We still have no clue how long she'll be here with us. The ups and downs of foster care. It certainly teaches the importance of seizing the day and living each one to the fullest. I find myself praying over her every chance I get because I have no clue how many chances are left. Tonight one of those sweet times arose and I seized it. All 3 kiddos were in bed, Daniel was running one of the youth home and I was making chicken salad for my Bible study tomorrow. I heard sweet girl making all kinds of noises in the monitor (which is typical when she's trying to go to sleep, but tonight it seemed to be lasting longer than usual). Once again, she's teething (do babies ever really stop??), so I grabbed the Tylenol, the rest of her bedtime bottle which she didn't finish before going to bed, and sweet girl and I had a date in the recliner. After I finished feeding her, I put her up on my shoulder to burp her. Normally she'd start jumping around, grabbing at my hair, and jabbering. However, tonight she just laid her precious head on my shoulder as if she didn't have a care in the world. My heart was so full! I just rocked her and prayed over her for several minutes. I thought, I'll stay up until 11 pm making chicken salad if it means I get to spend this sweet time with her.
So much has changed in sweet girl's life in just 3 short months...she's gotten her first 6 teeth, she learned to roll over, she started sitting up unassisted, she began "talking" (sometimes I wonder if she's secretly a Bramlett with all the jabbering she does!), she started (and loves!) baby food, she's sleeping through the night (can I get an amen?!), she's not near as jumpy as she was when she first came (she was startled very easily), and she shows signs of attachment to us. All of these things are normal for a baby. They're supposed to happen. What sweet girl doesn't know, though, is all of the incredible changes I've watched take place in our family as a result of her being with us. I've watched our other two kiddos accept and love unconditionally a baby they'd never met before she showed up on our front door step. I've watched a husband give of himself and his free time over and over to assist me with some sort of parental duty. I've watched a 4-year-old's heart wrap around the idea of fostering and adoption so much that he wants to tell everyone we see what's going on with our family. I've watched a 2-year-old girl go from being very jealous of her new sister and asking if she could go home the first day to laying beside her on the floor playing with her just because, or running over to calm her down when she's upset, or insisting on singing "Jesus Loves Me" over her as she's going to bed at night. I've watched myself being convicted of my selfish nature when I'm woken up several times during the night by multiple children and wonder if it's all really worth it. I've watched as the Lord's shown me over and over through sweet girl's smile that yes, every bit of it's worth it. I've watched as a church body has completely fallen in love with this girl. I could go on and on with story after story. The bottom line is this girl and fostering has changed us all. Are there hard moments? You bet! Are there unsure moments when we wonder what the next week will bring? You better believe it! Are there times when I hate the thought that fostering even has to be an option? Every single week when I drive away from her parent visit. It's not natural. This is not the way God intended it. But, if this is how it has to be right now, I'm so thankful to be a part. And so for as long as we have her we will thank The Lord and love her as she deserves to be loved. And if one day she does leave, we will thank The Lord for the time we had, trust His perfect plan, and continue praying for her for as long as we have breath. That's all we can do, and that's all He asks of us.