Sunday, January 11, 2015

Little Baby Belle

Baby girl,

Today you are six months old. I fall more in love with you every single day. Your smile, your laugh, your fat little legs. Every single moment with you is a moment I will cherish forever.

Like each of my babies who have been here before you, I truly don't know how much longer I will have you. I dread the day when I get the phone call that starts with, "So... There's a relative who has petitioned for custody..." Each court date creates a knot in the pit of my stomach that sits like lead, gnawing at my heart and emotions until I know for sure what the outcome is. 

That knot, though, doesn't come from a fear that you will be taken away from me and that I will lose you forever. Baby girl, that day will come, and that is a fact. I pray that it brings with it a continued relationship with you and your family. I want more than anything to watch you grow up and become the woman who God has called you to be. 

But instead, that knot comes from not knowing...

Who will take you home one day that you will call mommy? 
Who will braid your hair and teach you your ABCs?
Whose arms will you run to when you scrape your knees and need hugs and kisses to make it better?
Who will kiss you goodnight and tell you over and over again that you are loved and cherished?
Who will hold your hand when you're nervous about your first day of school?
Who will encourage you to follow your dreams and be your best, even when it's hard?
Who will make you change clothes before you go out because those shorts are entirely too short?
Who will clap for you at your graduation?
Who will walk you down the aisle when you meet the man of your dreams?

It won't be me, sweet baby girl. I mourn that fact. I hate that fact. But the truth is... You are someone else's baby. I truly hope that I get to see some of those moments. I hope that when you look at pictures from your first year of life, you know who I am. I hope that this season of your life isn't hidden away from you, but cherished... I know I'll cherish it forever. And I'll love you for always. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015


My friend, Tajuan? She's a survivor. She has seen the dark places and she has survived. Not only has she survived, but she has emerged from slavery as a beautiful creation that speaks God's mercy and saving grace to others who are trapped in those same dark places. She constantly reminds me of what it means to be a child of the King... To remember where you have been, to reach out to others with your story, but to be healed and free from the bondage that your story can bring. 

The other day, she wrote of her struggles to deal with her past. Her tendency to ignore the harder parts of her story so that she doesn't have to face them dead-on. Here are her words, so beautifully written:

Sitting in the swamp...

Earlier this month a "name" was given to some past experiences I have had. It is an ugly, gruesome name. A name I wanted to deny, rebuke and not accept. Yet, the evidence presented to me (through many conversations) MADE me see the truth in the naming of the crime with the evidence presented. With the "new" evidence I had, I knew I would have convicted someone which less evidence. So, how could I deny it anymore?

My former defense mechanisms wanted to kick in. I wanted to run from it or hurt me because I was hurting. But this time those things didn't make sense to me. I did something different. I sat IN THE SWAMP.

The swamp of ugly details.
The swamp of allowing myself to grieve the pain and loss. 
The swamp of crying out to God. 
The swamp of being MAD at God. 

I put a deadline on the swamp-sitting. I wouldn't let it consume me, but I would and did feel it. I allowed myself time to process it in the muck and mire.

Now it's time for me to walk through it with the new beautiful light of God. He shed light on a dark place for healing. I see the details now, when once they were so confused. Because I allowed myself to sit in it. 

What a revelation!! It didn't kill me, as the enemy wanted me to believe. The enemy had told me, "If you revisit this, you will die from the pain." LIAR!

Praising God for giving me the courage to sit in the swamp, process the ugliness and know that at a specific time it would be over and He and I would walk through it again... BUT THIS TIME I WILL WALK ON TOP OF THE SWAMP WATER. With Him. Revisiting and healing more. Amen!!!

{Written by Tajuan McCarty}

When I read this, a giant lightbulb lit up above my head. I put a deadline on the swamp-sitting. And there is the key piece I have been missing!! 

You see, when Jakobe (Eyelashes) left on June 18 of last year, I got stuck in the swamp. It's not that I was mad because of where he went or who he went to... I'm incredibly thankful for them. But the swamp is just where I end up when a child leaves my home. I drop them off at their new home and then I drive to the Bayou and cover myself in mud and slime. It's unavoidable. The grief that comes with a child leaving is brutal. It's something that I wouldn't wish on anyone. And there's no way to get around it... It will happen, for every kid... Because they're worth loving and they're worth grieving. Getting stuck there, though, is where it becomes problematic. 

Guys, I didn't just get stuck in the swamp, I put down roots. I became one of those creepy trees that has moss hanging all over it and alligators lurking at the base, waiting for their next meal to come along. By the time that I realized I was a creepy swamp tree, my roots were too deep to move. And honestly, I didn't really want to move. I kind of liked it in the swamp. 

The swamp of ugly details.
could wallow in self-pity, mourning the loss of the dreams that I once had for myself, wondering all the while, "What is wrong with me that I'm not good enough?"...

The swamp of allowing myself to grieve the pain and loss.
I could weep in despair for the child that would never be mine. I could drown in the tears of my broken dreams...

The swamp of crying out to God.
I asked why more times than I can count. I cried out in desperation wanting comfort. More than anything, I self-righteously demanded that God answer my prayers, fix my dreams, mend my broken faith.

The swamp of being MAD at God.
And this is where my roots went deepest. I was mad. I couldn't see His goodness because I felt so betrayed. I couldn't feel His love because of my self-righteous anger. I couldn't accept His answer because it wasn't what I wanted to hear.

And there I have been sitting. Alone in the swamp. Rotting from the inside out. And all the while, trying to look like I was rooted in a bed of daisies. 

So the idea of putting a time limit on my swamp-sitting? Brilliant. 

My swamp sitting days are over. I've been here too long. I'm looking forward to fresh water. To clean soil. And to no alligators.

Will I return every once in a while? Yes. There's no getting around that. Being a foster mom means you will visit, even frequent, the swamp. But next time, I will put a time limit on my stay there. I have too much living to do to get stuck again.

Tajuan, thank you for sharing your story, your beauty, your pain, your life. You lead by example and I'm honored to know you and call you friend.