Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Birthday child #2

There's been a lot of maturing in this one in the past year.

She is a thinker, an encourager, compassionate, and wise. She loves deeply and freely walks into brokenness. She has experienced the effects of brokenness and has learned not to fear it but to speak into it. She has been hurt but it didn't break her; instead it taught her to love more.
She turned 12 yesterday but her God-heart is wiser than many of us with more living than her.

God has great plans for her and I have no doubt that her life is going to impact many for the Kingdom.
Earlier this year, Eden's teacher instructed her students to each write a memoir. With Eden's permission, I'm sharing her memoir here to demonstrate who she is and who she is becoming.

When Life Gets Hard        
             Eden King        
My mom always wanted to have lots of kids. She even told my dad when they were dating that she wanted 12 kids. My dad only wanted 2, but so far my mother is in the lead. My mom always wanted to adopt, and foster, and do just about anything for kids, so when mom and dad heard about Hope’s  biological sister, who I can’t name so we’ll call her T, needed a home, they couldn’t say no.
When they first heard about T the family who she was living with didn’t want her anymore, so family services traced her siblings and ultimately found our family.  T was 16 years old and was in need of a family, and as my parents were trying to get some visits with Hope and her sister, it became clear that she would come to live with us.
My parents’ first problem was with space. Every bedroom in our house was taken, and most filled with two kids, and even some of the “extra” rooms in our house were made into bedrooms to house more kids. Jesse, my second oldest brother, volunteered his room for T, and he moved upstairs with Isaac and Shoun.
Just because they said they would take T in, doesn’t mean it was easy. Because our family wasn’t officially approved to be foster parents, my mom and dad were always at the dinner table, signing paper after paper, taking online courses, while cooking dinner, cleaning, taking care of a two year old, and 7 other kids. My parents were super heros, enduring every obstacle that came in front of them, never stopping for a break, always thinking of the prisoner they were trying to set free. The foster care agency didn’t make anything easier. One of the social workers was giving my parents a really hard time, and they even had to go to court to let T live in our home.
Throughout this whole time, our family wasn’t alone. Our church donated all sorts of items, from paint for her room, to an alarm clock for her night stand, from sheets, to a bed set. People even made meals for us so my mom didn’t have to make dinner. We weren't fighting on our own. There were many other families willing to help us, and that reassured me that we could actually bring home.
While all this was happening, I was moving to a new school, and I was already stressed out, and with the stress of what was going on at home, I was always tired. I didn’t know it then, but I was learning the hardest lesson a person will ever learn and that shaped me to be the person I am today.
You might be waiting for a happy ending. You want me to say we brought T home and then adopted her. It wasn’t that easy though. The day my parents went to court, the judge said that T could come live with us. When I came home from school and heard the news, I was filled with joy. We had set the captive free and could finally take her home.
T stayed with us for about  three months, and she started school. She was really struggling, and she was getting in fights, locking herself in her room, and always trying to be mean to me. She even attempted to run away several times, and once actually got away. Hope and I are almost always together, which made T jealous because she was Hope’s biological sister. She told me several times that I wasn’t Hope’s real sister, when really, I am legally Hope’s sister, and my parents are legally her parents, but she was filled with jealousy and didn’t really understand.
One day, one of T’s social workers told her that if she wanted to leave, she could sign a paper and then she would be able to leave. T signed the paper that day and about a week later, the police came and told her, “We can leave the hard way, or the easy way.” She chose the hard way, and they handcuffed her and while she screaming and cursing, my dad told her that we still love her. He said, “You gave up on yourself, but we don’t give up on you.” She left that day while all of the kids were out of the house.
That night I was tired, and  I didn’t know what to think. We sacrificed our home, my parents went to all of these classes, and filled out pile after pile of paperwork, and they even went to  court, and after all of that she had to leave. For a while after that all I could think about was, why? Why did we do this? Why did we put ourselves in an uncomfortable position, for nothing?
After all of this chaos happened. I learned this; life isn’t easy. It was never meant to be easy, and it never will be easy, but just because it isn’t, it doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to try. We should serve others, even when they deceive, and hurt us.

As I said, this was, and is a hard lesson for me to learn, but it creates who I am today, and who I want to be. We aren’t sure where T is living now, but she still talks to my parents on Facebook sometimes. I know her story hasn’t ended, and mine hasn’t either, but for now, all I want her to know is that she is loved.

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