If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know all about my job and joblessness woes--more than you probably ever wanted to know. For the uninitiated: I left college, got a job with a crazy person, spent 6 months unemployed and zombie-like, took another job with a crazy person, spent 20 months unemployed, moved to Texas, got a job, and now here we are.
During the last few months of my last job and for the entirety of my second bout of unemployment, I prayed for a direction. Was I supposed to take another job in my industry or chart a new path? Where did God want me to work? Where would I do my best and make the world better and serve Him with my abilities? When no voice from heaven came and the doors kept closing on job opportunities, I got discouraged and cried out to God for any kind of relief. After a many months, God told me (not audibly--I'm not entirely crazy) to move here to Dallas. And many of you would see that as God answering my prayer for direction. It was an actual, geographic direction provided by God. Boom, prayer answered. And that's absolutely true.
Except. I never told you (and I only told a few people at the time) that I was getting an another answer from Him the whole time. Every time I prayed about my future, I got this simple and ridiculous answer:
"Be a foster mom."It was whispered in my heart, it consumed my thoughts, it was in my face all the time. Every time I turned around, I was accidentally stumbling across adoption stories or foster care information or someone was telling me I needed to work with children or I was meeting people who had fostered. I had dreams of a four-year-old boy with dimples and adorably crazy hair, the same boy over and over again. It was WEIRD, is what I'm saying. I'm not one to see "signs" or patterns or put much stock in dreams, but I do believe in a God who is actively involved in our lives, with whom we can have a personal relationship. I had just never experienced it like this before--this overwhelming sensation of knowing what I should do.
And I knew it wasn't from me. I KNEW it, because every time I heard it, I would chuckle nervously and whisper, "You're kidding, right, Jesus?" It was as close as I was willing to get to consciously telling God, "No." I didn't want to be a foster mom, but I knew I NEEDED to be one. I wanted to get a job, get married, and have my own biological children and maybe someday WITH MY HUSBAND, adopt or foster. I wanted the perfect life, the American dream, the self-focused desire for my children to have my eyes and my husband's laugh. I was never opposed to adoption or fostering, it was just something I supported other people doing. I especially didn't want all of the fear of adoption--what if it doesn't go through? what if the birth mother wants them back? what if they're older and we never really bond? what if I'm not good at it because they're not "mine"?--and I didn't want all of the problems I'd heard about with fostering--what if they're troubled? what if I can't handle their issues? what do I do when I have to give them back? will I always hold a piece of my heart back because I know it's not permanent?--and yet there it remained, month after month, an ache deep in my heart for these parent-less children.
And the someone, not knowing about my internal struggle, brought up the Bible verse that says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" and taught me what the verse really means. It does not mean that God is a genie and gives you what you desire; it means he gives you the desires themselves. This was from Him and even though it was CRAZY, I could kind of see His point: I love children; I have always felt like I was created to be a mom; Even in unemployment, I was so blessed and more than many other people. So I eventually kind of accepted the premise and said, "Okay, God, FINE! I'll be a foster mom. Someday. But I have no income and I live in my sister's house. That's not really an option right now. So, thanks and all, but can I have a different answer? One that's more applicable to my immediate issues? Like a JOB?"
And then God laughed and laughed. I mean, ahem. He provided a way for me to move to Texas and start a new life here. But here's the thing: this thought? It hasn't gone away (I thought it might. I maybe even hoped it might. I thought maybe it was a phase or a far-in-the-future thing that God allowed me to get a glimpse of). It disappeared from constant view amid the moving to Texas stuff, but a few weeks into my new job here, there was a day that was like ADOPTIONPALOOZA in my life. Among other things that happened that day, I was researching something else entirely and came across a fostering site with pictures of kids waiting for homes (side note, I'm not sure how I feel about this, since it feels a little like a department store website where you can pick out the prettiest dress or something...), then a blogger I read announced they were adopting and talked about THE SAME struggles I'd had and how they worked through them, AND THEN the novel I was reading to took a radical and unforeseen turn that ended with the main character taking custody of several children. And the whispering began again, but slightly different this time:
"I gave you the job you asked for. I will soon provide a home. You're out of excuses; it's time to be a foster mom."And that's where I've been ever since. I'm nearly in tears as I write this, because I don't know what any of this means. I don't know how hard this is going to be, and I don't know how to accomplish any of it. I don't even know if I can afford a place with more than one bedroom, which would be required. I'm barely on my feet financially. I'm just starting to feel emotionally healthy after the angst of the last few years. And I have no idea how this will affect my future. Will I end up adopting, or will I just be a safe place for a child for a little while before they reunite with their family? Will I get married and have biological children, too, or is this a completely separate path? Is this actually some selfish way for me to be a mom without waiting through the hard stuff that singleness means? I don't have much of it figured out, but if God gave me this desire, He will provide a way to make it happen. And every morning, I wake up thinking about where I'm going to live and how I'm going to follow this leading, about who this kid is going to be. Because now? Now I don't just need to be a foster mom, I want it with all my heart.