It reminds me of the Batman series in the late 60's where Bruce Wayne would stroll the streets in a svelte suit with charm and class, then by night he fought crime and always beat the bad guys. The laughable part was unlike the modern day Christian Bale who is almost unrecognizable as Batman, Adam West still looked like Bruce Wayne...even when he was Batman. Somehow a tiny piece of black leather that only covered the frame of his eyes somehow fooled everyone he saw into believing he was in fact, the cape crusader.
I feel like I've added a hat to the pile. Foster mama. Some days I feel like it's a scam, like I have no control, or rights, or say and instead take on the bad guys and at the end of the day, it was just me and it wasn't that impressive. Other days, I'd say I was feeling more impressive. That I was ahead of the game, followed the thief to his lair and had all the high tech gadgets from Albert and I blew them away.
A collision of two identities, two worlds, two realities I would like to keep separate. I like compartments, cubbies, organization. I would rather somehow immerse myself, our family into the darkness only if I can secure the win. And not have either one bleed into the other. I've put a great deal of effort into this seemingly fantastic idea only to realize as of late, it's just not possible. Not only is it not possible, its exhausting and tiring to keep the two apart. World one, life as I knew it back before that late night phone call and learning he was alive and needed us. And then life after that phone call. Two realities both necessary and real. One busy with school, soccer, dance, community, homework, exercise, marriage, raising babies. And then there's the other busy with parent visits, therapies, health department meetings, court hearings and CPS home visits.
Two versions of any given emotion or situation, once one dimensional and now many dimensions and realms.
Disrespect, my kids can hand it out super fast, like butter. Forgetful of manners or my hard work goes unnoticed over a meal or the sacrifice to double as a sherpa out to a soccer field, which I happily and joyfully do, but the thank you, any amount of gratitude, is lost.
Then there's the disrespect that comes when birth parents don't show up for appointments and visits, for weeks in a row, when you farm your kids out and drive to an appointment to pursue her and be for her, only to have her show up almost an hour late without a 'thank you' or a 'sorry I was late'. There's nothing.
The difference here is the latter example then stretches beyond my discomfort or my offense. It's not just my calendar, my kids, my life that is messed with. It actually has and becomes nothing to do with me. You watch these babies wait in yet another lobby. You watch them look for mama and something tells you she's not coming but you wait too. And you try to understand her heart, her world. You've taken steps into it and it's messier and darker than you imagined. You do your best to rationalize why she's late, why she's unsafe, why she uses. But when he watches for her and the years have taught him deep survival and danger. Over and over the message being sent is devalue and unprotected love on a level I can't and never will wrap my mind around. He sleeps soundly in his car seat while brother plays with trains on a filthy lobby floor, occasionally glancing out the window. These children bounce from home to home, their baggage is too violent and too much to handle. The only consistent thing they know is her, and she's hardly there anymore and she's not coming.
Today she never came. Today it hit hard. I scooped up that little one and although he doesn't know me well, I pulled him in close and told him he's loved, he's worth a mountain to climb. Will they climb it for these children? Today I lose hope because the path leading up to the mountain is empty and there's no one behind us either who's coming.
So what do you do here? How do you return home to this life that yes you've created for yourself and you've made the choices to get you to this place but underneath all that, again is it has nothing to do with me. How do you leave that lobby and turn your back on this child, scoop up his brother and bring him back into the fold of family and safety?
When I take off the mask and slip out of my immortal suit when I get home, I didn't win and neither did the bad guys. Who are the bad guys? In my mind it can't be, it can't possibly be these parents, the thousands of parents who leave children to watch and wait, when the reality of foster care leaves them in hospital rooms with broken bodies because even still they aren't and weren't protected. It just can't be because if it is, if it's true, then I quit fighting for them and I quit believing for change and I lose hope. I have to believe the enemy is at work here and what a monstrous masterpiece of destruction he is painting. I have to choose to believe in the unseen and it's not because naivety has blinded eyes or the reality of the situation isn't made clear. The only way out here can't come from a room of self engineered gadgets and schemes to be executed with smooth craftiness.
The only clear path is hope and belief in what He says is true, that He is a strong tower and all who run into it are safe. How and what does this look like when it feels like darkness is taking ground and the aftermath doesn't end with credits rolling up and everything is magically okay?
We will come home, pick up kids from school and carry on with the weekend. Soccer games, swim lessons, church, friends. It will all carry on. The two worlds continue to collide and honestly I wasn't ready for it. Only a small thread of a black leather mask keeps me from bursting into tears watching him sleep and feeling the uncertainty of what is to come. Being present and available to these precious lives once growing in my belly are now running, dreaming, and needing to know they're seen.
I want a beautifully articulate conclusion to this mess. I want a plan, I want the road map to the bad guy's secret hideout so all victory can be won and the bad dream can go away. I know it's not going to happen and I know the deepest desires of my heart may never happen.
So for today we will press on grateful for this life and that he gets to be in it for however long that is. Thankful to pull him out of the enemy's fingertips and contend for levels of breakthrough and growth, progress and change only the Lord can bring.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower, a fortress, and all the righteous will run into it and be safe.