As challenging as foster kids can be to bring home, the familiarity of it is comforting the second time around. I find myself worrying less and trusting God more. It's so much easier to believe God's redemption, when I have a little heart-beating symbol of it sleeping one room over. Just as LJ has blossomed into this beautiful, creative, high-energy, life giving wonder, Sweet boy will, too...in time.
As he settles into our routine and family, one concern is obvious, Sweet Boy has learned to protect his heart - he has become void of most emotion.
When he first came to us, he was very emotional, similar to our experience with LJ. He didn't have the ability to regulate his reactions per situation. In the last several weeks, however, he conditioned himself to turn his feelings off, completely. When he gets hurt - nothing. When he's sick - nothing. When one of the boys takes something from him - nothing. He has become agreeable all of the time.
When we leave the house his anxiety radar kicks into high gear and we infer that behind his veiled questions, he's really asking, "When are you giving me away?"
And truly, why wouldn't his little heart wonder? What Ty would consider absurdity has been LJ and Sweet Boy's reality. Sweet Boy lived with his biological grandfather for 3 years before coming into care. Then he lived with his foster family for six months before coming to us. In his limited experience, we'll send him on his way, any day, without warning.
I would think that such deep, swirling complexities of this little boy's heart would paralyze me, but I remain confident. Time will heal Sweet Boy's raw, self-patched wounds. And God will be faithful to show me the best ways to love my new son. Even though Sweet Boy has not been privy to the revelations in my heart, yet, I find great joy in the truths that we're hemming around his little life.
We got together with Sweet Boy's foster family a couple of weeks ago and it was such a wonderful time of connection. I'm telling you, God does something really special when we're willing to open our hearts and love beyond our ability. Our family keeps expanding in unexpected ways, each time we bring a child home. It's amazing!
When we drove home that day, a line was drawn in permanency for Sweet Boy. People will no longer walk in and out of his life. By getting together with his foster family (and extended family), we were able to show Sweet Boy that he matters. That the people in his life are in his life to stay.
We're (slowly) helping him re-define family; re-define forever.
One day at a time.
As the cries of my heart find rhythm in this very up and down season, I want to encourage you to read a book that has inspired me. I think it is a wonderful resource for families trying to understand the ache behind their child's broken story.
It's called Scattered Links by Michelle Weidenbenner.
I'm not being paid to offer this review, I simply, found life in this story. Life so similar to the one we're walking through, right now. It's a fictional depiction of a young girl's Russian reality. Poor and abandoned, her shattered pieces carry through to her American adoption. Even though the content is difficult, it's an easy read that is impossible to put down. I found myself warring for Oksana, but crying over the failure that her American parents felt, while still desperately hoping for reunion with her birth mother. It will draw compassion from deep corners and inspire you to love more.
It was such a good read; I hope you'll pick it up!
Small victories lead to changed lives and it encourages this mama's heart that the shout of victory is becoming a resounding roar...