Have you ever found yourself at the airport standing at the counter frantically trying to move clothes into your spouse’s suitcase to get it down to the acceptable weight while everyone behind you checks their watches? Or maybe you’re one of the smart ones who weighs your bag repeatedly at home, leaving behind things you’d rather not for the sake of saving money. The bottom line is that if you want to go somewhere, too much baggage weighs you down.
For all of you extra observant readers, you may have noticed that there have been long lengths of silence between my last few blogs. I know that I promised to stay busy this summer, and I have, but being occupied was not the reason for my procrastination. The reality is that I had some major “baggage” of my own to let go of before I could possibly move forward in this journey towards becoming a foster parent, namely anger, resentment, and a serious sense of entitlement.
A peek into my recent struggles: This whole DHS process is extremely disheartening to say the least. Being required to spend hours on paperwork and take parenting classes would probably deter all but the most dedicated applicants (which is probably the point). However, I can’t help but think if the parents of these babies had been required to do the same before they conceived a precious child, many children would not have to live through the horrors that they face every day. There is never a lack of sickening, inhuman stories in the news involving these innocent angels. (Case in point: http://www.newsok.com/woman-is-arrested-after-girl-5-found-living-in-closet/article/3587308?custom_click=lead_story_title). I could dwell all day too on how unfair it is that women get to birth these amazing gifts from heaven when they don’t even want them in the first place! We have considered domestic adoption briefly, the price of which is an insult to injury in itself. It is just so wrong that not only am I being robbed of the joy of carrying a baby, watching it grow while seeing my features reflected in its little face, but that I also have to either pay an arm and a leg to have a baby or subject myself to months (possibly years) of being controlled by the state and its flawed system. I’m sure by now you see the dire situation that I was in last month…my baggage was controlling my life.
I defeated this unrelenting dialogue in my head by rewatching a sermon our church did several months ago on the dangers of comparison. When I was lamenting about how crappy my situation was, I was really saying that I was not satisfied with the blessings that I have been given. We are all blessed in different ways and we don’t really deserve any of it. We are not guaranteed anything in this life, and yet I have been given so much. Who am I to say how God should bless each of us? Comparison also leads to jealousy, which is an extremely destructive force. I was actually feeling resentment and anger towards others for being able to have a baby! That is humiliating to even admit, but it is so easy to succumb to and it’s different for all of us. It is impossible to get into someone’s new car or tour their beautiful home and not get a taste of jealousy. And who goes home afterwards and is more thankful for their junked-out vehicle or worn out furniture?
The most unfair thing of all would be for us to bring a baby into our home while I am still holding on to something else. After a month of grappling with all that extra weight, I can honestly say that I have come a long way in letting it go. I don’t HAVE to foster a baby because it’s my last resort; I GET to follow a higher calling than most people BECAUSE of what I’ve gone through. I GET to make a difference in a child’s life and I GET to rewrite that child’s story while doing it. Instead of seeing fostering to adopt as option #2, it is now my priority. It doesn’t mean that these thoughts will never cross my mind again, but now I know that gratitude goes a long way in dissipating the resentment and anger. After a month of turbulence, we are hoping for clearer skies!