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March 26, 2012

Levis craft

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I've been in charge of our chuches Little Lambs class of 4 and 5 year-olds for about five weeks. Todays class began when one of the children found a package of paper lunch bags. He opened the drawer below to reveal a package of cotton fuzz, then proceeded to stuff some fuzz into a bag.

My reactive thought of "Hey, put those back" was transformed, possibly miraculously, to "Hey, my first craft!"

Not knowing why the bags were there or whose they were, I imagined there was no better use than stuffing them with cotton. Neither could I come up with a reason to delay the craft to a later, more traditional craft making point in the hour.

So I instructed everyone to grab a fist full of cotton fuzz and a paper bag. I offered to write their name on it and help them draw anything they wanted. My ladybugs were pretty weak but I could draw a mean T-rex and catfish. They colored the bags. There was glue involved, if for no other reason than to fulfill the Biblical gluey mess in Sunday school mandates.

The children then held their custom bags of cotton as we talked and prayed and read a portion of Genesis chapter 18 about Abraham and Sarah. I immediately quizzed them.

"Who was Sarah? Why do you think she kept saying, 'I didn't laugh...I didn't laugh?"

Then we went outside with our bags for a Neature Walk through the real cathedral. Because nature is neat and, y'know, God created.

We talked about seasons and weather. We saw birds and talked about God providing food for them. Each child picked a small purple lilly, snagged a short stem of blooming ornamental pear tree, collected a pine cone or two, and snapped off a small piece of the bushes that line the church.

No Little Lamb is bound by our useless distinctions between weed and flower. Dandelions were a precious commodity, rare today. I saw Levi literally leap to capture a random piece of tanbark as if it were a $100 bill being blown by the wind.

"Whatcha' got there Levi?"

"It's a piece of wood that I thought was pretty."

"Oh ! Nice find."

He proudly plopped the item into his bag. It was the greatest single piece of tanbark my eyes had ever seen.

We went back inside to sort and applaud the mornings treasures. We discussed some of them until Kevin lightly tossed out the word snack. Kevin, oblivious to clocks, knowing not the minute or the hour, perfectly identified snack time. So we had a snack, and that just about wrapped things up.

I was tempted to make my own bag to help remember some of the treasures I came across that morning. But instead I thought to write them out, put them in this here craft.

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March 07, 2012

you never know

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Amy and I haven't been talking about our ongoing training and qualifications for foster parenting. This is where we are. I'd like to remember.

Our intention is to foster and hopefully adopt a child through the Bair Foundation. The training and numerous checks and balances are a hassle but certainly understandable. The agency learning about you and you learning about yourself and what you're getting into is a valuable process that cannot be accomplished through a questionnaire or lecture.

Why are we doing this? [I ask myself some times]. Because we have room for another child in our hearts and home. Because there is a need, and our faith calls us to action, and we take it seriously.  

During our final training session today, the social worker told us that about 10% of people who begin the process both qualify and choose to follow through with fostering. They know what they're doing, offering all they can to set your family and the adoptive child up for success.

But they also plainly tell you that "you never know." Some seemingly perfect placements go poorly while others expected to be rocky end up doing quite well.

You never know. So they suggest that you pray. That scares me, quite honestly. They're plainly saying that the deal doesn't make much sense for reasonable people. Maybe it does for a family that faces fertility issues, but even then...

I've had daydreams during training, seeing visions of feces smeared on the walls, living room curtains ablaze, coming home to find Amy struggling to apply a physical restraint. Each of these circumstances were specifically addressed, so maybe I was paying attention for the most part.

Hell yes we are scared. We're scared by him/her, unnamed and without a face, full of every behavioral and psychological issue, bound by miles of red tape and inconvenience. But by Gods grace most children come with a name and a face and without every worst case scenario.

Maybe we are idealistic, naive, and looney - Amy and I rushing to help one child in the name of the Lord. We're not acting out of some kind of obligation or guilt. But in our minds we tried on a relatively secure future, comfortable, trusting in ourselves, looking back and wondering why we didn't try.

I'm wondering if that's the worst case scenario.

So we're praying about it. Because you never know.

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