If I could describe this week in one word it would be: small victories. Okay, that’s actually two words. Thursday was officially one week since the day we took two little ones into our care. Because of confidentiality, I will call our kids K (3 year old girl) and B (11 month old boy). K and B were brought into our home by the DEFACS social worker. In the foster care process, most of the time you receive a call about a situation, agree or decline to care for the children, and the child(ren) are brought to your home that day. Yes, that day!! Two hours after we received the call to be exact. We were nervous, excited, and overwhelmed by the thought of entering parenthood. I will never forget the memory of throwing baby items into our buggy one hour prior to their arrival without any clue of how our world would be rocked.
Gabe is a natural dad (I can’t brag on this man enough!!) B immediately reached for Gabe at our first meeting. K was much more hesitant, which is understandable considering she is older and more aware of what was happening. We listened to their story, showed them to “their” rooms, and played with the one toy we had managed to purchase at the store. K warmed up within about 30 minutes. The first night was one of exhaustion (for all of us). Actually, let me rephrase this; the first week was one of exhaustion. We kept asking each other, “Will we ever sleep again?” (Of course the answer is yes, but this was a serious question at the time.)
One night, I remember leaving K’s room as Gabe was leaving B’s room. Somehow, by God’s grace, we had managed to put them both to sleep at the same time. As we walked out into the hallway, we did a little victory dance. That is the moment the words “small victories” popped into my mind. “Can we do this?” “Will this ever be normal?” “Are we capable of being loving and equipped parents to these sweet little strangers?” Honestly, there were moments I would have answered no. Now, I can confidently answer yes; but, I realize we will not become equipped and acquainted all in one night. It will not even seem manageable and normal to us within one week. It will be a process of becoming a family. It will be one small victory after another.
As I write this blog a week later, I can tell you that by God’s grace and the unbelievable blessings of our family and friends, we are in a much better condition than the “shock” we experienced the first couple of days. So, today we celebrate! We celebrate the opportunity we have been given to minister to these sweet children and their family. We also celebrate the Gospel and how darkness will be restored to light. We choose to celebrate the moments of pain, exhaustion, and insecurity, because we know that as we lay those moments of weakness before the Lord, He will be faithful. He will be our strength. He will be our wisdom. As we take one step of obedience at a time, He provides the grace we need for that moment alone. We continue step after step. Then one day, we look back at the road we have traveled and see the journey was one of pain and beauty. Through the moments of weakness, we are molded and shaped into the image of His perfect Son, Jesus. The fight is hard, but as we endure, small victories become our song of celebration.
Here are a few of the small victories we are celebrating today. (Please mentally picture Gabe and I doing the most silly, awkward celebration dance. It will make for a better read!)
-I was called Effie, Jessie, Chelsea, and Calvin; now, I am referred to as “Mrs. Callie.”
–The 11:00p.m. bedtime has now become 8:30p.m.
— K went from sleeping with all the lights on to now using only a night-light.
— B has shown much more personality and vocalizations.
— We went from a 45 minute “getting dressed” frenzy down to 20 minutes (still a frenzy).
— K and B are developing a taste for fruits and veggies.
— I can now change a diaper in 2 minutes instead of 8 minutes.
— K went from pull-ups to potty training.
— K and B enjoy daycare/nursery with minimal tears.
— Our house is now baby proofed with plenty of toys.
–Tantrums have decreased drastically as laughs have filled our home.