Facing the Shadows of a Foster Child’s Past…
Nearly eleven months ago, we met our two beautiful foster children for the first time. I’ll never forget the elation I felt when I saw the car pull up in our driveway – or my consternation as they started to cry the moment I answered the door!
But after nearly a year of backyard picnics, trips to the park, ballet lessons, and countless other adventures, they’ve become a part of our family. In fact, they are so much a part of our lives now that I find it difficult to imagine life without them!
Haunted by Shadows
Every once in a while, though, a shadow from the children’s past will creep up and stop me in my tracks. A facial expression, a way of saying things, a violent outburst, or a bad habit…something that reminds me so much of their biological parents. You’d think I would be used to these moments after all this time, but they still hit me like a cold slap in the face. They remind me of how fragile our family really is, how we really don’t know how long we’ll be together…and how even if we are fortunate enough to become their forever parents, that the baggage they carry with them is something we’ll always have to deal with.
Thankfully, the Lord continually encourages me by catching my attention with Golden Moments. For example, just the other night I was walking past our daughter’s bedroom on my way to go feed our puppies, and heard her singing her “Jesus Lullaby” to her stuffed animals as she tucked them into a tiny bed she had made for them out of a shoebox. It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.
And it helped me to realize that while the biological parents have indeed left a lasting imprint on these impressionable children – so have we. No matter where life takes these beautiful children, they’ll always know what it means to love and serve God and what a caring home is supposed to feel like. And I pray that they’ll always know how special they are, and how much they are loved.
Shadows come in all shapes and sizes, and – thanks be to God – not all of them are scary.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6