The second night she was with us, I was gone at bedtime but when I got home, I went straight upstairs to tell the kiddos good-night. She saw me walk into the room and said, "Hi Mommy!" with a big smile on her face. Oh, my heart melted. I tried to give lots of hugs and kisses and encouraging words, but it's hard when my hands are full with keeping up. And she got sick with a bad cold + ear infection almost right away (thank you for sharing, Silas), so that made things a little more stressful.
About that stress? This was our first placement where the child was just put into the foster care system; there were so many phone calls and doctor appointments and more calls and visits with Mom twice a week. I was in constant communication with the DCS FCM (Department of Child Services / family case manager), the guardian ad litem (court-appointed child advocate), our foster agency case worker, and the visit specialist (coordinated and transported to all visits with bio mom). Whew.
One day it came to a head after our physical care for Z was questioned. I was washing dishes and crying when Romans 12 came to mind, and so I began to meditate. Love must be sincere.....cling to what is good....honor one another above yourselves.....serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.....practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse....Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud.....Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil.....Do not take revenge, my friends.....Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.
And I began to pray: for Z and for her mom and her grandma and for the case workers. When my flesh is weak and I know I want to respond wrongly or I don't know what to do at all.....I can pray. And sometimes that's all that needs to be done.
Sometime during our wonderful month with Z, as I was kissing her cheek or tucking her in at night and hearing her repeat "I love you" or learning how to do cornrows in her hair or having dance parties with JD & Silas in the living room (when she "danced" by bouncing up and down).....sometime in the midst of all that, I realized that I am just her mom-in-the-in-between. We expected Z to be with us 4-6 months but they moved her on to another home quite suddenly, and we will never know what becomes of her. But I will be praying for her for years to come....oh precious Z.
Favorite memory: on her last night with us, she slept in a room with Silas. I was putting Silas to bed and singing "Jesus Loves Me"--and Z started to sing it along with me. It's JD's current favorite song so she heard it almost every night, but I had no idea she knew all of the words. So encouraging to know she will take the words of that song with her. Jesus loves me, this I know...Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong... My heart misses her, but how wonderful to know that my God goes with her, and He loves her more.