A rose and an answered prayer (or what happened after our child care fell apart)

Two weeks ago when I was praying a novena to St. Therese, I asked her help on a number of things. I explained to her about our children’s transition to their new school.

It has been good in many, many ways, and it has been very clear to me that we made the right move for them. But it has also been a little harder than I expected.

Then Friday I went to pick up from after school care and immediately knew something was very wrong. I asked questions, and every answer was a warning bell going off in my mind.

Suddenly I saw what an unhealthy environment it was. There was bullying. There was a teacher who clearly didn’t understand my children. There were outrageous punishments—an hour-long time-out?

For weeks God had been nudging me to say we needed to find a different child care arrangement, and my husband and I had talked about it. But child care is difficult. Making changes in child care is scary. And it was simpler to let it be. Our children seemed content there, so why was I questioning things?

But God knows me so well. He knows sometimes I don’t hear Him in the whispering wind.

Sometimes I don’t hear Him until I’m holding a heartbroken child and arguing with a child care provider over the length of time outs.

When I walked out the door of the center that night, I knew we weren’t going back there again. But I didn’t know where we would go.

What was most amazing to me was that even in my anger, even as I blamed myself for not asking more questions, I was completely calm. My husband and I talked about finding another child care center for after school, but we liked the idea of the children coming home to their own house with a sitter.

So I started asking around and posting online—and I asked friends to pray. I prayed not just that we would find the right person for us, but that our future sitter would find the position he or she had been hoping for.

I heard from a few people, but one stood out right away. We invited her to our house on Sunday, and we interviewed her. She was available to begin immediately. The children liked her. We liked her.

After she left, I followed our sons into our backyard to watch them play soccer, and I saw a rose.

Well, thank you, St. Therese.

Today as we were standing outside the school, waiting to meet the boys and take them home, I told our new sitter how I had been praying for our children in their transition—and that I felt she was an answer to prayers.

She told me that this position with our family also felt like an answer to a prayer for her.

I look back at the intentions I turned over to St. Therese, and I realize that while I was wondering whether my prayers had been answered, God was putting things into place so I would have my answer—in His time and not mine.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.