Dear Chris (one year ago),
A year from now, you’ll be thinking (and writing) about someone you haven’t even met yet.
Last December, a little boy showed up at my house at 10:30 at night and stole my heart. Baby Z was the third of the five foster babies I’ve taken care of in the past year, but he is the only one whose move from my home caused me to burst into immediate, almost uncontrollable tears. He came to me a skinny, tiny, undernourished five week old and left two weeks later chubby and giving his first smiles. I missed him like he was a piece of me for almost four months after he left and I still get a little pang of sadness every time I see a photo of him.
I can’t pretend to understand this. The four other kids I’ve had in my house have been just as precious…but didn’t have the same effect on me.
I had this moment with him about a week into his stay with me that made me feel connected in a way I never experienced with the others. I remember exactly where I was sitting. I had just changed his diaper and was feeding him a bottle before putting him in the car to go home from an appointment and the light was just right that I saw my reflection in his eyes and it tore my heart open…in a good way, I guess. I felt like I suddenly understood motherhood and what it means to give a little person what they need to make them grow to be strong and solid on the inside and what it means to love a tiny human being fiercely. I felt like he was mine. Maybe that sounds silly to those of you who have and will have kids in your house for 18+ years, but those are the only words I can use to describe it. That moment sealed the deal for me.
Today is Z’s 1st birthday.
I wonder where he is and how he’s doing and pray he’s being loved on like he deserves. I won’t ever see him again. I won’t know whether he grows up to be a bookworm or a jock, a musician or a technophile, a kid who survives the system or gets lost in it. And that breaks my heart a little. I will hope and pray good things for him his whole life. All of my kids’ birthdays are on my calendar as a reminder to ask God for goodness in their lives.
So happy birthday, little man! I hope someone made you a cake and let you sink your face into it like one year olds get to do. And I hope someone read you a book and tucked you in and told you how much you are loved.
*I’m not currently fostering…because it’s really hard and there are a lot of things on my plate and I don’t have room for single momming right now…but if you’d like to hear more about parts of my foster care journey, here are links to some guest blog posts I’ve written in the past year. I hope you enjoy…
“A Journey Into Foster Care” series for Ecclesia Hollywood
Part 1 – The “Call” – or – Why Would you Want to Do This? – or – A Bit of History
Part 2 – Not My Plan
Part 3 – How to Be a Foster Parent in Three Not So Easy Steps – Part 1
Part 4 – How to Be a Foster Parent in Three Not So Easy Steps – Part 2
(The Raising LA Littles blog mentioned in the above four posts doesn’t actually exist.)
Four Things I’ve Already Learned From Being a Foster Parent for Live Life Boldly