I am sitting on the floor next to the bed of a child who is terrified.
We got a call that this child needs a place to stay while her family gets some help, so she’s living with us for a while… or forever… or maybe just another night.
This child has done nothing wrong, yet her world was flipped upside down. I can not even begin to fathom what it feels like to be picked up by strangers and taken to live with more strangers, without even the chance to say goodbye to people she knows best in this world.
And the unknowns. All of the unknowns. What happened? Where am I? Did I do something wrong? Is my family okay?
This poor child has every right to be terrified. So we are working to build trust. We are trying to alleviate fears, build schedules, and set boundaries. We are healing old scars and raising up hopes and dreams. We are praying, we are crying, we are laughing, we are learning.
And we are in love.
I have no idea how long she will stay. I have no clue whether or not she will have time to memorize the Bible verse we pray over her daily. I don’t know how our other child will cope if this little one leaves.
I honestly don’t know how I would survive going back to the quiet that would ensue without her lively spirit.
I do know that my heart would break if she was to leave, but I also know that she deserves to have every bit of my heart, regardless of what it costs me.
And she does. She has every. single. corner. When I see the depth of sadness in her eyes, my heart drops. When I see the laughter bouncing around in them, my heart soars. I am laying beside her bed, where she’s petrified of closing her eyes, and I’m holding her close when we snuggle up with a book. I am beyond thrilled that she is a part of our family for however long she’s here, but I also know that she is not mine alone.
She is a “ward of the state.”
She is a sibling.
She is a friend.
She is a grandchild.
She is someone else’s daughter.
But for now, she is mine. I will love her with everything I have, because I have no other choice. She has my heart.
This is a piece of our story, but it is the beginning of the story for so many foster families around the country. Boy or girl, young or old, there is so much uncertainty and hurt in these sweet babies’ lives. They deserve the stability of a strong family. They have a right to be loved while their parents get help. They are not problem children or throw-aways or numbers. They are little hearts, just trying to make sense of their world.