We didn’t know what we were signing up for.
Even when expecting parents are — well — expecting, they don’t really know what they’re signing up for.
Parenting, I’m learning, is an art form of improvisation mixed with exasperation. But we love our kids, so we let them live another day…
On our first ride home with N, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
As soon as we got home, I had to head out to a trustees meeting — which was where I really wanted to be…*eye roll*
During the meeting, I’d get text messages of this new journey we began. Pictures of him smiling in the tub; wearing his pajamas we bought a few hours earlier; meeting his new teddy bear; lying down on his new bed… and I had the honor of listening to the termite problem that’s not quite a problem yet but will be a big problem if we don’t do anything.
N quickly latched onto my heart. And I was not looking forward to the time when we’d have to say goodbye. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I didn’t know how foster parents did it. Just the thought of saying goodbye to N had filled me with anxiety and sadness.
Each and every night, I’d tell him:
“RayRay and JoJo (the names he called us at that time — because, funny story: He couldn’t say Rahel. We’d ask him to say Rahel and he’d say, “Ho.” Clearly, that would not be the name N would be calling her… haha) are your family too. We’ll love you always and forever. Always and forever, buddy.”
I knew that he’d be in my heart and thoughts for the rest of my life — wondering where he was; how he was; who he was becoming; what he was doing all the while hoping and that he’d be well and doing well. All the while knowing that I’d probably be — at best — a distant feeling for him — at best — later in his life.
And I don’t know why that made me so profoundly sad. We weren’t in this to be remembered by the child. We were in this to make sure that this child is loved and placed in the best position to succeed while we had this short time together. Saying goodbye is part of this calling. My head knew that. My heart probably would’ve never caught up. All I had were the words of “always and forever.” And I sincerely meant that because he’d be in my heart, always and forever.
On this day, June 24, we celebrate two years of legally becoming N’s parents.
The most joyous thing about this is that we’re now in this forever — for better or worse. “Always and forever” is no longer a concept or a wish or a memory — it’s our reality. We’ll get to witness him growing up. We’ll play a huge part in shaping him into the person God is calling him to be. We’ll also have a huge part in screwing him up — as all parents do to their kids.
The picture that you see above: the puzzle piece with “Resilient” and his name on it. That was something he worked on at school. I don’t know what the project was or anything else about it, but I had to take a picture of it. Because resilient, he is.
I still tear up once in a while thinking about the first few weeks he was with us because it alluded to the life he led before being taken into a group home. Yet, from the day we met to now — joy emanates from him.
What a journey this has been and how blessed of a life we get to experience…