we didn’t wake up crazy one day

The sun shines through the blinds that are broken and mangled from the insane cats that invade my existence. I roll over and shake Justin awake. We meander downstairs to brush our teeth and eat eggs. Over coffee and sleepy eyes, we decide that today is the day. Today is the day we lose our minds. We open the window and throw all common sense down two stories and watch it break into a million pieces. We calmly put on our coat and shoes, drive 40 minutes one way, sit in a run-down County building and listen to people support and encourage our recklessness. We take notes on how to corral our craziness and follow state-mandated rules and regulations. We have officially gone insane.

Justin and I did not include foster care in our “plan.” We did not include becoming foster parents on our suspected life milestones.

Although I am a bit unhinged at times, spontaneous, and prefer to make impulse decisions; Justin is the complete opposite of each of those adjectives. He keeps me centered and pulls me back to reality and I push him to step outside of his comfort zone and let his feet come up off the ground. Through this push and pull method we have with each other, we threw around different life adventures we would like to experience. Eventually, we naturally (for me) landed on foster care. Justin and I spent more time than I can remember talking about this. We talked late into the night, on long car rides, over dinner.

We didn’t just simply wake up one morning and lose our minds. It happened slowly; it took months and months. We were pushed, especially Justin, outside of our comfort zones. We were challenged to take a good, hard look at what “love” really is.

It’s easy to love your child, your spouse, your sibling, your parent. It is easy to express love to those in your life; they are permanent fixtures. But the longer Justin and I looked at what it would mean to love, actually love, within the foster care system, the crazier we began to feel.

Love doesn’t rationalize. It doesn’t judge. Love just doesn’t care.

Love doesn’t care if we pour our time, love, and energy into the beautiful child in our home and then this child is taken away. Love doesn’t care if this beautiful child is torn away from our daily life. Love doesn’t care if it hurts us.

We had to face questions and swallow our pain and answer with an inconvenient, love-sacrificing “yes.” Are we willing to change our day-to-day life? Are we willing to give up our schedule? Our convenience? Our money? Our comfort? Our travel plans? Are we willing to protect and love a child that more than likely will return back to their home?

Some of our answers began as “I don’t know.” Then they became “maybe.” Then one day, our answers became a soft “yes.” Eventually, it was a strong, resolute “yes.”

It was one thing for Justin and I to be able to answer “yes” to these hypothetical questions, it was another for us to put action behind our words. I did not exaggerate at the beginning; we truly did wake up one morning and have a “if not now, when” moment. But understand, it took us quite some time to get to that place where we felt confident enough to throw what looked like common sense out the window and get ready to embark on a crazy, crazy journey. We lost our minds slowly. We went crazy over months. And then all at once, we embraced it. We let it seep into the cracks of our hearts. And we know that we will forever be changed.

J&A

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