Sixteen and a half years ago, Jay and I made a decision to become foster parents. Caleb was an infant, and I was pregnant with Abigail. There is a longer story of God working in our lives leading up to that decision, but that is a story for another time. We filed the necessary paperwork and took the proper classes. The only piece we had left was the home study, but Abigail was born so we put that step on hold. Then a few months later we met Sean. We were introduced to him by Sarah, a Jr. High student in the church youth group I was leading. In the course of time, we came to better understand Sean’s situation and realized he needed a home. He needed a family. Deciding to take on that role was not an easy one. We had an infant and a toddler. I remember discussing it at length and saying to Jay, “Do you think anyone else is sitting around this weekend talking about wether on not they should take Sean in?” And that was that. We were being called.
Sean came into our life through an invitation. We told Sean that very first day that we were inviting him into our family, and that family was forever. We meant it. We invited him and he accepted. One of the first things we did was give him a Bible verse. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Little did we know, but about the time that Jay and I were completing our foster care certification, Sean was in the midst of a crisis. We would later read a note he’d written where he state that his life had no hope or purpose. Reading that note, dated months earlier, was one of many moments in life where I knew God had brought Sean to our family. God was already preparing an answer to Sean’s cry long before we’d met each other. And God, in the way only he can do, had provided Sean with a very specific reply to his letter. God literally answered with words and actions.
The years that Sean lived in our home and the years after would not necessarily be easy, but they were good. We had a lot of fun and a lot of struggle. We were all better for it. We are a family of words. We talk a lot. Dinner time is loud and often very ADD. It makes Caleb crazy that we can’t stick to one cohesive thought. But we talk. We talk about pretty much everything. We say I love you! We laugh. We cry. We pray. We sing. We admit our mistakes.
There was this one time we still laugh about. Sean was 17 and we had found about about something he had done wrong. I can’t recall what it was, but we were really working on confession at the time with him. Sean came home and we told him that before he could go out he needed to confess what he had done. We left him with paper and a pen. Sean sat there for a very long time thinking and writing. When Jay and I finally read the note we got cracking up. Sean had no idea what we knew so he confessed to about a half dozen different things that we had no idea about and the one thing we did.
Sean would come in and out of our home over the years, but despite the offer, Sean didn’t choose to be adopted until he was 23. Adopting Sean was the court putting in writing the words that we had spoken so many years before. Family is forever. With those papers one word would change. Sean would forever take the name Seidle.
Ours was always a relationship of words, but of all the things I will remember about Sean, all the words spoken between us, the love, the jokes, the stories, what I will remember the most is the one thing he never said. No matter what happened, no matter how long he was grounded, or how mad he got, never once did he ever say, “You’re not my mother.”