One year ago today, we welcomed 'A' into our home.
After months of preparation and countless prayers, our home of one husband, one wife, one toddler, and a dog was soon to be the new home of a child in foster care.
The time had come and on March 13, 2017, around dinner time, on a work night, we were introduced to a four-month-old in a white onesie in our living room.
We became a new family when 'A' entered into our lives. It was similar to the way we became a new family when Zeke was born and then later when Teddy was born. A new person makes a new family.
Remember the moment you discovered you were pregnant or your spouse was pregnant? Or think back to the time you were approved for a long-awaited adoption. Or the moment you met your spouse? Didn't the sun shine brighter and the colors around you seem more vivid? It's as if the happiness of those moments was visible in the world around you.
Welcoming a child into your home through foster care can have a lot of the same joys and beautiful moments as the examples above, but the similarities start to dim once you get deeper.
When I think back on the last year as foster parents I of course think of all the changes and memories we've witnessed with 'A.' I think of our love for him, our love for his family, and all of our feelings about his situation.
But after I think about our exact situation and 'A's journey, I think about the bigger picture of it all and what we've learned from the last year.
What we've learned is this: being placed with a child through foster care is being invited to walk in the darkness of God's light.*
If the birth of a greatly anticipated child makes the world brighter and more vivid, foster care reveals deeper, sometimes darker shades of the colors around you.
There's nothing bright or sunshiney about abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or destitution. The colors you see in foster care aren't brighter and more vivid. They are deeper and darker.
People don't find themselves having their children taken away because things were bright and perfect. Families whose children are being taken away have been experiencing trauma and pain for who knows how long.
When you see the smile on a child's face who just entered foster care, your mind wonders how something bad could ever be done to them. You look at their innocent smile and your heart breaks for the deep pain and suffering that caused such a breakdown in their family.
Those thoughts and questions about these children and their parents and family are the deeper, darker colors of foster care. Once you see those deeper, darker colors, there's no turning back.
For the last year, Nick and I have been looking at the world through a lens of deeper, darker colors. We've accepted the invitation from our Maker to step into the lives of those who are hurting.
We're not heroes. We're not saving the world. We're just being parents to a child that needs us and whatever we can be to his family. We're just doing our best to do the uncomfortable, climb into the darkness, and be examples of God's light.
When I think back on the last year, I think of that. I think of the deep colors, the mess of it all, and the absolute honor it is to know the darkness with God's light.