Updated: Sep 30, 2019
Ok, so it's a Monday night there is school tomorrow and I am cooking funnel Cakes with my 13 year old son Nate. Technically it's Henry Nathaniel (I love Indiana Jones). A little about him before I get into the cooking on a school night thing. Nate came into our lives about 3 years ago. My husband and I met and fell in love with this crazy kid at a local church camp, Elkhorn Christian Valley Service Camp where my husband was leading a week of church camp. Nate was from West Virginia and had a pretty bad home life. We didn't know much about him other than he was crazy fun and had a smile that could make your heart flutter.
But God knew about all of it. People that say God doesn't have a sense of humor has never actually listened to him. After spending time with Nate for 1 WEEK!!! Kevin and I both knew we had to be in this boy's life. We originally thought: help out, encourage, bring clothes, send cards.... God had other plans in mind. Kevin promised Nate that we would make the 1 1/2 hour drive to Weirton, West Virginia to visit him. At this point we were in touch with some pretty amazing people in West Virginia and we kept checking in on Nate. We found that he unfortunately had been placed into the Foster system along with his little sister. (At that time she went by Brie) We had such a yearning to help these kids but there was no clear direction on HOW. When we went down to visit we were able to take him and his sister to McDonald's, we laughed had a good time but these kids were just radiating brokenness. Kevin and I said our farewells and got into the car to head back to Ohio. It was then that God placed a seed of "Foster Parenting" in my heart and injected the soil with miracle grow. I looked over at my husband and said we need to talk. We have a 1 1/2 hour ride home and you can't jump out of a moving vehicle. At this point we knew we didn't really have chance to actually foster Nate and Brie. Kevin and I knew that if not these kids we know we need to do more for kids just like them, I called for weeks every single Wednesday on my lunch break to the kid's case worker just asking for news and to see if there was anything they needed or wanted that we could send them. No matter the outcome, Kevin and I were committed to encouraging and loving these kids no matter where they went. We began classes to become licensed foster parents, still not thinking we had a chance to call these kids ours. Having a tenacious personality may not always be in my favor but by God's grace and mercy it helped in this one. The court finally got the hint we weren't going anywhere and after months and months of paperwork and visits we got placement of BOTH Nate and Brie October 6th, 2017 and we legally adopted them December 12th 2018.
Then reality made me biff it...... hard.
So here we are in present day, Kevin and I already had biologically two awesome kids: Isabella 11 yrs. old and Hudson 7 yrs. old and we just adopted Nate 13 yrs. old and Brie 11 yrs. old. What could possible go wrong?!?!?! Technically nothing and everything at the same time. Nothing went wrong because it was all starting at ground zero of love, affection, trust and respect..... and everything because it WAS GROUND ZERO. We went from these kids thinking we were okay, fun people to "what do you mean I have rules and boundaries?!?!" Our entire family went through an exhausting emotional roller coaster of emotions, attitudes, sickness and spiritual famine. We theoretically knew it wasn't going to be easy to guide these kids. Growing up in a emotionally, physically, spiritually corrupt environment will give you a lot of baggage. These kids.... had steamer trunks of it and you know what, we discovered that ALL of us did too. Kevin and I had much different looking baggage, we discovered we had the "we should parent these kids like how we were raised", now we both had awesome sets of parents and they raised us in the right/normal way but we discovered our "normal" upbringing had left us very ill equipped to parent in the non-normal situations. Cue the counseling!! So did you know not all of us think the same?? Huh, shocker right?!?! With the aid of a spiritually sound and God serving Counselor we learned how as parents to take our external values and biblical wisdom and present them in a way that is becoming internalized in our kids. As adults and parents we had to submit our authority to Jesus. We had to learn we don't always know what the answer is for every attitude, for every emotional overload. Life is a crazy, messy and beautiful thing. And our God is good. And we are still consistently looking to him to help.
Okay, so now to the funnel cakes. Why do you ask, am I staying up on a Monday night after 9 p.m to make FUNNEL Cakes of all things. It all comes down to feeling out the moment and listening to the Holy Spirit. For the longest time I was the strict , "you shall not stay up a single moment past bedtime." I felt in control and like I was being a good mom. Now DO NOT get me wrong, all 4 of my kids are expected to go to bed at 8:30, relax and get some good rest for the next day. But don't forget that some of my baggage was that "I needed to parent the way it was done to me!" I have found I was talking at my kids a whole lot more than listening to my kids. I do not want to be a stranger to their sweet little spirits. Tonight my son wanted to make donuts (Thanks for the idea Aunt Manda.
....not :P ) the whole evening he was helpful, patient and gave me space to get the other 3 kids to bed. BUT we ran out of time to make the donuts before his bedtime. I could have stood absolutely firm on bedtime; I chose instead to fulfill my promise and listened to the mood and feelings of my son in the present moment. We discovered we suck at making donuts but with a little extra love we ended up making awesome funnel cakes. In the end, Nate said "Mom, thanks for cooking with me, we should do it more often." Quality time = his love tank was full. AND he said " it's 9 p.m. I'm going to bed, good night love you!" No fights, no arguments. "Crickets Chirping"
By listening to him and the situation I filled a kid that has never had a loving mother figure, who has never had to not be the adult, who didn't know that women could be nurturing; I listened and learned how to have him feel my love.
Listening the whisper of the Holy Spirit will mever steer you wrong. God is good.