Bittersweet by John E. Stack

Have you ever had someone move away, a child grow-up and go away to college or lost a loved one? I have and it is tough. No matter the circumstances, you go through a grieving process which ultimately tells you that you are not the one in charge.

I’ve shared before that my wife and I are foster parents and in the last seven years we have fostered 20 babies. Of the 18 that have left our home all but one was adopted. Each child that leaves our home takes a piece of our hearts with them, and it is tough going through the grieving process time and time again. We talk and think that we just can’t do it again, and then we are called by the agency and we say yes one more time.

Almost a year and a half ago we got a call on a baby girl, I’ll call her Mary. Mary looked pretty normal but we started noticing small things. On her first check-up we mentioned those to the doctor. After lots of tests it was determined that she probably had severe cerebral palsy. Her joints were very stiff and she had a swallowing problem. The doctor made some calls and soon we were scheduled for Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. She was fitted with leg braces and we were given exercises to do with her between therapy sessions. The talk was that everyone was doubtful that she would ever walk without assistance and that by the time she was two we would probably have to order a motorized wheelchair for her to be able to get around on her own.

Up until she was around ten months she took only formula and had very little movement. That is until ten months. We had tried several times to get her to eat baby food with no success. All of a sudden she was ready to eat. Within a couple of days she rolled over. By the next week she was moving around the floor. She spent a couple of days actually crawling, but that wasn’t fast enough. Within a week she was pulling up and cruising the furniture. By the time ten and a half months passed she took her first steps.

A month or so ago we traded her leg braces for orthotics that fit inside regular shoes. The braces were just slowing her down. Now at fifteen months, she runs, jumps and climbs just like any other toddler. She still has a swallowing problem, but we are working on that. God allowed us to witness a true miracle in Mary.

Now the bittersweet part. A family that attends church was selected by the agency to be her new adopted parents. They had met her at church and fell in love. Everyone is excited. She is going to a great family and we couldn’t be happier. We are now getting ready to start the transition period where she leaves our home and moves to theirs and it will take about 2-3 months. Here is another little one that will continue to pull at our heart-strings until a big chunk of it goes with them. One of the best things will be is that we will get to watch her grow-up. I know that God realizes how difficult this can be so he allows our hearts to mend – until the next time.

***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.


Filed under John Stack, life, writing

2 responses to “Bittersweet by John E. Stack

  1. Wow! That must be so hard, over and over again. But what a blessing that this time you will see her grow. And what a wonderful story of hope.

  2. John, you and your wife are truly special people. Having been a foster child, I know about some of the challenges foster children can bring with them. “Mary” and so many other children are blessed to have two brave souls like you in their lives. I’m glad you will be able to follow Mary’s progress into adulthood, and I would think it would be good for Mary, as well. Blessings to you and your wife for all you do to help these children in need.

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