It's hard sometimes to be the Mama of three, but also the Mama of thirty-nine more. It's an unbalanced scale of who I am, and who I really am.
The fact is that God sent me in to be the Mama of teenagers when I was just barely a Mama myself. It was hard and it was good.
I'm not really sure why people don't get how deep this love goes. I think most can understand the love of a biological child, and even an adopted child. Something about a kid not getting that official "adopted" stamp across the top of a piece of paper draws an imaginary line in the sand in the minds of some. I'm here to tell you, you don't need a fancy stamp to wrap a child up in love. It doesn't matter if they come to you at six months, six years or sixteen, they'll wrap your heart up and cinch it up tight in a skinny minute. Probably when you're not looking.
And so it was on Christmas morning, I missed my girls something fierce. Those achings of my heart just couldn't be ignored this time. If I was longing for them, chances were, they were aching for home. Barry and I took a look at each other and said we had to do something. We wanted our girls home: all of them.
In the land of grown-up kids, trying to match up schedules just isn't pretty. It was decided that we wouldn't even try. So, that early Christmas morning we shot out some messages here, there and yonder that read "new tradition: Sunday dinner." Our girls and their families would be invited to Sunday dinner (all of them!) about every six weeks or so. We threw it out there not knowing if any of them would even come and within minutes our phones were buzzing with excitement. Our girls were coming home!
We knew there was no way we would get them all over at once, but we also quickly realized we couldn't do it at our home. Our girls have babies coming out of their ears! We reserved the farm at the children's home that we all once called "home" and set up a menu where everyone would share in bringing the meal.
Yesterday, four of our girls and their families joined us for our first Sunday dinner. Oh my heart, it was so good. It's one thing to love these kids, but it is another thing to tell them that we love them and hug their necks in person.
Kaylyn, Terreyka, Nikki, Bethe
By the end of the day messages were coming in from more kids, the neighbors kids, our kids' siblings: they all want to come. Of course, we said yes.
My heart has been wrecked over the last 24 hours over this idea of home. My girls have always been welcome to come home, but having a set time and day and knowing that you are welcome made the difference for our family. These girls are our family.
I think this is that place where foster care fails kids. Where do they go to Sunday dinner? Who do they call to say they've had a bad day, are getting married or are having a new baby?
We've decided that for our girls, if they will allow it, that void stops here. We have always tried to keep in touch, but we have already seen the difference a circle around a Sunday on the calendar can make. I love Sunday dinner.
My girls come home again in six weeks. I can hardly wait.
God is good, all the time!