The Picture That Broke Me
I was packing for vacation. I had entered T-minus 24 hours pre-vacation mode which essentially consists of me packing/cooking/cleaning/shopping/washing/organizing/laundering paired with equal parts stressing/crying/yelling/walking-into-a-room-and-forgetting-why. Pre-vacation is me momming at my very best.
My sweet little foster son had already been picked up by his worker the day before. His eight hour drive to North Carolina was killing the two birds of his newly ordered week-long visit with relatives and our already overcrowded family vacation. My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I opened it to a picture of my beloved boy with his new family. Tears filled my eyes within a second.
I couldn’t believe the picture. He was with his soon-to-be family, grouped together like strangers, looking at the camera with sad, hardened expressions. No arms around shoulders or happy head tilts or smiles. I couldn’t read the togetherness or silliness or love so obvious in almost every other family picture I’d ever seen. Everything about the photo put a lump in my throat. These cannot be the people who are going to raise my sweet boy.
Suddenly the passing stress of packing dispelled into the heavier heartache familiar to foster care. I knew that I was going to have to let this little boy go, that I was only the middle mom between his biological mom and his adoptive mom. I knew that, and it was about all the sadness I could handle. I was expecting grief. I was expecting loss. Now I had fear.
Seeing him with his soon-to-be family raised all the questions I hadn’t let myself ask or answer before. Would he be protected, kept safe? Would he be cared for, cherished, truly loved? Would his mommy nurture him, would his daddy teach him to be a man? Would he have a “good life,” educated and happy and needing for nothing? And high, higher, highest, miles above all these other concerns: Would he come to know and love and live for God? Would anyone ever tell him about the Jesus who loves him so?
I didn’t have answers. I don’t have answers. So, rather than drown in the uncertainty of it all, I circle back around to questions. But this time they’re different questions.
Who created my sweet little boy? Who knit him together in his mother’s womb? Who placed him in our home and our family? Who wisely, sovereignly, perfectly chose his forever home, his forever family? Who has been with him since the day he was born? Who will be with him as he leaves our home, as he grows into a boy, becomes a man, for the rest of his life? Who loves him more than I do, more than my heart is even capable of?
I don’t need all of the answers to all of my questions. I need the One answer to the right questions.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God.” -John 14:1
P.S. I realize that I quickly, unfairly judged this family in a single moment. This could've been a story about my prejudices and pre-judgements, but that’s another post, another time. You’ve been exposed to my weaknesses, shallow and judgy as they may be. I need Jesus, friends. Thanks for reading my mess and showing mercy.