I had no idea....I thought I knew about how the foster care system worked and I believed that the system would automatically work to protect an innocent child.
When my first precious 16 month old orphan (for lack of a better word) entered my life on Sunday, September 5th, I realized that I truly didn’t know much at all.
I was so grateful that God knew she was coming and so glad He brought her to us. The prayers for this child began way before I laid eyes on her. I was and am so grateful that I was surrounded by dear friends that had been or still are foster parents, had adopted children and could share great advice on everything, and I mean everything I needed to know.
It didn’t take us long to decide that we were going to be the ones taking care of her full time. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was truly going to take a village to do this. From my dear friends coming over the first day and putting a pack and play in my room. Her husband asked if I knew how to put one up and I said I probably do, but it’s been a while. He said I got it and took it upstairs and set it up. The first act of love towards her let me know I was not going to be alone on this journey.
To my friends who dropped off meals, groceries, diapers, wipes clothes, car seats, high chairs, toys, gift cards ~ to my new friend that was on a text thread that had been sent out sharing our story, she went that day and bought diapers, rain boots, and a car seat for us. As she stood in the line at target behind a dear friend of mine who was there buying crib sheets, clothes and wash cloths they quickly realized they were both buying things for our girl. That is how Mighty Our God is and that is how He works through others.
He brought this little girl into our lives and we are so grateful that we get to play a part on her journey and are soaking up every minute of it. It didn’t take us long to realize that you just do what’s next ... diaper change, clothes change, meal, nap, bath, meal, nap, clean up and then start again the next day.
It didn’t take me long to realize that you could love someone so fast and so much, that someone you didn’t even know a month ago you would do anything to protect them. It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed this amazing Foster community around us and that God had hand picked every person that has shown up to help from complete strangers to new friends.
A little bit about her background ~ she had lived all of her 16 little months of life on this earth either in a car (a stolen car at that) or some kind of drug motel so a home, clean clothes, toys and a bath was very exciting to her. Things that were normal for us were new to her. I remember thinking how did they give her milk when she was sleeping in a car seat in a car? How do you refrigerate milk and basics when there is no refrigerator?
The second day she was her she tried to eat the dogs food and we quickly told her no, that was for the dogs not her - not ever was she to eat that food, and we showed her all of her food choices. We found out that she had been fed dog food from one of her parents, so she thought that was acceptable but we all know that was unacceptable on many levels.
In the beginning, she would eat every time we did whether she was hungry or not and would sometimes end up throwing up a little bit of food - because food had been sparse for her she hoarded it. She tore open a pack of crackers and a water bottle with her teeth, we later found out that her parents taught her how to do that so she could feed herself. She’s a baby, a toddler, she’s not old enough to have to care for herself not should she. It didn’t take her long to trust us and know that she would never be hungry in our home.
It didn’t take long for her to trust and know that she was going to wake up in a safe home everyday. Sleeping and naps became something she looked forward too. I started singing Amazing Grace to her the first night and now she can sing it back to me.
She quickly began to know she could trust us to care for her, and to love her and goodness she loves us back. She loves others really well. We have felt since the very beginning that our part is the vessel in between her past and her future. We believe our role is to help break the chain of neglect, addiction and abandonment that she would have with her parents. We want the very best for her because she deserves the very best, she is a precious child of God and an absolute gift to us.