Thursday, October 29, 2009

Full Arms, Full Heart

Miss Tiny, Miss Precious and I hanging out on the living room floor.
When Tiny and Curious arrived in May I was till in the throes of surgical recovery and rather heavily drugged. I know, through looking back at photos, the startling changes that have occurred in the girls through these last 5 months, but at the time I think I was simply too overwhelmed and too shocked that I actually HAD them to even be fully aware. Thick and shiny hair. Bright eyes and beautiful smiles. Attached and happy.
With Miss Precious, the changes in even two weeks are mind blowing. Her eyes aren't sunk in anymore, her skin isn't sagging. She smiles and kisses and reaches for me. This child WANTS to live. She wants to attach and thrive and grow and heal. She can almost sit up, and has learned how to eat solid food. Normal milestones for most babies, but shocking that at almost 10 months old she is just learning now.
This job, or life, is HARD. Yesterday I had 8 kids here, two sick with the swine flu and 3 sick with normal colds. Miss Precious spent the night, relegated to a playpen in the master bathroom. By eight o'clock last night I was exhausted, cranky and "touched out". Miss Tiny woke up at 3 am and would only sleep if she was on top of me. And then there was hockey practice at 5:30 am. Morning starts again with another son sick with the flu, Miss Precious older foster sister arriving for the day, and my own kids to cuddle and love. It's hard. But in the smile of a baby who has never before known love? That is worth it.
Yesterday Shel printed out a quote in jumbo type and laid it on my computer for me to see, "NOTHING YOU DO FOR CHILDREN IS EVER WASTED." I struggle with the reality that these kids, MY kids, may never remember me, may never know the love I had for them or how I will carry them through my entire life as "my girls". Does it even matter if they are safe, loved and thriving now if they are returned to a life of chaos? Will it ever matter that they had these months of love and safety?
I have to believe it will. I just have to believe this matters.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen, IT DOES MATTER! I was a foster kid in your small community some almost 20 years ago. Recently I read in the paper one of the foster parents I had, had passed away. So many times I had thought I was sure she never knew how much I appreciated her over the years, I certainly never showed it at the time. I was so full of hate for the family I was born into, that in turn I hated ANYONE trying to love me. I am who I am now because foster parents loved me unconditionally even when I was so hard to handle I needed to go to a different home. It taught me what love is and what love isn't. Keep doing what you do best and each and every child that enters your home even for an hour will be a better person because of the love you share so unconditionally!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing that. Really and truly. I love my girls "as if" they were my own. I miss Baby J, who was here for a year, each and every day and cant imagine ever not. The hardest part of this is the worry that it will never matter to them, they will never care that I loved them as a mother should love her children. Those middle of the night cuddles, the smiles and snuggles and walks and bottles and all those things are MY memories, not theirs.

birthmothertalks said...

It does matter. It's a awesome that you are there for those little girls. At a time when they need someone most you are there for their every need. It's priceless.

Unknown said...

Of course it matters! I think that quote is right on. And even if kids can't remember details of who and why, deep down in their heart and soul, they will know that someone changed them and someone loved them. Oh yea, it matters.

cassandra said...

When you are loving these beautiful children, you have shown love to the Lord too. Your faithfulness is a shining light.

Anonymous said...

What an empathetic guy your hubby is!;)Very encouraging... and true! You know in your heart of hearts that this is not wasted... or you wouldn't do this- this so very difficult, draining, and delightful "job", called LIFE. Keep on, my friend... i pray for you and all those kiddos! xo CB :)

Julia said... matters as much as the air they breath.

One Busy Momma said...

Beautiful picture!!!!!

and yes... your time and love does and will matter!!!!

you just rock...and one day.. .your kids will know! (once they are not teens and all... *laughs*)

Kate said...

It absolutely matters! You are making the most important difference in their lives. Having said that - I can't imagine loving them to bits and then releasing them to chaos again - you are a stronger woman than I. I think we do need reform in the system - in placing those little ones with you, the system has done well. But what has been done to make a difference in the environment to which they'll return? Have we nurtured their birthparents and helped make their lives more stable and less chaotic or have we mandated a few parenting classes and maybe some surprise home visits by a SW? None the less, because of what you do every day, these little girls will know unconditional love and security - I can't think of a better gift.

Amanda said...

I struggle with this too. Regardless of the reality, we HAVE to believe it matters. And I think it does. I've seen the changes in Brooklyn that happened in just the first three weeks, and I have to believe that whatever happens from here on out some part of her will remember that we loved her and cared for her (and protected her) the very best we could.