Soon after our girls moved in with us, we established a bedtime routine. Every night, we would read a book with them, and then pray before tucking them in. Since we became parents very suddenly, our cadre of books for children their age was pretty small. One book quickly became a favorite. It was called, “To Everything,” by Bob Barner,
and was a bright and beautifully illustrated version of the scripture from Ecclesiastes 3:3-8
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
Our youngest two were 5 and 6 when they moved in with us and our middle daughter was just starting to read; she would struggle through the book. But, either because of it’s bright pictures or maybe the rhythm of the text, it remained a favorite. They moved in with us in October, and by June when we moved to Baltimore, and they stayed f WV, Suzie Q could read about every other word. We talked about what this meant in our lives: that we had stayed together for a season, and now we were going to be a part or a season; I told the girls that every season teaches us things, and that every season ends to bring something new. These lessons we were about to learn the hard way.
In a few weeks, we will mark a year that they have been with us full-time again. In some ways many, many things have changed in a year. At this time last year, we were just beginning to experience violent, loud, and heart-wrenching temper tantrums from our middle daughter. Her poor heart and mind could not make sense of what was going on in her life; she wanted to be with her bio-mom, she wanted to be with us, she wanted to be with her oldest sister, and she wasn’t getting any of those things. The only way she knew to express this anger was to yell and scream and kick and throw things. A temper tantrum with a 3 year old is one thing—one with a 95 pound 8 year old is something completely different.
A year ago at this time, we were also getting ready to celebrate the high school graduation of our oldest daughter. We were taking prom pictures, and preparing for parties. Now she lives in another state, working so hard to be completely self-reliant.
What a difference a year makes.
In some ways though, nothing has changed. The younger girls are still technically in “foster care,” because there adoption has still not been finalized. We still live our lives with multiple social workers traipsing through our home and schedule multiple times a month. We still work to keep them connected with their bio-mom, and their former foster parents. We are still helping them both to figure out what it means to be in our kind of family, and what it means to be adopted.
We also still read that book, remembering once again, that for everything there is a season. Those who know me well, know that I hate the, “everything happens for a reason,” cliche. Personally, I think that’s crap. I know for a fact though, that everything happens for a season. We are thankful for the year we had to show our girls that we weren’t just saying we wanted to be a family–we worked at it. We drove two hours one way, every weekend to bring them home for just a 48 hour period. We did it because we could not imagine not doing it. But we are glad that season is over. We are thankful for the months of suzie Q’s temper tantrums–because they let us show her that nothing she can do will make us stop loving her. But we are glad that season is over too. We are thankful for the last year spent advocating for our little Diva’s resources at school, but are so glad that the battle part is mostly over!
Hopefully sometime this summer, the season of our daughters being in foster care will be over, and the adoption will be finalized! That day there will be much rejoicing! Until then, we remember that “for everything there is a season, and a purpose for everything under the heavens.”