The writer of Ecclesiastes says, "For everything there is a season...a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."
What the writer of Ecclesiastes doesn't say is that sometimes those seasons actually happen in the same moment. The upcoming season of our life will be the season for all of these things, often simultaneously.
When children enter our home, it will mean that they will have just experienced trauma on top of heartbreak. Children are placed in foster care because some form of abuse or neglect was taking place in their home. First, they experience that heartbreak, and then are removed from their home and everything that is familiar. Trauma. Regardless of whether or not their situation was bad, it was their situation. Their home. Their family. Their heartbreak.
That is why I will weep and mourn. Because the original plan was not for children to have broken relationships with their parents. The original plan was not separation. We know this because this mirrors our own relationship with God. Sin and separation were not in the original plan. But, God also made a plan for restoration. And that is why I rejoice and dance. That is why I am a foster parent, to help restore. Why wouldn't I want to be a part of the restoration of a family, or the healing of a child?
So, in the months to come, I expect to grieve and I hope to celebrate. These things will happen hand-in-hand, in bittersweet moments. My heart will both break and rejoice as I welcome children into my home when they have just been ripped from theirs. I will beam with pride and be overcome with sorrow when children experience small successes in my care, but away from their parents. I will weep and dance if, and when, I experience the reunification of my foster children to their birth families. And, perhaps, one day my heart will overflow with joy but be stricken with grief on the day we become a forever family for children who could never return to their first family.
This is what we are opening our home and hearts to as foster parents. The command in Romans to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" never seemed so complicated. Sometimes I feel like this will be too much for me to handle, but if God is in the business of restoration, I had better be there too.
Thanks for your prayers.