Have you seen the movie or just the commercial with the creepy demonized kid crawling up the wall? I think this image is more terrifying to moms than anyone. The idea that your toddler could run from you – up onto the ceiling; I’d give up now. Overall the creepy little-kid-thing is pretty terrifying. Kids singing in the background? Poltergeist…”Their heeere!” Or that movie “The Ring” with the little girl in the well? That whole thing in “Pet Cemetary” with the dad digging up the little boy? That’s just wrong. And I don’t watch many movies, and if I do, I do it in the bed, jammied up. But that’s a story for another post. Lately, we watch Netflix because commercials on regular television are so freaking scary. I watched ‘Nightmare on Elm Street” in the 7th grade, it was not as terrifying as the commercials on television these days. If a commercial does come on we don’t want the littles to see, we start hollering like it’s Sodom and Gomorrah. “DON’T LOOK AT THE TV!! COVER YOUR EYES!” And I don’t get scared very often, but there is nothing worse. And I don’t want to be scared at night because I need less sleep in my life like I need more mismatched Gladware storage containers.
I guess its REM sleep? I don’t get a lot of it, but I have experienced it a handful of times since I became a mom in 1995. One night I was in this deep, blissful sleep. It was drug induced sleep from some dental work; it was a happy sleep. I had been asleep for a long time that day. Justin had kept everyone away, and I had passed-out like a college freshman after a frat party. I remember part of a dream; a beach, my husband, and laughing. I felt a warm hand touch my cheek, and I thought, “Aw… I bet there are Capuchin monkeys on this island.”
I start trying to come out of the dreamy sleep. The touch was too real. I feel someone brush my hair away and hot breath on my face. Still half asleep I reach behind me. Justin’s back is to my back. Who is standing next to me? Our bed is tall with wooden slat bed rails – the teens are too tall… Someone of average height is standing next to me, terrifyingly close to me. The hand touches my face again. I peel open my sleepy eyes and am face to face with the black eyes. And a little voice whispers, “I watch you sleep.” And he laughs and runs and hides behind a chair.”
I scream bloody murder.
Of course it is just Sam, our three-year-old, but it’s terrifying nonetheless. He’d been standing on the bed rail, watching me sleep. Justin leaps from the bed, and we hear a little voice laughing. Justin slams around in the dark and Sam darts behind chairs and runs through the house giggling. He doesn’t climb the walls, but not from lack of trying. He’s eventually apprehended and put back to bed. It’s 3:00 am and due to the fright, we are up the rest of the night listening to our heartbeats pounding; lamenting our decision to parent. And now you might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with anything? Is she still on pain-killers?” And that’s none of your business.
The point is parenting, in general, is scary. As I am working on the Foster and Adoption Page for this blog, I remember learning this terminology. I remember the unknowns. I remember the excitement of Sam’s adoption and the stark realities of foster care. But, if you are feeling the nudge to investigate these options, remember this: Parenting is scary.
There are no guarantees. Children get sick. Children have emotional issues. Children don’t let you sleep. They are picky eaters. They smell. They come into your life like a tsunami and leave behind a value size box of Fruit Loops crushed into the carpet. But they also bring much joy. I believe the enemy kept us out of the foster and adoption system for a long time using one of his favorite tactics: Fear.
Pictures in our mind burned there by horror stories. We were afraid. We were filling out our paperwork for foster care, actually trying to foster-to-adopt two little girls, and we were terrified. One day I was praying about my fears, and I said, “I wish I had a clearer picture of what this will look like? I am scared of loving a child we might lose? I am afraid for my other children. I am afraid.”‘ Later that day I saw a picture on Facebook of my friend Daisy’s foster-to-adopt daughter.
I was undone. This is the image. This is what God sees. Shackles broken. Captives set free. Joy in the dance. Sure she may have baggage. I always say every foster-to-adopt story begins with a tragedy. But don’t you have tragedy? Don’t you have baggage? Don’t you have fears?
You do. She does. We all do.
But our identity isn’t our horror story. Our identity is in our Healer who dwells in us. He heals. He repairs. He restores. And prayer covers EVERYTHING. Just a picture to help you process… He watches you when you sleep; He knows your fears.
Cast your fears upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you…. Psalm 55:22
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
This photograph was taken by Lindsey Cotton. Click on the photo to see her other work. Thank you, Lindsey and Daisy, for letting me use it. It’s forever in my mind and heart.