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The call that wasn't...

By Karen Broadhurst

Life is so unpredictable. A roller coaster of moments where you’re soaring into the sky, being thrashed around the turns, and dropping so fast you can barely catch your breath. Parenting is an unpredictable roller coaster, a thrill of a ride. A series of moments intertwined together into a meaningful and purposeful life. Seasons change. Plans succeed or fail. Events go on without a hitch or flop.

One thing I know is that I wake each day with a new joy and an unwavering expectancy of great things. Not always easy to do, but necessary! Being a foster adoptive parent, I feel like my roller coaster is a 10 on a rating that doesn’t exceed 5! I have been busting at the seams with immeasurable joy and strangled at the sorrows that have been whisked my way. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

As a newly married couple in our very early 20’s, already having a three-year-old son, we decided to begin the process of foster adopt. The foster world wasn’t foreign to me as I was raised with many, many foster adopt siblings. Fast forward a year and a half into our new marriage and we were a family of six (I’ll dive into speaking about our first placements in a later blog so stay tuned!). Our kids were 9, 6, 5, and 1. I feel like we were pretty settled and content with our “little family”.

We didn’t have it all together. There were moments of chaos and extremely difficult schedules to uphold, but we were a family. We had that tiny four-letter word…L-O-V-E meshed with U-N-C-O-N-D-I-O-N-A-L, which I’ve found to be necessary in any facet of parenting. We strived to make our house a home for whomever entered.

It was a calm and quiet Wednesday, oh who am I kidding. It was a crazy chaotic Wednesday with dishes flowing out onto the counters and laundry sprawled out of the laundry basket. Appointments to reschedule, paperwork overload from the agency, college papers to write, studying to do, diapers to change, dinner to make, etc. And…the phone rang.

On the other end of the call was someone from our agency telling me about a 12-year-old girl they’d like to be placed with us. For purposes of this blog, I’ll call her Sara. Sara was in the midst of being removed from biological family and would need a home for a while. The agency said that they were having court on Monday and would be placing her that day. As always, I tell the agency I’d call them back after I talk the news over with my husband and kids. It was a unanimous yes to bring Sara home.

Our home would need some major arranging of bedrooms and such to make it welcoming for her to have her own bedroom, but doable. We got to work right away stacking the bunk beds in the boy’s room and switching one of the boys to share a room. As I looked at the now empty room that would soon be Sara’s I thought that it looked way too boyish. I mean there was that construction worker border going around the walls for Pete’s sake! My husband, kids, and I worked diligently over the weekend repainting the room, going to Unclaimed Freight for our new daughter’s bedroom set, running to a decor store and buying everything girly. I also ran to several clothing departments to purchase at least two weeks of clothing to have ready in her closet and drawers. I wanted her to feel welcomed, wanted, and loved from the moment she stepped foot into our home, which was now also hers. The boys even made her cards to gift her with upon her arrival! Our home was all set and ready! Our nerves were in full force as Monday approached and we awaited the phone call to go pick her up and bring her home.

Monday afternoon we got the phone call. Instead of the agency giving us a time and place to pick Sara up, they said the judge decided that she was not going to need placement. Oh, my lands! I couldn’t believe my ears. It had never occurred to any of us that Sara would not be coming into placement. And so, with that our hearts were happy at the thought that she didn’t need disrupted from the home she had. Our hearts were saddened as we knew plans had changed. I was dreading telling the boys the news when they came home from school. Oh, a roller coaster of events and emotions the weekend had held. Now the coaster came to a dead stop and not even on the same track we thought we were on!

I’d love to tell you that there weren’t some tears, but there were. I’d love to tell you that we weren’t utterly surprised, but we were. Looking back, I don’t think we’d change a thing, odd, I know. I don’t know if there is a clear line of “moral to our story” here, but the old saying “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” sounds about right! But the journey wasn’t completely over, the story not completely written; shortly after Sara wasn’t placed with us, the bedroom became home to another little girl! We were certainly thankful that the work was already finished! Counting our chickens before they hatched did indeed come in handy after all!

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