Here's the truth of it: I battle selfishness a lot in this journey of foster care and adoption. I have moments where I think, "I could have had a pretty easy life." To be brutally honest, at a couple of super low, super hard moments, I've had the thought that my child was ruining my life.
My selfishness is one of the main ways I am attacked. Sometimes the enemy pokes at that little idea in my head of what my life would've otherwise looked like had I not gone down this road. Maybe I'd be more rested. Maybe I'd be having more fun. Maybe I'd have kids who were easier and better behaved and less demanding. Maybe I'd have less wrinkles and thicker hair.
You know what saves me when I start thinking that way? This idea that I want to finish my life totally and utterly spent. I don't want to finish it well rested and comfortable. I want to be exhausted and poured out and just spent.
In the Bible, Isaiah 58 talks about what God wants of us and it says to "spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed." That idea of spending myself is just so powerful to me. I want to SPEND MYSELF for the hungry, the oppressed, the strangers, the orphans, the least.
The problem is that's not easy! Or really fun. Or comfortable. And that's not what our culture pushes on us. And maybe that's not what the person next to us is doing.
But when my life on this earth is up, I want to leave knowing I spent myself for children who needed a home and a family and food and clothes and medical care and love.
Have you seen the movie Schindler's List? It takes place during World War II and there's this man who uses his position and influence to save over 1100 Jews from death in the gas chambers. The last scene in the movie shows all these people he saved thanking him. He breaks down and says, "I could've gotten more...I didn't do enough...this car, why did I keep the car? Ten people right there..." and he goes on through things he held onto that he could've sold to save more people. It's an incredibly moving scene. It's sobering to realize that is probably how we'll feel when it's all over. Why didn't we sacrifice more? Why did we hold onto so much? We didn't do enough.
Now obviously there are points where we are doing so much that we are failing to do any of it well. And that's not what we want to end up doing. But I've also gotten to points of realizing I could be doing more. And when that selfishness creeps in and tempts me to become bitter at aspects of my life, I have to remind myself that when it's all said and done, I'll probably wish I'd sacrificed even more.
So, fellow foster parents, we will continue to fight that selfishness, amen?! We will not give in to the temptation to pursue the easy life. We will finish this day loving the kids in our care. We will fail, but we will do our job the best we can. And tomorrow, we'll get up and do it all over again, spending ourselves to love kids who desperately need love.
Laurel is a 30 year old mom to 3 boys ages 7, 6, and 1. She and her husband adopted their first son through international adoption, their second through foster care, and they are currently in the fost-adopt process with their third son.