks, I have figured they were going to turn us down.  I've even talked to God in my prayers about it.  I was pretty calm, I thought.

Then this morning in church, we sang Psalm 61, up at the beginning of this blog.  As we sang this song, tears stung my eyes, and my throat closed up until I could bearly sing.
"We shall abide there before our God forever, mercy and truth preserve our souls in Him.  We shall sing praise unto His name forever, Daily perform our vows and laud His fame.  Hear my cry, O God, attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth to Thee I cry; When my heart's o'erwhelmed lead me to the rock that's higher, Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

Suddenly, I knew, this might not be over.  I am still allowed to see this girl I have tried to adopt twice.  If I cannot have her in my home, where I could finish raising her and try to love and heal her, then I will do that with the visits we will be allowed to have.  Who knows if mentoring her in this way might not work better than actually parenting her?  I am disappointed, but I trust my God.  He knows what he's doing.  I've prayed enough, even fasted over this, so I have to trust that he is in this disappointing answer.

"I will abide in thy dwelling place forever, I will thee trust and e're thy covert claim.  For thou, O God, hast heard me, thou hast given the heritage of those that fear thy name..."

Pray for us...


  1. My heart breaks for you. I'm so sorry. It's in these terribly tight places that our Father becomes so real! I pray that all things would work together for the good and that all would continue to be conformed to His image. I also am praying that His plans would continue to bring good and hope to your family. Fostering is the most wonderful, terribly hard thing I have ever done, but would do it again in a heartbeat. I will continue to pray for you and your family and these precious girls! Blessings. I haven't blogged lately. Katie has had another hospital run. We are on our way to see the doctor this morning.

  2. I pray that everything works out for the girl. I really don't understand their reasoning. She needs a home with good parents.

  3. Will you accept my empathy and prayers, Carla? I love what you are doing for these children.

  4. That is so sad! Why is it that the courts always think they know what is best? I hope things work out eventually.

  5. I accept and thank you for them, Leslie. This is a hard time.

  6. Thanks, Sheri. You would know just how this all goes...

  7. Thank you Anonymous and Mom of 12!


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