Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Year


Exactly one year ago today, on August 24, 2012, I walked into a children’s shelter downtown. It was a Friday afternoon and I had gotten off work an hour early to get to the shelter before the older kids got back from school.  I was here to pick up our very first foster child. We were beginning our foster parenting journey....

Getting out of my car and walking into that place..that was the physical of it. But so much more was happening in the spiritual and emotional realms. I was so excited I was about to burst.  
Finally, after all the paperwork and home studies and home inspections and background checks we were taking home our first "placement". Looking back, I realize so many things about that day.

I stepped out of my comfort zone that day.
I cherished my own little world. God had blessed me with so many precious people. An amazing family, a loving and supportive church family and awesome friends. There was no drama, drugs, or abused and neglected children…In our world, all of the children were cherished and loved..seen as the gifts from God that they are. But God was calling us to step out in faith and step into a world where that wasn't always the case.

I had gotten the phone call just the day before: 
23 month old male child.
Taken into custody 3 weeks before.
Older sibling who was not eligible for foster care due to extended needs
 No health issues

 Will you take him?

 I had to be buzzed in. Security measures and all. The shelter director and I made small talk as we walked through several official office looking areas and into an office where they had me sign paperwork stating I was taking responsibility for this child.  
A child I had never met, not even seen…a stranger in every sense of the word.
They passed along supplies..new toys that had been donated, big box of diapers, books and several bags of clothing. As we stood there doing all the official stuff a lady walked in carrying a sleeping bundle of which I could only see the back of. Big brown curls covered his head. “It’s nap time”, she said, “I can’t get him to wake up”. Bless his little heart. I didn’t want to just take him and then later he wake up in a strange car with a strange woman whom he’d never met…the poor thing had been through enough. He needed to be awake for this transition.
She handed him to me and oh my…he sank right into my arms…He fit perfectly…it’s as if instead of a weight being placed into my arms…a burden was lifted. I didn’t understand that feeling at the time. I kissed him softly on the cheek and called his name several times to try to awaken him. The lady stood there with tears in her eyes. She had been his daytime caretaker for the last 3 weeks. She told me of his eating and sleeping habits and how he didn’t like the water to get in his eyes when his hair was washed. “He is a doll”, she said, “We are going to miss him.” I promised we would take very good care of him.
They helped me load everything into the car as I carried him outside. I was just gonna have to handle him waking up to a stranger I guessed. As we were loading the car he sat up off my shoulder and looked at me. I melted. This child had the longest eyelashes I had ever seen in my life that framed the most beautiful big brown eyes. “Well, hello there gorgeous!” I said. He looked at me with no expression or emotion..looked into the van at the empty car seat and then back at me again. He pointed to the car seat as if to say ok, let’s go. “You ready to go home?”, I asked. He gave no response. I placed him into the car seat, said our goodbyes to the employees from the shelter and were on our way. I talked to him the whole way home. He said nothing. Again no expression. He looked out the window as I watched in the rear view mirror. He did not cry or anything. Just sat there. He would glance at me and then immediately look back out the window. What must be going through this precious child's mind I wondered? Will I ever connect to him and him to us? What is he gonna think of our crazy crew at home and the multitudes of people he's gonna meet this weekend alone?
What in the world have I gotten us all into?
 Lord, are you sure about this? I know you called us to do this..I heard you very clearly when you called us into this ministry.
As I looked into the little boys’ face who was now our responsibility a bundle of emotions ran through me. Help us Lord. We cannot do this alone. Direct our paths..
 

2 comments:

  1. Hi! Just found your blog....our home study begins Monday for this very journey. Sweet post!

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  2. Oh my goodness! Thank you for your sweet comments! That is great! You are in for the journey of your lives! The home study/application process for me was a nervous time. I just wanted it to be done with and some babies to love on! :-) I'm so excited for your family! Thank you for answering His call to love and care for His children. God bless you!

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