A few months ago, my husband and I were prayerfully offering our home as an adoptive home for two brothers, ages 7 and 9. We had spent time with them often and prayed for them multiple times per day. They loved my 2 boys and my 2 boys loved them.
We began making mental preparations for logistics. Build bunk beds? Shuffle bedrooms? Move around car seats? Maybe a bigger dining table… new books and toys, figure out a new grocery budget… growing from a family of 4 to a family of 6 overnight would take some effort. But not only in our homes.
Emotionally we prepared as well. I imagined them running down the stairs before school to grab breakfast. I imagined them here for Christmas Eve around our tree and the spouses they would eventually bring home years and years down the road. I imagined them calling me mama. I imagined the melt-downs and the nights in tears, I imagined the daily marathon of parenting 4 energetic young boys. I could feel them growing our family in my heart. But it was all still so unknown. We dreamt and planned and held our bigger, full-of-boys, future family with an open hand because at any moment, we knew it could disappear.
In the period of waiting (lasting several months) from when the idea sparked in our hearts to when we got the call that they would not be coming to our family, we lived in that strange in-between that only a foster parent really understands. The pull of maybe forever-maybe never.
We have great peace with the home the boys are in now. We know they are loved and well cared for. We can see God’s hand stretched over their lives. But sometimes still when I am making dinner for my family of four, there is a hint of missing the sons that were never mine. When I pull the smaller serving bowl out of the cabinet, or when we can easily remove the backseat of the van because no one needs to sit there. There’s just a glimpse of the bittersweet.