Sometimes, we are surprised by small blessings…
Today was a tough one. One of those days when I question why we choose to foster kids. We have this sweet spot in life right now with our girls – they are young enough to always want to be with us yet big enough to be self sufficient in many ways – why muck it up with a toddler that doesn’t know us or our way of doing things? Enjoy the ride while it lasts, right?
A few days ago our social worker said that a little boy, Joel, who was in our care last fall and whom we adored needed care again for a few weeks. His mom specifically requested that he be placed with our family again because she knew he would be loved and well taken care of while she dealt with an emergency. We were all so thrilled that our sweet, little guy was coming back! I prepared myself that it had been six months and little people change drastically in that amount of time, but surely he would remember us when stepped inside our home. Didn’t quite turn out that way. He was scared to death of our dog Mr. Biggs and wouldn’t come inside. I put Biggs away and showed Joel pictures of he and Biggs as buddies last fall. Joel clearly didn’t understand. Turns out that was the least of my worries.
Apparently, turning 3 last month has catapulted this little dude into a raging, tumultuous tot. He’s learned to spit, kick, hit, bite, jump on the furniture, throw things and his second favorite word is NO. What’s his favorite word, you ask? His favorite word is BIT**. Yep, you read it correctly. I have never been called that name so many times in my life as I was today in six hours from the mouth of this little guy. He and I spent a whole lot of time in time-out today. Each time, I told him we don’t use that word in this house. I don’t call him mean names and he won’t call anyone in this house mean names. Each and every time he said it in that little toddler voice it made my blood boil. And then it didn’t. It made me sad. Very sad. Because the adults in his world talk to each other like this so much that he knew exactly when and how to use the word. To him, it’s what you say when you are angry. To him, this is normal. And maybe even more disheartening is that to his adults, this is normal.
As I was holding back tears tonight, feeling exhausted and wondering if this is really worth it, I walked by the front door. And there I saw it. And a smile slowly spread across my face. Hours ago, I asked Joel to put his shoes by the front door. (What I really meant was put your shoes with all of the other shoes on the shoe mat in the dining room which is close to the front door.) And he did…he put his shoes by the front door exactly the way he put his shoes by the front door last fall. And a bit of joy and even a little bit of laughter filled my heart.
We are sowing seeds of love and hope in each of these little people that we are blessed to know. And they do the same exact thing for us.