Well, it’s that time again. We went through it last year in March and the year before that. As a matter of fact, this will make number nineteen. What am I talking about? We are getting ready to say good-bye to another child that we have had in our home for the past twenty months. If you have read my past posts, you know that my wife and I are parents in the foster care system. In the past eight years we have housed eighteen babies, one teen boy and one young mom who was trying to get her baby back. Yeah, we adopted one and she is now six years old. But now, it is getting close to the time we say good-bye to “Bill” (not his real name).
Bill came to us when he was around two months old. He was the tiniest baby that I had ever seen. Bill was a twenty-six-week preemie who weighed only a pound twelve ounces when born. He had lots of problems and lots of delays, including many vitamin deficiencies. We had to have special training before we could take him home, so as soon as we got everything signed off, he became the newest resident of our house.
Bill had to have physical therapy, and occupational therapy weekly, plus see various specialists every couple of weeks. The doctors weren’t sure how well he would progress of if he would progress.
At a year old, Bill was about the size of a four month old and still functioning on the level of a newborn. All the doctors were concerned. He still weighed less than fifteen pounds, so the doctors were afraid he was becoming failure to thrive.
By the end of summer, things started to change. With lots of prayer and love, Bill’s life began to change. At fourteen months Bill started to sit up for the first time. Within the next four months, he went from no teeth to fourteen teeth. Also, around this time, Bill discovered food. We tried to take is slow, but he didn’t want the bland stuff. He wanted real food.
Bill is now down to two bottles a day, plus two cups of milk. He also eats three meals a day and is starting to put on weight. We figure he is getting close to twenty pounds. He is talking some, using about ten words. He also knows sign language for another eight to ten words. He can communicate enough to get his meaning across.
He is not walking yet, but will stand up and sit down rather quickly without holding on. Besides, who needs to walk when he can crawl as fast as I can walk. Anyway, things are starting to come along. We figure he will start walking about the time he starts transiting out to his new home.
Often, people say “how can you let them go?” or “Doesn’t it break your heart when they leave?” What can I say? -yes, I cry when they leave, but they don’t belong to me, so I can’t keep them. For one thing, I am old. For another, a baby is not a puppy.
We’ve recently talked about not taking another child for a while, just to get our lives back to normal – if there is a normal for a family with a six-year-old. My daughter’s take on us not doing foster parenting is, “have you even talked to God about this? Isn’t this the kind of decision you want to ask him about? Besides, I like being an older sister.”
Well, I guess we will wait to see what God says, since he is the one that put us here in the first place.
Have you ever considered becoming a foster parent or adopting? I encourage you to check it out. Older parents have already been through it all, and as they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is the toughest job, but we receive the most blessings. Pray about it and start your new adventure.
***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.