Remember 2 blog posts ago when I said I had yet to feel completely overwhelmed in this process ?
Well… not sure I can honestly say that anymore!
This week there were moments overwhelming. Moments I wondered if we were in over our heads. If we heard God right in this “YES”. If we were what these kids needed. If we were ENOUGH.
Monday, “Little Man” moved in, joining his newborn sister who was already placed in our home. He is the SWEETEST little boy with the most beautiful eyes. He adds a ton of joy to our home & we feel blessed to care for him.
Additionally though, he adds a TON of appointments, phone calls, and people in and out of our home. I used to just have to work around my son’s preschool schedule and maybe an appointment or two of “Precious’” (“Little Man’s” newborn sister). Now we have added PT, Speech, DI, appointments with ENT, Audiology, and various other disciplines. I’m not going to lie, it feels overwhelming. We have up to 4 appointments a week (my phone ringing non-stop) & I’m trying to maintain as much “normal” as I can in our everyday lives.
Life now is not “easy”. It is not convenient.
I’ve had moments where I miss our old life. Life before the interruptions of foster care.
I’m tired. And my self-care is lacking. All my energy goes into these 4 kids.
BUT. And this is a BIG BUT…. I would NOT go back and say “NO.” Because, there is SO much growth & joyousness amidst this chaos. So much I would have missed out on had we settled for our convenient and routine life we once had.
Here are some top moments (highlights!) from this first week:
- “Little Man” growing to LOVE and adore our dog. The first night, he was TERRIFIED of the dog (“Abel”). We mentioned how we may have to get rid of Abel for a time if it did not get better. He screamed anytime he saw him, and clung to me when he was around. I’m not sure he had ever seen a dog. Gradually we desensitized “Little Man” to Abel and now, just 6 days later, “Little Man” crawls up and lays on him, kisses him, pets him, and giggles non-stop when he is around. He loves feeding him treats (and table food from his tray…which we need to work on) & seems SO HAPPY when the dog is near him. I wish I could share some pictures because it is the sweetest bond and the photos are so full of joy. I really think our dog has been therapeutic for “Little Man” this week.
- Witnessing our 2 children nurture both “Little Man” and “Precious”. Hearing my son say things like, “It’s ok (Little Man), we will take care of you” and his prayers at mealtime & bedtime. Seeing them both hug “Little Man” and “Precious” and put lotion on “Precious’” feet after bath time. My son feeding “Little Man” with a spoon & holding bottles for “Precious”. The 3 of them (our 2 kids and Little Man) in the tub giggling and splashing.
“Little Man” laying his head on my chest and allowing me to rock him and sing to him at night when he had (before) been resistant to being held for very long. We have a nighttime routine now and “Little Man” seems to enjoy brushing teeth, books, rocking & songs. He has even fallen asleep on me while I rocked. He frequently lifts his arms up now signalling his desire to be held.
Seeing “Little Man” grow to adore my husband and laying his head down on him during play (for a hug). He had also been hesitant around men in the beginning (he had been cared for mainly by women– a single foster mom prior to us). There is nothing better than seeing your husband sacrifice for and love on someone else’s children.
- Meeting “Little Man’s” therapists who have worked with him for months before his placement with us and hearing from them how great they think our home will be for him. I was feeling rather inadequate & then they came over. They said they think we are what he needs (a stay at home mom who can work one on one (sometimes 1:4 ha) with him and provide routine and consistency and space to explore and play)). I needed to hear that. Because there were times I felt like maybe we were not the best fit for him. They assured me that we are and said how excited they were for him. Sometimes you need to hear from a stranger that you are “enough” even though you know if God calls you to it that he will EQUIP and provide.
- Giving “Precious” her first FULL bath once her cord finally fell off. I heated up the room, drew up a warm bath, and got to see her relax and enjoy every minute (until i took her out ha). I wish her mom could be the one doing it, and I pray for her and grieve for her loss. But I feel honored to be there for “Precious” in her mother’s absence. Her cuddles are worth all the lost sleep : )
- Having a friend sacrifice her day to be here for me and my 4 kids. A friend of mine left her kids with her mom to come here and help me with mine during lunch and nap time (the hardest time of the day). She brought us food (Chik Fil A) and helped me feed everyone and clean up the disaster of a house we had created throughout the day. She knows I am never going to ask for help so she TOLD me she was coming and jumped in to help in every way she saw a need. Everyone needs friends like that!! It was so nice to have someone to talk to and process the week with too (adult conversation always welcome here!).
- Seeing my extended family welcome the new kiddos at our weekly Sunday night dinner at my moms. We added a lot of chaos but they all welcomed and accommodated the chaos! From holding the baby and feeding her a bottle to cheering on “Little Man” as he tried to walk : )
- Eating home cooked meals from people who took time out of their busy lives to make us a meal! Thank you to neighbors, friends, and my husband’s coworker who fed our stomachs and hearts (with their generosity). There is nothing better than eating a nutritious and delicious meal made by someone else! ( I like to cook but these days it just is not happening!)
- Getting to sleep in until 10 AM because my husband snuck the monitors out of our bedroom and took care of the kids so I could catch up on sleep. I cannot remember the last time I slept that late! So thankful for a husband who also forces me to take care of myself and who sacrifices for me and our family daily.
So despite the challenges and sacrifices, I would say “YES” again in a heartbeat. As the holidays near I feel blessed to be a part of many “firsts” for these kids and to witness God working in and though our family and friends.
Please continue to pray for our family, for “Little Man” and “Precious’” family, and for the kids. Pray for “Little Man” that he thrives in our home and benefits from all his therapies and interventions. Pray for “Precious” that she grows, develops, remains healthy, and learns attachment and love. Pray for our children that they continue to adjust to 2 new siblings & know how loved they are now and forever. Pray that God’s will be done in the lives of these kids (so many unknowns in fostering but we know that HE knows their futures).
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
God, prune me.
** “Little Man” and “Precious” are nicknames used to maintain anonymity. No photos will be shared also for this reason. It is their story to tell some day if they wish and to whom they wish.