1) Started out with my wife dragging me into it. There’s always a dragger and a draggee. I’m thankful for the tug though, we would have missed a huge blessing without it.
2) After the first 48 hours I thought we made a major mistake. Why aren’t they more gracious than this? Don’t they know we’re on their team? Ha! Here’s a quote, “I’ll grab his neck, you get his feet!”
3) Normal parenting strategies DO NOT work. They took my incentives and consequences, rolled them up, lit them on fire, and threw them back.
4) Love is really tested. Yesterday, one of our girls was playing in our neighbor’s flowerbed. After a couple failed attempts at redirection, I picked her up and she slapped me in the face and screamed at me. In that moment, I can fuel her rage by reciprocating her emotion, or absorb it and calmly but firmly give her consistent correction without losing connection.
5) Empathy and frustration can coexist. We have cried many nights as we prayed over them. In four short years, their little lives have experienced unimaginable abandonment and pain. Their night terrors reveal a level of fear and rage that we can’t understand.
6) Growth isn’t linear. We’ve seen amazing progress in a short period of time, but there have been quite a few setbacks too. You get comfortable and start to coast, you’ll wake up to clogged toilets, a kitchen table covered in shampoo and a smile that implies your test has begun.
7) There’s nothing quite like seeing them come alive! We’re starting to see the little girls God created them to be coming out from behind the crazy behaviors. A truly beautiful sight!
8) It’s ok to have your heart broken. In fact, it’s probably a requirement if you’re going to open your life enough to become a conduit of healing.
9) Our kids are a few years older and are learning a great deal about sacrificial love, compassion, parenting, and the importance of inconveniencing yourself for others. They each say they’ll be foster parents when they’re adults.
10) We’ve needed good friends and good resources. We couldn’t do it without a strong support network. Karyn Purvis’s books and DVD’s are at the top of our list for resources.
11) The church is God’s foster care system. It’s not a debatable topic. The only time the phrase “pure and undefiled religion” is used, it’s followed by, “take care of the widow and orphan.”
12) I don’t regret it for a minute! We love our girls! It took a little longer for me than Bonnie, but they now have a place in my heart and always will.