a letter to m

My dearest M,

You’ve been in our home for a little over a month now, but it feels like you’ve been in my hearts forever. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I loved you the moment you walked through our front door. I fell head over heels for your big brown eyes, your pudgy little arms, your toothy grin, and your sweet dance moves. You bring so much joy and sweetness to our family, my little one, and we are delightfully discovering who you are and how God made you.

Sweet girl, there’s so much I want you to know. There’s so much I want to say to you – words and truth that I want to take root deep down into your soul so that even if you have no memory of us in ten years, you know the truth of how precious you are down to your bones. I want you to know that you are lovely, and worthy of being loved. You were created by the King of Kings, and He adores you, my child. He knows every single hair on that beautiful head of yours [even the inexplicably long ones right underneath each ear], and He has seen every tear that you’ve cried.

Oh, sweet one. My sweet little girl who at the age of 18 months already knew how to wipe away her own tears. You may have felt scared and alone, but my love, you weren’t. Not for one moment has He left you. In your scariest moments, He was there.

I don’t know all of your story, kiddo. In fact, there are things you’ve been through and seen that I may never know.

This is something I do know.

Your case worker shared what they know of your story, and many aspects of it broke my heart. There was one detail however, that made me gasp. As our family neared the end of our home study process, I couldn’t get you off my mind. I was constantly thinking about you and praying short prayers for you throughout my day. There were two particular nights however, that I couldn’t sleep for the life of me. Those two nights I laid in bed and talked to God about you for a while, then quietly walked up to what would be your bedroom, and prayed some more. I prayed for your protection and safety, I prayed for trustworthy people in your life, I prayed for comfort and peace. There were moments when I didn’t even have the words to pray, I just cried, and I know the Holy Spirit was interceding on your behalf. I earnestly and desperately prayed for you in those wee hours.

I chalked those nights up to foster care being heavy on my mind, and while I’ve continued praying for you, didn’t think too much more about it. Then your case worker informed us that during those two nights you were experiencing the things that would ultimately bring you into foster care. I can only imagine how alone and scared you felt, but I so vehemently want you to know that you weren’t alone. He sees you. He saw you in those moments, my dear.

He saw you, and I know our great God wrapped His arms around you, protected you, and made sure authorities found you. His heart broke for your fear, and He woke me up to pray for you. He woke me up in the middle of the night to give me the great privilege of being your Mommy before I even met you. I didn’t know what you were going through, I didn’t even know your name at the time. I just knew that my heart was hurting for you, and I did the one thing [the most powerful thing] I could do – I asked my God to take care of you. I asked Him to let you feel His arms around you until I could hold you. I asked Him to wipe away your tears until I could gently wipe them from your cheek. I asked Him to gently comfort you and give you peace until the day that I could hold you against my chest and sing of His love for you.

My sweet girl, He loves you. He loves you madly, and He is moving heaven and earth to take care of you. I pray you find your worth in His love. I pray you can see that He has a plan for you. I don’t know yet what that plan is, but I know that He will take your story and transform it from a story of heartbreak to a story of redemption.

Every single day that we wake up with you in our home is a day for us to rejoice, and our hearts almost burst with how precious you are to us. You are dearly loved, little girl. By us, by our family, by our church family, and by the Creator of the universe. I love you, my sweet. I love you so much.

Love,

Mama

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the wait

Little M has been with us for almost a month now, and the details of our days before we met her are already fading in my memory! I wanted to write about our wait – the time between when we were licensed and when Little M came to us – before I forget the details altogether.

Shawn and I excitedly attended our licensure meeting on a Thursday morning [conveniently while the boys were in school]. The whole thing lasted about an hour, and we met with our placement coordinator, case manager, and a few other agency staff. Our case manager went over our daily, monthly, and quarterly paperwork expectations with us, and we assessed with our placement coordinator the age range and behavioral issues that we’d be willing to accept. She had us add her contact name and number into our cell phones, and told us that because we agreed to emergency placements she may call at any hour of the day or night.

24 hours after the licensure meeting we got a call.

Cohen woke me up Friday morning the way he usually does – by standing next to me and awkwardly staring at me until I notice him. It’s so weird but so sweet, which is really just an indication of his personality as a whole.

Mommy!” he whispered. “Hmmm?” I sleepily replied. “I hope we get the call to be a foster family today! I’m just so ‘cited!

I wrapped him up in my arms and we prayed together that we would get a call that day, that God would be protecting his foster brother or sister, and that He’d be preparing us to love them well. The truth is, I was hoping just as much as he was that we’d get a call that day. We shuttled the kids off to school and almost as soon as we got home, our phone rang. We put the placement coordinator on speaker and listened intently while she told us about a 1-year old little girl, and gave us some details about why she was in foster care [that I’m not able to share here.] Armed with very little information, we told her we’d call right back and began praying.

It didn’t take us long to agree that we needed to say, “yes” to this placement, despite her being younger than we’d planned. After speaking again with our placement coordinator, we learned that they were hoping to place her that afternoon. While waiting for the call to find out the exact timing, Shawn and I started thinking through the things we needed to get. The list was long, and many of the things we needed would have to wait until we could physically see her and assess her size [diapers, shoes, socks, clothes, etc.], but we began rounding up the things we could get ready. A few hours later we learned that there was an error in her paperwork, so it would likely be another five days until she would be placed with us…if at all.

Nothing in foster care is ever set in stone [I’ve heard stories of people who were told they were being placed with a boy, but then a girl showed up], so we certainly understood why her placement arrangements had changed, but we were no less disappointed.

Once again, we found ourselves praying and waiting.

Three days later [two days earlier than expected], our placement coordinator called us again to tell us that the paperwork got worked out, and asking if we’d be available for her placement the next day around noon. Of course we were, and we once again began scrambling to get as many things in place as possible before she arrived.

Most of the parties involved were running late, so she didn’t end up with us until that afternoon. Those hours between when we thought she’d be there and when she actually arrived were downright torturous – for us and the boys! Every car door they heard elicited an excited, “Is she here?! Is she here?!” I acted calm and patient about the wait, but in my heart I was just as eager as they were.

Little M showed up in the caseworker’s arms, and our entire family just fell head over heels for her. We signed paperwork, listened to a scant few more details of her story and an hour later we were on our own as a family of five.

A family of five, it’s crazy to see that written out. A month later, and it still feels surreal and chaotic.

Surreal, chaotic, and more fantastic than either of us could have ever hoped for or prayed.