Tales of Fostering

It’s “Gotcha” Day! {A Letter to My Foster Princess}

It's Gotcha Day 2

Dear sweet baby girl,

You might not know what today is but its “Gotcha” day.  Two years ago on this very night God chose to write a new chapter into the story of our lives. And I’ll never forget the first few sentences, or moments, in which we first met. You were only 34 inches tall, and tucked underneath your arm was an old white stuffed animal kitty, and in your mouth was a thumb, and on top of your head was a ponytail.  Your smile warmed my heart as I said hello and showed you the room you would be sleeping in for the next 30 days. Little did I know that the 30 days would turn into 90 days and 90 days would soon turn into 180 days and 180 days would somehow turn into two years and still counting.

I sometimes have a hard time celebrating that moment because while I am blessed by all that we gainedyour beautiful smile, your tight squeezes, your tender love, and your contagious laughterI know what all you, and your mama, lost.  And I can’t help but think about all that you went through in order to have this day written on my calendar. You have endured more in the short five years of your life than any child should. And I sometimes sit and look at you and wonder. I wonder what it is you are thinking or feeling but can’t seem to process or find the words to describe. I wonder what it is you will one day look back on and remember from these life changing events. My only hope is that your heartbreak and pain is overshadowed by the love and acceptance my family and I have shown you.

Sitting here, looking back, I didn’t know on that night how much my life would change.  I didn’t know at the time I would plan your first themed birthday party or explain to you who Santa was and then surprise you with gifts. I didn’t know that I would not only do that once, but twice.  And honestly? I don’t know if I will have the privilege of being able to do it again.

But one thing is for certain, whether you are here in my arms or only in my heart, I will always celebrate today by remembering you and the night God wrote you into my story.  I will always remember your hugs, your kisses, your love for horses, and immense dislike for chicken salad.  I will always remember your funny looks, your need to win, and stubborn drive to always be right.  I will always remember our first vacation as the three of us.  I have never seen anyone sincerely as excited as you were that night when your toes first stepped onto the beach and into the water.

First time at the beach

And I will never forget the moment you counted to 100 by yourself.  I almost busted with pride as you squealed with excitement!  I also will never forget your first Christmas program (we were late) and the time you spotted me in the crowd at your gymnastics recital.  My heart melted. But it wasn’t just your smile that turned me into a pile of mush. Or the excitement I felt in your wave. But it was your love that shined through and lit up the entire room when you did.  And sweet baby girl, I will always remember the lessons you have taught me on patience, and trust, and living in the moment.  But most of all, I will always remember how you live life.  Because you love unconditionally and without borders.  You see joy in everything and hope in dead and dying situations. You truly have faith like a child…faith that I often envy.

So much of this new chapter that was started two years ago is still being written into the blank pages of today. And much like that night, it is still surrounded by questions and unknowns. But the one thing I do know and the one thought that brings me comfort in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, is that He, our heavenly Father, knows.  He is in control of the pen and the turning of the pages.  And no matter how this chapter will one day end and no matter what the new one will look like, I know that He will always be with you.  Because while I may not always be the one to hold your hand in order for you to safely cross the street, I know He will. And while I may not always be around to protect you from the world, the hurt, and the heartache, I know He can. You are His precious sweet baby girl and I have no doubt in my mind that He has His eye on you, His heart turned toward yours, and His angels guiding your every step.  Because if He didn’t?  Then I don’t believe you would be here with me now.  And “Gotcha” day...the day we got your beautiful smile, your tight squeezes, your tender love, and your contagious laughter…wouldn’t be written in our book or on our calendar.

No matter where life takes us, know that you will always be my baby girl and I will always love you to the moon and back!

Dan and Elisha Close Up 2

Our prayer for you…

Lord, I thank you for this precious, fun-loving child that you purposefully placed in our life two years ago today to love and nurture. I pray that as she continues to journey through life, she always knows that she is loved and never once does she feel alone or abandoned.  Lord, bless her beyond measure. Give her peace during this season of her life that is so full of uncertainty. Peace that only You can give in order to calm her worried soul. And Lord, please wrap Your mercy around any doubts and fears that she might have as you whisper in her heart tonight that You are near and will always protect her. Help her to know in confidence that when life gets tough and the weight of the world seems too heavy to carry, You will always be there to carry the load. And You will always be there to lift her head and catch her fallen tears.

~Its in Your precious name I pray. Amen.

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32 thoughts on “It’s “Gotcha” Day! {A Letter to My Foster Princess}”

  1. This letter to Goldilocks has a totally new meaning to me now. I think of you often and wonder how you have handled all of this with such grace the past 2 years. We’ve had the girls just over a month and there have already been plenty of hard moments. Happy “Gotcha” Day!!!

    1. It’s not easy that’s for sure! How have things been going? I haven’t been able to keep up on blogs the last two months and I feel so far behind :/

  2. What a great post Elisha. Love all of your posts, but this one is especially heart-breaking! Brought tears to my eyes. You and Daniel are so awesome to put so much joy and love into raising your little foster Princess! She is very special and has come so far since being place with such a loving couple as you two.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. I follow your facebook posts and I absolutely loved them as a former foster princess (with not such a great ending unfortunately,) and love this post as well. I am a bit confused however, I thought via one of your former FB posts that you guys were adopting her….is that still the plan or are you only granted your precious girl until they decide to eventually place her elsewhere? You guys are so amazing and I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to follow the story of your beautiful family. I wish there were so many more people out there that could do some great things for kids in need as you have done for that little girl.

    1. Hey Tara! Thank you so much for following and being so encouraging to me! As of right now the goal is reunification and will be until the court decides otherwise. That’s the court hearing we are waiting on so that we know whether or not what our lives are going to look like in the next several months. I am all for reunification and will welcome that with open arms if that is what they decide is best, but the limbo of not knowing (especially after two years) is becoming a bit daunting.

      Once again, thank you so much for being so supportive! I am so sorry that your ending was great as a foster child. Is there any advice that you would have for me to make sure she always feels accepted and loved and nurtured and doesn’t feel the weight of it? Or later in life carry the burden?

      1. I’m sure for legal reasons you aren’t allowed to divulge what happened to place her in your care, but I hope the courts allow you to keep her long-term. If they decide a reunification isn’t going to happen, will you be allowed to adopt her legally? I think you guys are already doing so much for her. My foster experience was only as bad as it was because I suffered physical and sexual abuse from all the one’s I was bounced through. When I was finally adopted by my half sister and her husband the abuse just continued physically and verbally from her, and physically and sexually from her husband where nobody did anything, the law never did anything and nobody believed me. I think you have an amazing home for her and to have that faith is so important, I can’t stress that enough. Faith is what will keep you together and give her something to believe in, and turn to when things may be too much. One thing I always tell others is never push a child to talk about anything, don’t even try to bring it up because some children as I do now and did then, experience PTSD. I don’t know what her situation was with her biological parents, so it’s so hard to give advice based on what little I do know. I’ll kind of generalize to cover a broader spectrum and that might help cover what she has been through. If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to get her a journal. Writing is often the best way for children (and adults) to express themselves. Even if she doesn’t want to write she can draw her emotions out and that might give you some clues. You can call it a communication log or tell her any time she is feeling something unhappy, a worry, something that makes her scared or anxious that she can sit down and write or draw in it. Or sit down and write and draw things with you. Maybe you can draw pictures when you’re happy and talk about what your drawing. She can do the same and it might make it so much easier to express what’s going on in her mind. Children have such spongy minds and both fortunately (and unfortunately at times) great memories. She may develop questions for you and the best thing I can say is be completely honest and open with her, but in a neutral party sort of way. As children, they don’t need to know what our opinions are of those that have placed them up for adoptions even when we sometimes want to call those same people every name in the book out of frustration for what they’ve done to children. Make it understandable of course, and invite them to discuss it with you because it can help ease fears, worries and help them out so much. Sometimes they’re scared to ask despite wanting to so many times. Even if your foster princess is not reunited with her biological parents and gets placed elsewhere then it’s good for her to know that she is still loved and cherished by you. If continued contact would be permitted and is okay by both parties then reassuring that she can see you or still talk to you will be a KEY important thing. Right now as she always will, require stability and reassurance. A part of her might not even want to think about any of that stuff and chances are, with such a great life you’ve provided she probably doesn’t most of the time. Just continue to love her, be affectionate and just love her as unconditionally as you have. I was always afraid someone would steal me, kidnap me or I’d be taken to someone who was awful when I was placed temporarily with a good family for the short amount of time I was. I had nightmares a lot, and really all I needed and wanted was, love, reassurance, and guidance. If by some chance you get to keep her for life, and i pray that you do, still…be honest and open with her because she will resent you later for it if she has to find out the hard way. It’s a huge burden for a small child to bare and it’s no easy task to make that go away. I found though, as long as I was loved, made to feel good about myself and was happy, I never thought about anything else because my one foster mother that was good to me, made me so happy and did such a great job that it was home to me. I didn’t have a Christmas until I turned about 5…that was my first and when I was first introduced to what Santa was, much like your princess I was asked what I wanted and I remember telling them “A mommy and daddy who will love me.” You are giving her that and so very much more. As mom’s we tend to over think things or look deeply in to them. Sometimes you just have to take things at what they are and realize that as long as you can nurture her and she feels safe, happy and loved, nothing else will ever matter to her. That alone takes so much weight of the world off of her shoulders. Let her be her, is all I can really say. Whatever feelings she may need to express whether she says she is okay or not…just let her. Work with her, and all else will fall in place, but most of all..never lose faith, never let her lose faith or that spark in her eye.

  4. Praying for you all in the time of uncertainty and waiting! You are doing such a great job with your Princess! I love reading all of your posts, but these foster posts touch deeply as my husband and I are in the waiting in limbo phase of our case right now too! Thank you for always being real and sharing honesty with how hard these things we go thru are!

    1. Oh goodness, girl, isn’t the limbo so hard? I am a planner and a scheduler and so this just totally puts me on edge. It’s so hard to plan for a vacation this summer and not truly know if I should plan for 2 or 3…

      I am praying for you today…praying for peace and comfort and strength as we both know these three things are needed on this foster care journey. Lots of love! xo

  5. Your blog is always so inspiring. We are in the process of “fost-to-adopting” and your blog gives me hope. Continuing to pray for your little family. xo

  6. Beautiful. I feel like fostering is at at the very heart of God. I would love to go down that road at some point, or maybe even adoption. As a teacher, I see a lot of brokenness in the lives of my students, several who are involved in sad situations. I’m praying that one day this door might open for us. I’m blessed by this post. Love ya girl.

    1. As a former teacher, school counselor, and DCFS worker, I have seen my fair share too. And it’s so heart breaking! I pray that the door opens up for you too…but ya know? Sometimes we have to walk to the door first 🙂 hehe

  7. Oh I feel your pain! Or at least some of it. We’ve fostered 4 infants over the years, and the last one we had for a whole year. It’s hard, and his parents were antagonistic as well, because they became jealous of our bond. It’s been 54 weeks since he went home, and we haven’t fostered since. But another door opened, and we are in the process of an adoption (hopefully!) of a 4 year old. Keep your chin up; God will get you through whatever He brings you to, and He still does miracles and knows the desire of your heart. His timing is NEVER ours, though!

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