She came to us a wide-eyed, petite four-year-old, swimming in clothes four times too big for her. Her previous foster family sent her with just a handful of items, obviously discarded hand-me-downs. There was no note or information about her, just a warning from the transporting worker.
“The old foster family says she throws fits.”
For the next two weeks as we adjusted through what is often called the “honeymoon period” of a placement, I thought the problem must have been the foster home. Our new foster daughter was wild, talkative, and energetic but mostly what we saw was a child hungry for love and attention.
And then the honeymoon ended.
Over the next 18 months, we struggled to help our foster daughter process the effects of severe abuse and neglect and the trauma it had woven into her life. We knew she would most likely never return home based on the severity of her situation. So we determined as a family to share in her sufferings – and pray and believe for healing in her life. It wasn’t easy and many times I felt like giving up. I doubted I had what it took to parent a child with so much confusion and rage locked up inside.
It was largely the support of our licensing agency, her therapist, and our friends in the foster care community that held us up during some of our darkest days.
We continued to fight hard, and little by little, love won over our foster daughter. Trust and security began to replace fear and anxiety, and a different girl emerged than the one controlled by trauma. Last month we threw a huge party to celebrate her adoption. I couldn’t help but compare the once confused little girl dressed in castoffs to our now confident daughter spinning around in a gold dress.
To get to be a part of her story has been so, so worth it, and the joy of being her mom is the redemption of even the hardest day.
There are hundreds of kids in Spartanburg and Cherokee county with stories similar to my daughter’s. Some children will be in foster care a short time, some for a longer period, and some will possibly one day need a new forever home. Would you be willing to begin the process to make an impact for one of them?