|This is probably my all-time favorite photo now, captured by the incredibly talented Kristin Crawford.|
It seems my post about welcoming Little Man into my life has spread much further than I ever imagined in the past few weeks, which is so amazing and humbling. Knowing there are people out there who can relate to this crazy and wonderful adventure- and others who are encouraged by it- makes me unbelievably happy. So thank you for reading this thing, and thank you for caring about Little Man, me, and our time together. It really means so much to me!
Yesterday Little Man turned 4 months old, which amazes me. He’s grown up so much in the past few weeks! These days he is laughing and “talking,” he loves taking baths and Sandra Boynton books, he watches everything intently and seems to just take it all in, and he thinks I’m the funniest person in the world. Seriously- it’s the best.
|RG got to celebrate Little Man's 4-month birthday by napping with him in his room. He's been dying to do this since Little Man started sleeping in the nursery (normally he's forced to wait just outside the door), so it was a big day.|
I'm also amazed because I didn’t expect to celebrate this milestone with him. When he first arrived, I wasn’t even sure I’d celebrate Thanksgiving with him- and I definitely think we’d spend his first Christmas together. We've had a lot more time together than I originally anticipated, and I am so, so grateful for that.
When people ask me now how much longer he’ll be with me, the only answer I have (unfortunately), is “I have no idea.”
Last week we reached a point where it could technically be an “any day” kind of thing. We think it will be at least a few more weeks, but- at this point- we really have no way of telling.
Our situation is a bit unique for a variety of reasons- and it’s hard for me to explain it fully while still protecting Little Man and his biological mom’s privacy. But the basics are that Little Man was placed in foster care voluntarily. Before he was born, his biological mom signed him into care because she wasn’t able to care for him at that time. We’ve been able to do a few visits with her- an experience I was hesitant to share widely out of respect for her (and because I felt incapable of articulating all the things I thought/felt). I’ve been trying to put some of those thoughts and feelings into words, so there might be a post sometime soon about it. But for now, I thought I’d share something I wrote a while back.
At the end of November, Little Man was dedicated at my church. Dedication days happen pretty frequently because there is something in the water and we have new babies born every week. It seems that way, at the very least. On these days, families make a commitment to share Christ’s love with their child, and the church community commits to support the family in that endeavor. Parents have a chance to talk about their new baby; I always love seeing the ways they light up as describe their child’s developing personality. They also have a chance to pray for their child. I usually get choked up during this particular moment because I get a small glimpse of those parents’ hearts- I hear about their hopes and dreams for the little life they’re holding, and I feel so grateful that such love exists in the world.
When Little Man’s dedication day was approaching, I realized I should probably start writing a prayer for him. (Recognizing this as such a significant moment, I knew I’d have to prepare in advance so I could get through it without crying/blabbering on too long/sounding awkward.) In the weeks before, I tried- on a few occasions- to come up with the right words, but I failed each time. Everything I thought and felt just seemed too enormous for any of the words in my vocabulary. So, in an act of desperation, I turned to Google. “Surely,” I thought, “there are some beautiful, traditional prayers that might capture what’s in my heart. I mean, people have probably been praying for children since children have been around- there has to be one out there I can use!”
Much to my surprised, however, Google failed me. I’m assuming I just have lackluster Google skills, because my searches only yielded prayers for children themselves to say, prayers that belong on the front of an overly-religious baby shower card, and a few prayers for the fate of all children in foster care. (I tried a few phrases for searching.) I’m sure when they were written, all of these prayers were very heart-felt and sincere, but I didn’t think any of them really fit this situation.
The night before the dedication, I still had nothing. I was thinking about just asking someone else to do it, but at the same time felt like it had to come from me. So, once I’d gotten Little Man to sleep, I sat down next to his bassinet and started writing. Maybe it was because I was sipping on a glass of wine, but in that moment, I felt like the right words were finally coming to me. I’m not sure they perfectly capture everything I feel about Little Man and my time as his foster mom, but I think I got as close as words could.
I still come back to this prayer pretty regularly, and I think I will continue to do so even after Little Man leaves. If you feel so inclined, I’d love for you to join me in using it. (Although you may have to adapt a line or two.)
And, who knows? Maybe one day someone will frantically search for a prayer for her foster child, and Google will lead her here. I’d love for these words to find meaning for other parents out there.
A Prayer for My Foster Son
God, thank you for Little Man. Thank you for his life, and for the time you’ve allowed it to intersect with my own. I am constantly amazed, humbled, and so grateful that you would choose me to care for him- even for just a short time.
I have so many hopes and dreams for Little Man, Lord. I hope that you grant him strength, courage, wisdom and determination. I hope you fill his heart with kindness, compassion and joy. I hope you give him a love of learning and a great sense of humor, and that you surround him with people who strengthen and encourage him- people who will point him toward you.
May you give him a desire for justice and fill him with a sense of wonder. And- in all things- may he always see and feel hope. But above all else, God, I pray that you will fill him with the knowledge that he is incredibly loved. I don’t know what lies ahead for Little Man; I can’t predict what joys and pains he will face in his life. But I know and trust that you are with him, and that you love him far more than I can fathom. Please help him to know and trust that, too.
May he always know your love so he may always know and love you.
As it has so frequently over the past two moths, my prayer for Little Man echoes Paul’s from Ephesians:
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."