Sad Eyes and T haven’t seen each other since Thanksgiving. The boys live 3 hours apart. So, today we’re meeting up, just the boys and their foster families for a Christmas visit! If I haven’t mentioned it before, I will now. Sad Eyes has the BEST foster mama! She seriously is amazing! She and I talk via text almost every single day. We share pictures of the boys and stories of what they are doing. Best of all is the support she and I can give each other as we care for boys who have been through trauma. It is overwhelming sometimes to parent children from hard places. Having her to talk to has proved to be a kind of therapy for me as I listen to and help a little boy very hurt by his first family. The boys each are so different in how they handle their emotions and feelings. T holds a lot inside and hides his feelings. Sad Eyes lets it all out and acts out his feelings. But, even though the boys react very differently to life, they have experienced life together for the past 6 years, so getting them together is of a high importance. Remaining close and sharing new positive experiences is a goal for both foster families. So, we’re off! Driving three hours to get these precious boys together!
The first person I called on Christmas Day was the mother of the children I am raising. The person I texted the most pictures to on Christmas Day is the woman with no children to hold, no smiles to see, and no giggles to hear on this happiest of days. For her, today isn’t happy. She has lost her children. They live with me and my family now. She should be working to get them back, I hope that she is! I hope she realizes how special they are and how much they are worth fighting for. They are worth it! These precious gifts that God has given her. This morning was wonderful! The entire day at our house was just plain perfect! God has been so good to us this year! But, as I video taped the squeals, the joy and all of the excitement of today, I couldn’t help but think of her, the woman without her children on Christmas Day.
It’s a totally different experience fostering a baby and fostering a seven, almost eight year old. Seven year olds can talk. And our’s talks and talks and talks. T tells of a life far different from the one he is living with us today. He tells of a past that is haunted with hurt and disappointments. And who does he tell these hurts to? Me, he tells me, his foster mom. He goes to counseling twice a month, but doesn’t talk there. He talks at home and he talks to me. I am not a counselor, I am not a professional and most of what he has experienced quite frankly scares me. But, God has put me in this place for this exact moment to be the “ears” of Jesus. All I can do is listen. Our foster son will likely go back to this life that he has led. He will go back. So, all I can do is love him today and pray for him always.
This is likely our only Christmas with T and The Baby. I want to make it special. Special for them and special for us, their foster family. We love them as if they were our own, but they are not. They will have two Christmases this year. One, at a two hour visit with their biological family and one on Christmas Day with us. Both should be filled with love and laughter and fun, but one will be observed by social workers and therapists and one will be with our family, one that T does not consider to be his own.
So, to make things special, we have gone to see Christmas light displays, made gingerbread houses, decorated the tree, made fun “holiday” snacks for school classmates, bought gifts for T and The Baby’s other two brothers, and participated in two different Christmas play productions. It’s been quite a busy and wonderful season! No matter where these precious boys are next year, I wanted this year to be special!
Yes, yes we did! We took six children ages 14, 11, 8, 7, 2, and 4 weeks old to see Santa this morning. Boy, am I glad that I made reservations online this year! We got to the mall and literally had to wait less than 10 minutes while others were waiting two hours to see Santa. They all smiled! Nobody cried and The Baby slept through it! It was a Christmas miracle! I just love this time of year!
There are only three more days until the TPR (termination of parental rights) court hearing for our precious Baby Girl. She came to us two years and one month ago a teeny tiny baby and now she is a sassy, smart, loving toddler. We love her! During the two years that she has been in our care our Baby Girl has seen her birth mother twice. Once at the 72 hour court hearing after coming into care and once last year. That is it. She has never called to ask about Baby Girl although she has had my cell number the entire time. She did not complete one step in her case plan. She disappeared, reappeared, and then disappeared again. She has been arrested and to jail over 5 times since then and is currently serving time for dangerous crimes. To say that I am overjoyed that this case is coming to an end and that it is ending with us grafting Baby Girl into our family for forever would be an understatement! I am in shock! I cannot believe this is almost over. In a few days the judge will terminate parental rights making Baby Girl a “ward of the state.” At that time we can then petition to adopt her. She will have our last name! She has had our love, our devotion, and our care for years, but now she will officially and legally be our Baby Girl!
I do! Sometimes… like right this very moment as I sit and feed and then rock to sleep The Baby, I think, “I can’t believe this is really my life!” What have I done to be so blessed? Why do I get to raise these precious children? The answer is nothing. It has nothing to do with me! It’s about God. He chose this path for my life. He is the one who put the burden for foster care on my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I WANTED to do this. I desired to be a mommy again. I couldn’t wait to add to our family! But, this… this moment right now, as I sit and reflect on all that the Lord has done in the past two years since we became foster parents, this is unbelievable joy! This is a life I could never have imagined for myself. This… is a wonderful life and I cannot believe it’s mine!
It’s my only time where it is just me and The Baby. We rock in the glider, he drinks his bottle, we change his diaper, we rock some more. He wraps his little fingers around my thumb and I talk to him. I smell his perfect “baby smell.” He grunts and sighs and sometimes is awake for a little while before he falls back to sleep. I don’t mind 2:00 a.m. feedings. It’s my only time with just me and The Baby.