I was sitting in my bed last night after the third fit of the week left me feeling drained and heartbroken. Transition time is coming, which means my kids begin to have some hard times, especially my little lady. The baby was laying next to me, nursing but not sleeping quite yet(because who could really sleep with the shrieks happening?) and the toddler was behind me, out of the arm reach. No one ever believes me when I tell them that sweet little face turns into a hitter, puncher, and spitter when worked up; but she does. So Bug is on the other side for the now, watching Land Before Time for the third time this week, in hopes he will be distracted from the meltdown in front of me. I close my eyes to pray, because engaging with her only makes things worse, and I have a thought. “What am I even praying for right now?”
That may sound like I’m questioning God there, and maybe I was a little bit, but I was honestly stumped. Was I about to pray for her to just go away-the begging and pleading prayer of a mama who is just so tired and worn out? Was I going to pray more for her hurting soul-one I pray for daily, knowing full well myself even years and years out, trauma can still sneak up and ruin ones day? Was I going to pray daddy suddenly showed up and took over?(I did and miraculously he did…God provides y’all.)
What was I praying for?
I had what I’m going to call an epiphany, though less intense and sudden. As I was sitting there, a few things ran across my mind that I should be praying for as a mom/adoptive mama. I grabbed my iphone and wrote them down. I wanted to remember these things for the next time a night like this hit.
Then I started to wonder, why would I only pray for these things when the days and nights are rough? The prayers God put on my heart in that moment of vulnerability are important not for me alone, but for adoptive parents all over, every day. In my moments of intercession, I want to have these points present so I can mediate and pray on them. I also wanted to share what He put on my heart with y’all as well, in case it may help shape your prayer time for and about your adopted/foster children(and yourself, your forever family, and their first families.
As there are seven prayers to make, I will be praying for one of these each day of the week, more in depth or in a passing second. Even if you are not a foster or adoptive family, these could be ways to bring about prayer for those out there who are struggling. I will be the first to tell you-I am so thankful for the prayers in our hard times. If you’re looking for a family or child to specifically pray for, I am happy to give you a name. Or you could pray these prayers for the entire system in general.
What prayers were put on my heart?
That the Lord provides healing and renewal. The people in this system are usually hurting. The very concept of taking a child from the person who birthed them is enough to leave trauma-forget the reasons for removal. I pray constantly for the healing and renewal of my kids hearts. I also pray for the healing of first families. I have seen many people be broken before they had these babies, in the same general way they are broken now. It’s a cycle and I won’t dive into that topic(today, maybe I will in the future), but I try to pray for the healing of all those involved. That includes social workers who see nightmares I can’t imagine, judges making impossible choices…and myself. (Want a Bible Verse for this? Try Psalms 51: 9-12)
That the Lord protects and provides for them. Like all parents out there, my kids futures scare me. A little different from all other parents though, is the knowledge a lot of things are working against happily ever after. As a foster mom, I also pray for the futures of our kids biological families and the foster children who were in our lives part time. That helps me feel more at peace when I can no longer help a situation. (Want a Bible verse? Check out 2 Thessalonians 3:3)
That my heart is not hardened against these behaviors, but instead I remain soft and loving in all battles. That I(we) continue to maintain grace and forgiveness as their mother(and father). Y’all, I’m going to be so vulnerable right here-I sometimes find myself hating the behaviors that my kids have. Logically, psychologically, I know why my child will sit at the foot of my bed and tell me she hates me and wants another new mom because I’m as bad as her first. I know why. I studied psychology, studied trauma, studied social work. But y’all, it still freaking hurts. It hurts a lot some days. I pray God keeps my heart soft when it comes to these things, that I stay vulnerable and allow myself to keep opening my arms up every time. Praying this for biological families can be hard; we see the same behaviors occur time and time again. But I sometimes force myself to, simply because even when the behaviors and choices are horrible, they’re still hurting humans in need of God’s love. And sometimes, I am the person they see the Bible lived through.
That our marriage(and the marriage of other foster and adoptive parents) remain steadfast and strong in these trials. I’m going to be really vulnerable here again-foster care adoption is SO hard on a marriage. We fight battles together and sometimes, we lose sight that we are fighting the same battle. Praying for the marriages in this is such a key point. Pray for your friends marriages guys. Pray they keep Jesus in the center and they persevere through every hardship as a team.
That we as the Church can continue to help and support all those involved in the foster care and adoptive systems-first families, foster families, adopted children and parents, etc. I am so blessed. So, so blessed. I have had this amazing support at our church. I’ve heard stories where this is not so and it breaks my heart. The Church has a responsibility to support the community, especially the children and parents who are vulnerable. I urge you to urge your churches to regularly pray for those in foster care, to learn how to assist the members of their congregation who are involved in foster care, to reach out to other charities and communities to help them. Pray the church rallies around these people. (Read James 1:27)
That they know they are not alone. I’ve broken down a lot in the past three and a half years, because this life is sometimes really hard. But what’s kept me going is a whole lot of love from some really great Jesus folks. The internet is a big and scary place, but it’s also become a place where we can make connections with other people who are just like us. I’ve found so many Christian mamas out there who felt called to foster and adopt, who have been my strength in hard moments. I’ve found women and men in our church who will rally around us during the rough seasons and celebrate the good ones. Pray that those out there know they are not alone and they find the support they need. This goes along with my previous one about the church. We were never meant to do this life alone.
And that we all recognize and have in faith in God’s Sovereignty and His goodness in all of these trials. When in this system, it’s so easy to get caught up in what you think is the best situation or outcome. I will never forget sitting on the stand and being asked what I thought would be the best solution for my kids and me, sobbing, saying I truthfully do not know. But I serve the One who does know, who has written this story out long before I was even aware it was coming. And that was enough; in that moment of doubt and heartache, it was enough to trust in His goodness and His will. Pray for families who are in the middle of that. Pray for yourselves, for the judges, for the lawyers. It may not end up where you wanted it to be(and I can tell you, I’ve been there) but it will end up how God has planned.
If you or anyone you know could benefit from being added to my prayer list that focuses on adoption and foster care, please don’t ever hesitate to ask me to add their names. This life is hard, but it’s not impossible if we lean into the One who makes all things possible.