In the book Angel Behind the Rocking Chair, author Pam Vredevelt recalls a story taken from a story by Emiliy Perl Kingsley, related in an October 1992 "Dear Abby" column. She relates it to having a special needs child, rather than a "normal child". But I couldn't help but also think how strongly it relates to foster parenting (not to mention foster parenting the "special needs child").
She starts off by saying how planning for a family is like planning for a vacation. And when something happens that you don't expect (infertility, special needs child, etc), things go something like this:
"...as the wheels of the jumbo jet touch, down, you awaken from your slumber and hear a cheery flight attendant saying, 'Welcome to Holland.'"
"HOLLAND?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.'
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there awhile and catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from italy, and they're all braggin about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, 'Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned.'
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of taht dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the special, and very lovely things about Holland."
--YES! I can see the blessings that we have seen -- and continued to discover -- in our "Holland".