Two weeks (and a day!) with our little love, and the most common questions we’ve gotten seem to be some version of these three: What has been the best part? What has been the hardest part? What has been the biggest surprise?
I’m pretty sure I’ve given different answers each time. It’s hard to narrow it down to just one for each question, but reflecting on this past week (with the honeymoon phase definitely being over), I think I can finally respond with some thought:
Hardest part: the logistical stuff. Transporting little love to and from visits multiple times a week, doctors (multiple) and dentist appointments, meetings, visits to our home by social workers, documentation of.. everything. And phone calls.. boy, the phone calls. I’ve never felt so popular (or annoying) in my life. We knew this was coming.. but that doesn’t mean we were totally prepared for it. It’s different when you’re in it rather than just hearing about it. Our life is not as private as it was before. By opening our home to foster children, we opened our home to the system and all that it entails. And that’s okay! It just takes some adjusting. I’m also trying to deal with the fact that we are officially flakey people. And we’ve already been known to be flakey in the past because of my husbands job (another post for another time). Long story short: because of everything mentioned above, we can’t commit to anything.. like ever. Life changes in a moment in foster care.. we literally do not know what life is going to look like in a day, a week, a month. And while we signed up for that, our friends and families didn’t. At all. And it hurts to hurt them. I’m dealing with some major guilt from these past two weeks because we had to cancel a vacation to see friends, concert plans, work commitments, lunch dates, babysitting, tutoring.. the list can go on. Definitely my biggest struggle right now.
Biggest surprise: the little things that no one tells you about in training. That people are going to stare at you when the hear your child call you by your first name. That you’re going to have no idea how to respond when strangers in public say things like, “She looks just like you!” Feeling helpless when your toddler is having a meltdown in public and you have no idea what triggered it. When you cringe on the inside because someone just referred to you as “mommy” when talking to little love and you have no idea how/if she will react. The feeling you get when someone looks at you harshly because you aren’t able to answer a simple question about the past but you refuse to tell them that this is your foster child because you don’t want her to be looked at differently.
Ending with the BEST part: the joy. When little love starts calling Daisy “Dais” for short. When she sings along with the JJ Heller song you’ve been playing her all week. When she finally asked for something using a full sentence, even with a please on the end. The mornings when she snuggles and then immediately asks for “chocolate face” or “ketchup” or something else that makes no sense in the morning. We get to love this incredible little girl and the joy that brings us can’t be explained. In two weeks she’s completely stolen our hearts. I don’t remember ever laughing, singing, and smiling this much. We are better because of her. And our hearts are forever changed.
Jumping into parenthood has been a blast and even with the above answers, we wouldn’t change anything about it. The hard parts and the surprising parts make the best parts so much better. God is working and He is right here in this with us.
P.S. Every time I post something, someone I love reaches out to me with concern about how I’ll be when little love goes home. I appreciate the concern, I really do. And I totally get where it comes from. But I need to say this: it’s going to be okay. It IS. Little love has people fighting for her. Doing everything they have to do because they love her just as much as we do. And that, as I always say, is a beautiful thing 🙂