A Birth Story of Sorts (Part 1)

Next week, we will be welcoming a sixteen year old girl into our family.  For real.  Remember that post at the beginning of the year, where I looked ahead to a year likely full of the same old same old?


This story starts back around the time Charlotte was born.  I knew after that pregnancy (see hyperemesis gravidarum), and certainly after another round in the ring with postpartum depression, that another pregnancy was . . . unlikely.  But I also didn't feel that our family was quite complete.  I began to have this stirring in my heart regarding foster care. 

Over the course of several years, it seemed like references to foster care would pop up on a monthly or even weekly basis.  I felt such a pull and responsibility for children in the foster care system and started praying and researching ways we could help.  Certainly there are financial ways to contribute, but my sense was that something more was being asked of our family.

And yet our life didn't seem conducive at all.  It took a full year to feel human again after Charlotte was born, and with Mr. Cyrus's heavy work load and the way my own biological children seemed to resist my, um, firm but loving discipline and impartation of wisdom (grimace), I just couldn't see how fostering could work.  I kept looking around thinking, how can I bring another child into this craziness?

And then we felt led to relocate to the parched desert sunny California.  That hardly seemed the time, but the pressure on my heart continued, and I kept asking, "how, God, could we do this?"  I randomly started reading about college kids who "age out" of the foster care system, and then have no support and nowhere to go during school breaks.  We asked around through people who work at nearby U.C. Davis, to see if we might stumble upon one such young adult who needed a home for summer or breaks, but didn't find any takers.  Yet, this turned out to be an important side-trail for us because we really started talking about what our family could do for a foster teen: we could provide stability and love in a teen's last few years before adulthood, and then remain a landing pad for them as they went off into the world.  (Please don't read this as idealistic naivete.  We were hopeful about the impact we could have, but our conversations were also laced with uncertainty, and, yes, fear.  We knew this idea we were discussing could go terribly wrong, and would likely be difficult on the best of days, but could not seem to set it aside.)

At one point, I met a family that had just moved into town, and talked with them about how they were already signed up for the certification classes so they could continue doing foster care in their new state.  I shook my head, just floored at how God kept pointing me back to foster care!  This family was taking some kind of accelerated class, so I briefly looked into it, and shared it with Mr. Cyrus.  Even as I was telling him of the times of the class, I was shaking my head again, knowing we could never make that fit with our schedules.  My husband very gently said, "Not now," and honestly, I felt such relief.  It felt like the right thing, passing on the accelerated class.  But then five minutes later I realized my certainty that we were supposed to foster was still. freaking. there.  And, once again, I kept coming back to the quote from Streams in the Desert:*

We do not know what is lost by our self indulgence, what glory awaits if only we have the courage to climb, or what blessings we will find if we will only ascend the mountains of God.

So I kept praying, "Lord, I am willing, but how?  How?"

Stay tuned later this week for the second half of the story.

To see more about this year of unexpected change and beauty, visit these other posts in my "climb" series:

2014 - Climb
in which I am the pinball
Home, give or take 500 miles
California, for my neighbors
A Birth Story of Sorts - Part 2


  1. So pleased to hear this, Danielle. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Sondra! You've been such an encouragement to me.


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