Look who’s Talking…

We have had playingour little one for about a month now.  When we picked her up, we knew very little about why she was being placed in foster care.  What we did know is that this 2 1/2 year old little girl should be talking and walking by now.  Yet here she was in front us, crawling and making gurgling sounds like a much younger child.

 

We were taking a leap of faith.  It did not matter to us if she was delayed.  We would take her home, nurture her and get her through this period of her life.

After a few days, we noticed something.

She was not delayed.

She started talking – a lot.

Looks like the crawling and gurgling sounds were a defense mechanism of some kind.  As this little girl progressed in our home, we noticed that whenever she felt afraid, or felt she needed more attention, she would drop to the floor and crawl.  Ok, we would deal with this.  We will provide that love, that nurturing, that attention you need, while still letting you know it is ok to be you, the 2 year old who knows how to walk, how to talk, how to do the things a 2 year old does.

And now, I am amazed at how our little one has progressed.

Yesterday, on the ride home from day care, I noticed she was staring out into space.  She looked a little out of it, maybe a little down.  So I tried something.  I turned around while at a stop light, blew her a kiss and said “Love you baby!”

Immediately, she responded.

“Love you baby!”

Her response was preceded with a kids and followed with a giant grin, knowing she had just said something really cool.

Since that ride home, we can’t stop her from repeating everything we say.  Of course, that could be dangerous.

We will have to be very careful what we say.

Goes to show you what can happen when we let God be in control.  All we can hope for is that Jesus will let His love to continue to flow through us onto this little precious girl for as long as possible.

Either way, we are confident He will prevail.

Look who’s talking now!

 

Dealing with the well meaning questions…

BeachSo one of the inevitable issues we are dealing with as foster parents are the well meaning questions and comments from fiends and family.  I fostered two children years ago, so I am kind of used to the questions, but my wife isn’t.  Nevertheless, we seem to be handling it ok.  Of course, we are not offended by the questions.  They are normal.  People are curious and want to know more.  But it can lead to some awkward moments.

Some of the common ones are where our foster child came from and what the circumstances of her biological family are.  Since I knew we would be getting these question often, I made sure the wife and I discussed what our answers would be when the questions came up.  The main thing I wanted to do was to make sure we answered these questions in a way that not only respected our little one’s privacy, but also in a way that did not negatively speak of her biological family.

You see, there is one thing you realize in all of this, and that is how fragile we humans are.  We could answer the question by disparaging the family, and talk about how great we are and how bad they are because their child was taken away.  But if we did that, how would we – as Christians – be behaving?  Would we be acting in a Christ-like manner, as one who loves their God and loves their neighbor?  I think not.

The fact is that as we learn more about our little one’s family, we are humbled.  We realize that we are all sinners.  We realize that “except but for the grace of God go I”.  We are sad for our little one’s family.  We are sad for her.   We can only imagine what it is like for us to be ripped from the arms of our mom or dad, and be handed into the arms of strangers, and then told “Go to a pool party and have fun!”

Then we are amazed if the child is not happy (Luckily our little one had a blast at the pool party).

There is another thing that we find of the utmost importance.

We don’t know how long this child of God will be with us.  Her family could get things straightened out and the family could be re-united.  Then again, maybe she will be with us for a long time.  We just don’t know right now.  But our absolute number one priority is her future, her well being, and her soul.  So the last thing we want is to not allow her to have a choice in how her family is portrayed to the world.  It is her family.  So when the time comes, she will know where she came from, and what the circumstances were.  Then she can decide how those facts are shared with the world.

Until then, know that she is a beautiful child of God, and that is what is most important to know about her.

Comfort….

 

A great song about a foster child.  Found this one a while back….

When everyone has gone to sleep and you are wide awake
there’s no one left to tell your troubles to.
Just an hour ago, you listened to their voices
lilting like a river over underground
and the light from downstairs came up soft like daybreak
dimly as the heartache of a lonely child.If you can’t remember a better time
you can have mine, little one.
In days to come when your heart feels undone
may you always find an open hand
and take comfort wherever you can.

And oh, it’s a strange place.
And oh, everyone with a different face
but just like you thought when you stopped here to linger
we’re only as separate as your little fingers.

So cry, why not? we all do
then turn to one you love
and smile a smile that lights up all the room.
Follow your dreams in through every out-door
it seems that’s what we’re here for.

And when you can’t remember a better time
you can have mine, little one.
In days to come when your heart feels undone
may you always find an open hand
and take comfort, there is comfort.
Take comfort wherever you can, you can, you can.

 

Two Children, same result…

slide

Yesterday was our first “play date” with my wife’s friend and her son.

So we had an outing at Chik-fi-la, which has a playground.   Our little one apparently had never been to Chik-fi-la.  She was a little shy at first.  She ate all of her chicken, most of her fries, and about a quarter of a chocolate chip cookie.  She ate more than her play date partner, who was more interested in going to the playground.  Our child was not really aware yet there was such a thing waiting for her.

When we got to the playground, again there was some hesitation.  However, her new found friend was eager to “help”.

“C’mon!  Let’s climb up!”

It took all of two minutes for both children to be in playground heaven.  I loved watching their pure joy as they climbed up, then down the slide over and over.

Then it came.

It was time to go.

First our play date partner’s turn.

“C”mon, just once more!”, mommy ordered.

“No mommy, two more!”

He got his two more, then the bad news  that it was time to go, and the tears started.  He was devastated, and mommy was there to console him. Our bundle of joy saw what was coming, and quickly escaped to climb some more.  Daddy was going to have to be smart about this one. I waited for her to go down the slide again, and was waiting to pick her up at the bottom.  This was not going to be pretty, and sure enough, the complaints came.  With tears running down her face, she yelled “NO!!!!!!!” Our mistake was to not have a sippy cup of milk for the ride home, which would have eased the heartache and suffering.

We learned some things about this adventure.  First, our little one needs more play dates.  She needs to continue to learn to associate with others her age.  We also learned that her behavior closely resembles however her play date partner is behaving.  When he was ok, she was ok.  When he blew up, she did too. The most interesting thing was learned was this.  Here we had two children with completely different backgrounds, life experiences, family lives, but in the end – the same result.

In the end, they are kids, and will behave as such.

One step forward, two steps back…

crying

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

–James 1:2-4

 

We are learning every day about our precious child of God, this foster child we have been blessed with.  We had been progressing with her pretty steadily.  However, a couple of days ago, she met with her bio family.

All seemed to have gone well according to the case worker.  However, that night, she couldn’t sleep.  She awoke at 1 AM and was awake for about 3 hours before falling back to sleep.  We can only imagine what she was thinking.  Maybe she thought when she saw her bio family that she was going home with them.  We were not able to be with her during the visit so we don’t know for sure, but we know it could not have been easy to leave her family again.  She probably thought it was all happening again, that separation that these foster kids deal with over and over again.

My heart breaks for this precious child, and I feel helpless.

The last couple of days have been hard at day care drop off.  As we get closer to the door, she starts to grab on tighter to my neck, wrapping her little legs around me to prevent me from putting her down.  Inevitably, when I finally set her down, the tears flow.  As much as I want to grab her tight and take her home, I simply tell her I will be back later, and walk away quickly.  I can see her through the window as her care taker picks her up to console her.

Again heartbreaking, even if it is necessary.

I know the impact we are having on her.  I see the progress she is making.  I see how much she smiles and dances when we are together.  In her smile, I see the work of Jesus.  She really is our Lord in bottle for me, pure joy that comes from the love He emanating from Him through us.

But sometimes I simply don’t understand why she needs to go through this.  I know there is a plan, a holy one that one day I will realize.  But right now, I just want to protect her from this world,  a world that can be cruel and uncaring, and one she does not deserve.

For now, I will lean on this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

–Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Afternoon Traditions

 

This song is becoming somewhat of a new tradition on afternoons after daycare.

I don’t announce it per se.  I just start playing it.  Our little one now knows the song, so when it starts, she will get a big smile on her face, turn towards me, and starts to slowly move her shoulders.  Before you know it, we are dancing in the living room again.

Yes I think this will become a new tradition in our household.

 

Holding Hands

image

Over the last few days I have been noticing things.

As a foster parent there are quite a few unknowns for us.  Right now we have no idea what our little one’s life was like before God placed her in our care.

Was she hugged often?  Was she yelled at, abused?  I will find out soon enough but right now these and other things are mysteries.

What I do know is this.  The first few days, holding her hands was a problem.  She didn’t like it.  Every time I tried she pulled away.  Sometimes her facial expression would change but other times she would just pull her hand away.  It was as if to say that type of touch is reserved for someone else and you are not him. Or maybe holding her hand triggered a memory.  No way to know right now.

So last night I was sitting next to her as she went to bed. At this point she still needs someone with her until she falls asleep.  She was a little restless so I tucked her in for the fourth or fifth time and told her to go to sleep.

Then I did it.

I held her hand.

No resistance.

After a few minutes I removed my hand.
She found it.

Don’t know if this is a breakthrough or what.

But hand holding at bed time is now ok.

Starting this again…..

I haven’t really had the motivation to blog in a while.  My wife and I have gone through quite a bit over the years since I last wrote.

But….

We are foster parents now.

While I cannot for privacy reasons talk about our specific placement, I can talk about our experience in general.

As I held the hands of a precious child of God last night, I realized something.

I don’t know how long you will be with us.  It could be days, weeks, months, years….

I cannot waste time.  Whatever you need, I need to provide now.  There is no time to waste.

Then I think, shouldn’t it be like that for all parents? Why waste time?  Do we ever really know how long God will give us?

I cannot imagine being in a situation where I am pulled from my mother’s arms and handed to complete strangers.  I cannot imagine being in a situation where the ones I count on most in my world – my parents – cannot be a source of safety and comfort.  Yet this is the case for the child attached to these hands I am holding.

So I am reminded of what the bible says about children.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Mark 9:37

God please give me the wisdom to do right by this child.

 

 

My prayer for today…

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

–Romans 5:1-5

Easier said than done.

Rejoice in suffering?

Really?

Sorry God, I am not there yet. I cannot rejoice. Yes I have lived that passage. I have seen suffering produce endurance. I have seen suffering bring out character. With that suffering – I always had hope, and I have seen God’s love persevere.

But I cannot rejoice. I am weak. I cannot understand why we suffer in this life. All I know is that this suffering has to be for a reason.

And yes, I hope, and I surrender. I give you the power, and my hope lies in you.

“So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
–Proverbs 3:4-5

Please God, I don’t need to understand.

I just need my prayers answered.