Our last goodbye was both painful and freeing. We are adjusting to being a family of three again, almost for the first time really. It's so unnatural to go from more kids to less, typically people add children and this just felt odd! The noise and stress level have been cut to a third, which is so nice but also amplifies the loss at times. I've cried at random moments- seeing dinosaur pajamas, having a neighbor ask where my boy is, or hearing a nursery rhyme song that drove me crazy for months. It's been a mixed bag of emotions, but overall there's been a healthy detaching that needed to happen and a lot of sweetness. It has been wonderful to have one on one time with my girl and be able to bond and have fun together. Family outings are simpler, as are most things going from two toddlers to one! We wanted to take the summer to see family back home in California and just breathe and heal. My hubby turned 30 and we had out first kid-free overnight trip which was such a blast!! And we also just celebrated 6 years of marriage! (Woo-hoo!). I adore that man.

The big question of course is "so are you guys going to foster again??". I will admit when I was asked that the day after he left I felt like saying "umm, can I have a hot minute to take a breath!?" But I know everyone means well and they are just curious, which is totally fine with me. The answer was always yes, it was more of a when thing. Sam and I agreed to take a few months off to have a break and just talk and pray about what was next for us and I think that was a wise decision. Part of me could've just jumped immediately back in, because the need is SO great right now and my heart just aches for these kids, but you also have to listen to the Lord and take care of yourselves before you can pour out. And sometimes your husband is the voice of reason and that's a good thing. It's so important to keep your marriage healthy and be united in these big decisions. So with that being said, we enjoyed a slower pace and had some raw and honest conversations together and with God. I had so many little things spinning in my brain. Things like us being a military family and we may have to relocate in a year or two. Or what if I get pregnant? We really want to be, but the timing was rather humorous last go around. My sister is having my niece soon and I want to travel home and see family, how am I going to work that out? Do I even have babysitters or support for all the doctor appointments, court dates ect?? Maybe I should just focus on Eleanor and trying to have another baby biologically...people are going to think we're crazy wanting to do this again. Clearly I could quickly come up with a pretty long list of reasons why we shouldn't do it. But then I also had just as many thoughts from the other side, the big one being we feel so called to this ministry. And though it was hard and painful, it was so worth it the last time, and I know it would be worth it again. Our time in Florida may be limited and we have a chance to serve and love right here and now. (Not to mention Junie is obsessed with babies...and that may actually be an understatement.)  

I actually was praying one day before our California trip and told God, I wanted Him to make this obvious to me and give me such a strong peace if we were going to jump back in. I was feeling a little hesitant and fearful. So I asked for a dream or a sign, not to sound like I'm in charge or bargaining with God, but I had recently read that story in the Bible about Gideon. In short, Gideon wants to be 100% sure God is speaking to him about going to battle and fighting the Midianites so he puts out a fleece of wool and says "if this is really you, the fleece will have dew on it in the morning but the ground will be dry". It happened exactly that way the next day, but he goes even further for confirmation and basically says "ok, God don't be mad at me...but could you do the opposite this time and have the fleece be dry and the ground be wet??" And you know what? God did that for him! I love that story and it almost made me laugh out loud, because aren't we so like that in our humanity? We want to be so sure about everything before we go for it. God doesn't always work that way, but sometimes He allows us to ask because we are His kids and I really like that. So after my Gideon moment in prayer, what do you know but I have a dream a few nights later about foster care. I'm not a dreamer normally, I always have a hard time remembering them and I'm not even sure I do dream often. But it was there and it was vivid, and I could recount all the details and it freaked me out. Because I wasn't actually expecting to get one! And for a second I wasn't even sure I wanted God to tell me to go for it so quickly. Who is actually ready for fostering?! It's like volunteering to intentionally walk into a storm, so naturally there's some hesitation, especially if it's not your first rodeo and you have an idea of what's coming. But sure enough I had a few more dreams in the weeks following, and I had to throw my hands up in surrender. Because His plans are ALWAYS better. Scarier maybe, but better. And I know that I can trust Him deep within my soul. I think we are equally excited and terrified, and that's ok! Let the adventure begin...

But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we are in trouble if He doesn’t come through.
— Francis Chan