Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Open Arms

     We have a new addition to our family. She may be temporary, she may be permanent. But while she is in our home we will love her as our own. Call us crazy, gluttons for punishment, tell us we have a "save the world" complex. It's all true. We can't help ourselves. We just love kids.
     Last Sunday we met our new foster baby for the first time. She came to our house for a get to know you visit. Before the doorbell even rang, we were all in love. Beka walked into the kitchen and said, with a precious smile on her face and a light in her eyes, "She's here." When that sweet bundle of baby fat toddled into the house it felt like she was coming home. Tawni, Beka, Zack, and Ian were enamored. They sat and listened to the current foster parents talk about her, about the cute things she does and says, about her home situation, her likes and dislikes. They asked questions and played with her. I was so proud of them. I sat on the couch observing my family and my heart filled with love. My kids are exceptional people. The way they unselfishly welcomed a tiny stranger into their home, knowing she would demand more of my time and energy, and yet their arms were opened wide.
     And little Ian. One of the reasons I wanted to do foster care again is because of him. I wanted him to be able to experience having a foster child, so that he might better understand how he came to be in our home. He has questions about his birth family and we will sit together and look at pictures and talk about them. He knows their names and is just beginning to grasp the concept of adoption. I know having a foster child will help him in many ways. He has been so sweet and loving. I've seen such a tender side of my boy these last few days. He told me, "I will protect her. I won't let anybody touch her toys."
     "Are you going to be a good big brother while she is with us?" I asked him.
     His eyes lit up at the realization that he, like Zack, was now a big brother. "Yes, I am."
     And so far so good. Tonight he played kitchen and dollies and when his little sister screeched for a certain toy he wasted no time in giving it to her. I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but I am so proud of him.
     The previous foster parents, bless their hearts, told me they have been praying for weeks about this little girl. They just felt like she was in the wrong place and needed to be with a different family. When they walked into our home, they felt the rightness of it. And so did I. My heart was so full of warmth and that tingly sensation, that my ears were literally ringing with it. It's been a long time since I've felt the Holy Ghost that strongly. Any doubts I've harbored about doing foster care again are all gone. I always knew it was the right thing to do, but sometimes fear gets the better of us. I don't know how long this precious child will be with us. I hope forever. But if she returns to her birth family, then that means goals were met and her parents did everything they could to improve themselves for her. It means saving a family. What is better than that? Nothing. But my heart will break . . . And when it's not quite healed, I'll open it up again to make room for another sweet someone.