We got a new little guy today. He is 20 months old and a big ole tub of cute!
The first day is always the hardest. It is so scary to have a child dropped off at your home and know nothing about him but his name and birthday. We fed him dinner, but we don’t know what he likes or how he likes his bananas chopped. We pulled out toys, but we couldn’t tell if there were words in his babble. We don’t know when he goes to bed, how he is put to bed, whether he is used to light or dark, noise or silence. We don’t when he will wake up or how often he takes a nap. We know nothing. He is a stranger, and, yet we have become his parents for an unknown period of time. Though most people have 20 months of practice in taking care of a 20 month old, as of right now we have had 6 very short hours to figure out how to take care of him.
As scared as we are, though, he is even more scared. Yesterday he was taken from his mom, his home, his room, his bed, everything that was familiar to him. He was handed to a stranger by a stranger and left, and just as he was beginning to feel a teensy bit safe another stranger took him without notice from the comfortable stranger to a new, strange home with another set of strangers. No one explained it to him. He is a baby and couldn’t possibly understand, but he does know one thing. We are not his family. This is not his home. He is terrified.
Joshua was the one at home when he was dropped off. He was the one who spent the evening with him while I took Gabe and Miles to soccer, and Josh is now the safest person in a house full of strangers. He doesn’t want to leave Pop’s side. It’s as though he is clinging against the all to possible future when he will be taken away again. He screamed when Joshua left the room. He is silent when I try to tickle him or make him smile. I am not his momma.
We put our poor, sweet, tired boy to bed, and he screamed a scream of terror. He did not want to be left alone in a bed that was not his. At 20 months old, he has lost more than most of us could even imagine, and he was terrified that he was going to lose more. Too young to talk to us, too young to understand what was going on, but old enough to feel the great loss.
I’ve done this enough times to know how things will take place. Tomorrow will be better, and the tomorrows to come will get easier and easier. He will, especially because of his young age, quickly become acclimated to our home, our family, and our way of life. Soon strangers will become family, and eventually, he won’t remember life without us. And, then, one day when he is still too young to understand we, his new family, will be taken away, as well.
It is hard to be a foster parent, but it is even harder to be a foster child. Not knowing. Not understanding. Having no control.
So, as I rocked him, patted him, and sang to him of Jesus’ love, I prayed a silent prayer. I prayed over his future and his past. I prayed that he would learn that he is safe. I prayed that he would know that he is not alone. I prayed that he would quickly adjust and learn to trust us, but I prayed even more that God would place His hands upon this little boy and carry him through this time of great tragedy. Yes, Pop and JuJu are here, and we will take care of him and fall in love with him and allow our hearts to unreservedly be his, but, more importantly, God is here and will always be here.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.