Today is the day many refer to as “Gotcha Day.” It’s not really my favorite phrase., but it is the day that four years ago, on a Friday at 6 pm, our lives unknowingly and unexpectedly changed forever when God began to write a new chapter in each of our stories through the use of the Safe Families for Children Program. While you don’t remember (you were only 3), I will never forget the first few sentences, or moments, in which you stepped your toddler-sized feet into our home and later into our hearts.
You were only 34 inches tall, and tucked underneath your arm was a white, old, raggedy stuffed animal kitty (which we still have), and in your mouth was a thumb, and on top of your head was a ponytail that looked like a palm tree. You also had the most precious curls, which is why you were nicknamed Goldilocks.
Goodness, you were adorable!
Your smile calmed my nervousness as I said hello and showed you the room you would be sleeping in for what we assumed would be 30 days. Little did we know that the 30 days would turn into 90 days, and 90 days would turn into 180 days, and 180 days would turn into forever.
I sometimes have a hard time celebrating this day, January 10th, because while I am blessed by all that we gained, your beautiful smile, tight squeezes, tender love, and contagious laughter…I know all that you, your siblings, and your biological family lost in the process.
And I can’t help but think about all that you went through to have this day written on my calendar. You have endured more in the short seven years of your life than any child should. But your strength. The love that you give everyone you meet. And your incredible ability to have joy in the midst of heartache, as well as the eyes to see hope even in the dead and dying situations, is refreshing. Yet also challenging.
One of my proudest moments was two years ago when you saw an elderly lady in the local grocery store who looked sick. You asked me if it was okay if you could go over to pray for her. Shocked (you are usually shy), I permitted you. And as I watched you slowly make your way towards her (with tears in my eyes), I knew at that moment you were going to be an incredible servant for God.
A prayer warrior who moves mountains.
And the cool thing is that your passion for others to be healed didn’t end on that day in the grocery store. I am always in awe when you hear an ambulance go by and you stop everything from bowing your head and praying.
I could go on and on about you.
I could talk about your crazy love for horses and how you always need to have a napkin with dinner. In fact, funny story…on the first night you came to stay with us, we took you to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger (every kid’s favorite, right?), but before your first bite, we noticed you frantically looking around. I couldn’t figure out or understand what you needed until you finally found it. A napkin. And then all was right with the world.
I could also talk about how you will turn down cake and ice cream for an apple. Or how you will cry when you hear that salmon is for dinner, yet once the tears are dried, you smile and tell jokes as you eat it anyway. Because that’s just the amazing little person that you are. You truly are remarkable.
Something tells me that no matter what you do or where you go, you will make an impact in the lives of everyone who comes within five feet of you. How do I know? Because you have already done that with me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally as your Momma. And for allowing me to watch you from the sidelines of life so that I may cheer you on.
So thank you for loving me unconditionally as your Momma. And for allowing me to watch you from the sidelines of life so that I may cheer you to greatness. You are and always will be my best, yes!
To read more posts from my “Tales of Fostering,” see the links below:
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