And the valleys are deep. Very deep.
It's so easy to let outsiders think we are wonderful. Why, we must be such good people for taking in these two abused, homeless waifs. I've seen that look in their eyes, the church people, the family members, the store clerk; that look of awe and admiration.
Yes, of course we always respond by saying that we are the lucky ones. We are the ones who have had a vacant place in our hearts filled by two beautiful little girls. We are so blessed.
I cannot tell you the number of times that folks look at the girls and comment on how they have been thinking about foster care. It's nearly impossible not to consider it, when our girls appear so normal and happy.
The truth is, these two little darlin's come with baggage. Boxes and crates and backpacks filled with emotional outbursts, lying, cheating, name calling, physically abusive actions and eyes that glaze over when you speak to them. Their little brains are traumatized. Their emotions are years younger than their physical bodies. They do not understand so many, many things.
I believe that there are no throw away children. Every child deserves a home and parents who love them. But if you are considering Foster Care you'd best hit the floor and pray as you have never prayed before, because once you invite that child into your home, you are in for one heck of a ride.
Our girls were taught that they should never trust anyone in uniform or anyone who claimed to be a Christian. One of them will tell you straight up that she is not a Christian. We are fairly certain that the other one tells us what she thinks we'd like to hear.
The spiritual battle that is raging in our home makes me quake.
The number of nightmares that both Beloved and I have had since the girls moved in are numerous. We cannot remember a time in the past when we have both been awakened from a night terror, breathless and freaked out. I cannot recall a time in the years past when Beloved has had to shake me awake because I am screaming. Good times friends, good times.
We have walked the wooden floors of our home, praying for protection, in the middle of the night. There have been nights when we've read scripture and discussed events, seeking God's peace and direction from the chaos that our home has become.
Despair attempts to swallow us on a daily basis.
And sometimes I let it.
We are angry.
We are frustrated.
We never know from day to day if it will be a good day...or a bad one.
We've become those parents (those parents I have always despised) that are thrilled school begins in two weeks.
This is a valley. It is deep, it is dark and I grasp at any small ray of light that breaks through the dimness of my exhausted, emotionally drained mind.
These are the truthful words I want to tell those who consider becoming a foster parent or adopting through foster care. It ain't all roses. In fact, if there are roses be careful, roses have thorns you know.
There will be valleys, but there will also be mountain tops and fields of wild flowers. There will be beach trips and camp fires. There will be smiles and hugs and non-verbal I love you's.
And these things will make it all worth while.
If you can just get through the valley.