I've mentioned our big boy who was with us just for a weekend last year. He was so sweet and so needy, and my heart broke for him. And then I learned that they were looking for another foster home for him shortly after he left us and my heart broke again. I have prayed for him and cried for him many times. He was so vulnerable. If he didn't end up with the right people as soon as possible, his chances at a normal life and normal attachments seemed slim.
We definitely couldn't have had him in our little home. We had Baby S by the time he needed a new foster family. It hurt me to know we had the heart for him and not the space. Of all our babies, he was the one who seemed to need us most because he would be hardest to place, because of his age and because of his needs. This has weighed so heavily on my heart.
Yesterday my family went to the yearly foster parent zoo event. We had Big Boy R there with us last year. He was so busy and had so little ability to communicate, and we'd only had him for a few hours when we left for the zoo. We had to keep him buckled in to the wagon for the majority of the event, to keep him safe and to keep him with us. The aquarium room was one of the only places we felt safe letting him run and explore. So last night, a year later, I was standing in the same room, thinking about Big Boy R and telling Josh my memories from that room the year before. I sat on the same bench as last year, remembering how he'd eaten his snack there the year before and squeezed his juice box (oh, what a lot of juice we had to clean up!).
And then I looked over to my left. And HE WAS THERE! Our boy was standing right there, in the same spot, holding his drink, watching the sea lions!
It could have been a flashback to last year. The same child, the same place, even holding his little cup as he watched. Except this year, there was calmness and peace in his expression. He was so grown up and he looked so whole. This year, he knew he was loved, and he knew he was part of a family. He was thriving.
There often isn't closure after kids in foster care leave your home. This moment was a gift from God. A touch from him at a tough time in our foster care journey, reminding us that he will not neglect these children. He still loves them. He is not finished with them.
By God's grace, we had the amazing chance to be on Big Boy R's team this past year, all because of one weekend with him as his first foster family went on vacation. As I talked to his foster parents about all they have given to help him develop and thrive, I was so very glad to know that I have had the opportunity to pray for them through all of the sacrifice and difficulty and triumph, even if I didn't know how God was using my prayers.
Big Boy R playing outside last June
God had him in the right place, with the right people. He didn't use me the way I longed for. But he used my longing to keep me praying for that little man. He clearly placed our boy in a home that did more for him than we could have, with our different circumstances. And in a way that I still don't completely understand, he used my prayers, as he so faithfully does.
My heart is so full today. I'm so glad I got to see this little warrior again and meet the wonderful family who is advocating for him. (I hope it didn't creep them out to come across this stranger who's clearly holding-back-tears happy to see their child!)
Even if Baby S has to go, God will not abandon him. He loves my babies even more than I do.
Who knows how he's using my prayers for Baby M and Baby Z, and for the babies who never even entered our home but still have a piece of my heart. But I believe so strongly in this moment that he is using them.