Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wild Life


A year ago, I found myself accidentally reading books about foster care for no apparent reason. I wasn't particularly drawn to it in practice. I toyed around with it. I saw and still see the great need for folks committed to doing it well. In the back of our minds, we wondered if we would end up "fostering" in a different way. (This wasn't the way we had imagined, but it's close.)

We used to keep Avery sometimes during the evenings while her mom worked. We ate dinner together, played, pushed her around in the stroller, gave her a bath. Once, Cory took pictures of her so we could surprise her mom.

In a million years, I wouldn't have guessed that seven months later, we'd squeeze a crib into the house and move her in.

Our circle throbs with the reverb of busted up families. It has become part of our reality and it can be so tough to navigate when it's all so foreign to us.

Because we love Avery, we know the best thing for her will be to eventually go back home with her Mommy.

It might break our hearts a little, but this isn't about us.
It never was.

~

Two years ago I visited the jail for the very first time. I loved it right away. 



I'd spent my life up to that moment assuming people in jail were "bad", in varying degrees. I'd spent my life keeping distance between myself and their cache of "bad influences".

Then I became friends with a few and became addicted to proving myself wrong.

The middle class safe girl that I was (and still am, in so many ways) felt gutsy and, in some ways, new.

Less than one year after that first visit, Cory went to work at the same jail as the full-time chaplain. He comes home every day with eyes that have seen the sun.

It makes sense why Jesus told us all to visit jails and welcome the hurting. It's because He loves us, and He wants us to see just how small this world is, how alive He is within it, how fun and surprising and ordinary the people around us are, and that we were meant for each other.

Sometimes I get scared that all of the biggest, best changes have already happened. They're dried up. I worry we've met our capacity and the rest of our life will become a stretch of this strange status quo.

After so many years of dreading change, I've come to see its loveliness and adventure.

The best things in our life are the most unexpected and often, the hardest.
They wreck up our plans and leave us breathless and tired.

When we let go of ourselves and our ideas, our hands don't stay empty for long.
So I'm committed to keep practicing the art of holding things loosely, because I don't want to miss whatever's coming next.

Let's live wild together, want to?


PS - Cory is selling all of his "fancy" photography equipment (used to take Avery's photo at the top of this post) in order to buy a smaller, more portable camera that will be more functional inside the jail. (He's not allowed to take his phone in.) He's hoping to sell it all together, so if you or someone you know is looking for a great deal, email me at shannandmartin@gmail.com

CAMERA
Canon 7D
-excellent condition
-comes with one battery, 32gig memory card and shoulder strap
-18 mp
-weather sealed
-7fps continuous shooting
-24,25,30 or 60 fps movie modes

LENSES
40mm 2.8 pancake
- like new condition
- comes with lens cap and mount cap
- great walk around lens
- very small and light

50mm 1.4 
- like new condition
- comes with lens cap and mount cap
- great portrait lens
- very shallow depth of field (which means lots of pretty "blur" in the background)

60mm f2.8 macro
- like new condition
- comes with lens cap and mount cap
- 1:1 magnification ratio
- another great portrait lens
 
Total: $1200 + shipping

13 comments:

  1. The best things in our life are the most unexpected and often, the hardest.
    They wreck up our plans and leave us breathless and tired.....I love this. It is hard but true.

    The past couple of days I have found myself battling the demon of "does what I do really matter"? Ridiculous! Because I know..... I think it's just the dreariness of winter trying to worm its way in to my soul!

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  2. She is just beautiful. Love those eyes and those curls. We became an emergency foster parent. We didn't think twice. We opened our hearts and never looked back. But realistic it doesn't always work out the way you want it to. It's hard to not get attached. I think it's a good things as well. The little ones wouldn't be able to trust living with people they don't know when they aren't loved. I know you hope for her to reunite with her mama. I hope that God has a plan for her.

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  3. Yessss yessss yesss! As a momma/foster momma this post res.on.ates. The unexpected, the messy, the delving into others pain is the door to so many miracles. Thank you for using your voice to inspire and encourage others to roll their sleeves up. XO

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  4. "...but this isn't about us. It never was." Yeah...God keeps reminding me of this. Apparently I keep forgetting...

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  5. Precious. Just when you think your hearts are full, they are stretched beyond imagining to include another. You are always an inspiration, Shannan.

    P.S. Someone is going to get a great deal on that camera and lenses!

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  6. We've never officially been foster parents, but we have had five "placements." They all started like yours, we helped out a little and it turned into more. Three of them are now mine, two are living beautiful lives with their parents. It isn't about us, and I think that is the hang-up for so many. I am often told, "I couldn't do that, I'd be too attached," but my response is always the same... "If it doesn't break my heart, I'm not doing my job." My heart breaking to fill theirs is a powerful experience, and this journey has brought me so close to God. I can't even begin to think of what I would have missed out on by saying no.

    Thank you, for what you are doing for Avery and for bringing attention to the fact that building whole families is something that needs to be done. Like you, my heart beats for adoption, but it isn't the ultimate answer in so many situations. God bless you on this journey!

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    Replies
    1. That is one beautiful little girl.

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  7. Yes, we used to foster, and I felt it was all about letting my heart get broken--letting that little one in and then letting them go.

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  8. Shannan (and Cory), Avery is very fortunate to have your family to love her during what is hopefully a temporary time of crisis in her family. I have no doubt she will benefit—and am confident you and the kids will, too, although it will surely be hard to "hold loosely." Fortunately, Christians everywhere are beginning to realize the need to step up and offer biblical hospitality to neighbors' children until their family's crisis passes. Yes, I know sometimes it never passes, but many times it does thanks to the child-care respite provided to parents. I encourage your readers to check out Safe Families for Children (www.safe-families.org)—an organization promoting just this sort of hospitality—to see if there's a group in their area or to get one started like I'm working to do in my community. Safe Families is featured in the last chapter of Dirty Faith, so it may sound familiar to you. Thank you, THANK YOU for being there for Avery and her mother. Be assured David and I are holding all of you close in prayer!

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  9. I love that about you. I really, really do. And I feel so sad that I haven't gotten there yet. Because, as a social worker, I still cringe when the children have to go back. It breaks my heart. I want to be like you though. Someday, maybe. Sabriah is living with us this year. It isn't foster care because there isn't any government involvement. Sabriah wanted to stay, so we said ok. If she chooses to go back, I will completely understand. She is 15 and that is all she knows. But those babies? Those little kids? It breaks my heart when they go back.

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  10. love love loVe this!!!

    and super deal on the camera~
    i'd snatch up this deal, people!!
    you'll NEVER find all that for that great of price!

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  11. "The best things in our life are the most unexpected and often, the hardest.
    They wreck up our plans and leave us breathless and tired.

    When we let go of ourselves and our ideas, our hands don't stay empty for long.
    So I'm committed to keep practicing the art of holding things loosely, because I don't want to miss whatever's coming next."

    So true. So good. I want to be where God wants me which isn't always where I want me (at least not in the hard moment :)) Learning to let go of what I thought was the plan so that I can be better used in His plan.

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  12. Have you sold the camera? Please let me know as I would be glad to pay that price for it all.

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