Tornadoes, Finals, and Foster Kids

Nathan and I survived two of our first foster training classes yesterday, but had to miss the third evening session because he played on the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra (see pictures HERE). This turned out to maybe save our lives, as otherwise we would have been leaving class late and been right in the path of the tornado. It was a miracle of timing for us, and we were grateful for the tender mercy.

The orchestra played for Mrs. Wallace, who was very important t to the Bartlesville Symphony, and who was Nathan’s violin teacher since he was four years old. The benefit concert raised money in her honor for the orchestra, and included many other groups who had loved her and worked with her. She was a heroine of music in Oklahoma, and many grieve her passing. The highlight of the show for me, however, was when Nathan strolled over to my seat in the audience – while still playing violin – and got down on one knee and sang to me in Polish and in English “I love you… more than you will ever know…” I didn’t even know he knew any Polish! I thought he only knew Korean, English, German, and Sign Language! I laughed and cried all at once, and then I kissed him. I was very sweet and very funny and very tender, all at once.

Today was our second day of foster care training classes, so now we have finished five of the nine required classes. We have three more tomorrow, with a makeup class next week for the one we missed for the funeral. It has really helped us better understand the system, our role in that system, and what we have to offer – and what are good limits for us to set for how we can help. Next week the fence guy comes to fence in the patio because of our pool, and we can have our final home study as soon as that is finished.

In the meantime, my final is due for the Messianic Jewish Theology class, and I am trying to get it done between tornadoes. It feels like every six hours another portion of the state gets blown away. There is a huge need for help, and not enough of us help everyone. I am physically and emotionally exhausted, and my mind wants to be selfish and swim in my final essays away from it all… yet to do so would be to deny the living out of all I learned in class. So we help in the ways we can.

Nathan helps me. After nine hours of foster care training today, we came home and I worked on my final for four hours. When I finished, Nathan had cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed and bagged up the mom’s clothes that I had gone through for her friend Jo. It was a lovely surprise, and very sweet of him. He did it while on the phone with his composer, as they talked final edits for their musical and worked on casting actors. He will be leaving soon, and I will miss him.

My nephew and his mother saw last night’s tornado, but they are safe. Tonight my brother and his family drove through the storm exchanging kids for visitation, but they also made it home safely. Nathan’s parents were in the path of one of the storms, but are also okay. Nathan’s cousin Dan was helping in Moore, and rode out the tornadoes there today. We are grateful everyone is okay.

Nathan asked me if this is normal weather for Oklahoma, or worse somehow.

I told him the timing and season is normal, but the number of tornadoes that have actually touched down seems like more and in greater frequency. Our state has taken a beating all week!

They are asking me to come work for 60 days in Oklahoma City, but when Nathan and I pray about it, we feel so specifically the need to stay home. It has been a hard year already, with mom being killed, our miscarriages, and all these storms. It is a fine line between giving all you have to give and making sacrifices that are wise and beneficial. The foster care training classes were very helpful in counseling how to discern how much you have to offer so as not to “run faster than you have strength” or can labor. It helped me, and confirmed to me that my season of disaster work has cycled out for now, and I am called to a new season of family, of being a wife and mother at home.

When Nathan gets busy with casting actors or writing plays or editing musicals with his composer, I steal away to my comfy chair and dive back into Hebrew. My final for Hebrew I is coming up, after my other final, and Hebrew II will be my only class this summer. I know it has been my coping skill through all this grief, and nothing has rewarded me so richly.

Except Nathan, and the Father-in-Heaven who sent him to me.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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