I'm really having a hard time figuring out what to call this post. Nothing quite seems adequate. And I'm not entirely sure how the two things I'm thinking about intertwine, yet in some ways they do.
The first thought is about a post that another mom of kids with FASD wrote today. She says it so well, I'll just have to ask you to look at it here. I too, had unrealistic expectations of how my youngest kids would act and heal by living with us. I thought I was prepared. We had done respite care for other foster kids, talked for years with people who have fostered and adopted, took classes, and read up on what to expect. But the bottom line is that you never fully know or deeply understand how bringing kids with FASD into your home will affect your life, your marriage, your other children, your reputation, your faith. And it's been good. It's been hard. Harder than I could have ever imagined. Yet good.
The other thought I've had today was about tornadoes. There has been a swarm of them this week and many people have died today. I narrowly missed a deadly tornado when I was three and lived in Illinois, and I've lived in fear of them since. Now you would think that living on the West Coast, where tornadoes are rare, for over thirty years would lessen the fear response. But until a few years ago, my heart would race and I would break out in a sweat at tornado videos, newscasts, or the few tornado warnings or watches I would hear in the area. When I had a bit of a panic attack after hearing a warning for a tornado about sixty miles away one day, I decided to do something about it. Being the overachieving person that I can be, I decided to desensitize myself as much as possible. I watched videos of tornadoes, I watched movies, I did what I could, like practice relaxation techniques, to get to the place where I could hear about a tornado and not panic. So today, I did the same. And I didn't panic. I prayed, I watched, I read. But I was able to keep my heart rate down.
Sometimes I feel like if I work hard enough, I can do anything, even if it's overcoming a childhood fear. But I need to remember that it isn't always possible to make things all better by working harder. I can't ever work hard enough to heal my kids, to make them act perfect, to do what I want them to do. God is the only one who can heal. I am not the healer. God is the only one who can change hearts. I can only obey Him and trust that He loves the kids even more than I do. I can do some things to help, but I can't do it all. And knowing that is good. Hard, but good.