We have been leading our church's foster/adoption/orphan care ministry for almost 2 years now. While I am incredibly thankful that God placed us here, and that we are able to continue to be a part of a community we are passionate about, my heart longs to foster and I miss my kids. I miss getting to know them and settling them into our home. I miss peeling back all those layers of fear and hurt and getting to the beauty buried underneath.
Tonight I shared with a new foster parent my favorite part of fostering - watching kids from hard places blossom with just a little bit of structure and a lot of love.
I love TimeHop and recently came across a status update I did 5 years ago celebrating that our foster son had thrown his food.
Why would I celebrate that? When he came to us at 11 months old he already knew how to dig through our trash can and look for food. Any food placed in front of him was devoured in a very short amount of time.
The day he threw his peas I cried. And I never asked him eat peas again. Though I did always serve them to him, just to watch them fly through the air.
In that moment I knew that he knew he would be fed, that the next meal would come. He felt secure enough to be picky and show us what he didn't like to eat. It was a pretty big deal.
At that point he had been in our home for about 2 months. With every child that came through our door we experienced victories. So many were within days or a few short weeks of them arriving. Some have taken longer. But every single one is special and worthy of celebration.
Other victories we celebrated through the years were:
- A baby born with drug exposure arriving in our home at 3 days old, finally holding eye contact with us at 8 weeks old
- A sweet 3 year old finally having a fit, after holding all his feeling inside for weeks because he was too afraid of what might happen if he showed his anger
- A goodnight kiss, after weeks of saying no thanks
- Hugs that weren't asked for, but given spontaneously and freely
- A nap in my arms
- The moment our daughter stopped staring at us with the expression of, "Who on earth are you?" and started staring at us with the expression, "I know you, I trust you"
- The first night, after years, our child came to our room in the night after a bad dream, instead of just handling it herself
- The first time I fixed one of our sweet girl's ethnic hair without her crying, and also figuring out if we wash it in the sink she no longer fears bath time
These are just a few... there were so many more moments that we celebrated. Moments that wouldn't make most family's radars. Moments that I took for granted before, and even do sometimes now.
Looking back on these moments fill me with such incredible joy. Being used by God to ease the hurt and sooth the fears of His precious children... I can't think of anything more joyful on earth.
To my foster and adoptive parent friends - What are your favorite victories to celebrate?