I mentioned last week that we would be spending the afternoon with a child that is currently not able to live with her parents. Actually, her parents' rights were just terminated - and the future of she and her siblings is being decided.
Knowing that she had just gotten the news, literally days before our playdate, that she would not be seeing her mom and dad again until she turned 18 created a lot of anxiety for me about how to handle any topics or emotions that might come up.
Our day started by Madison and I picking her up from the girls' cottage at the children's home. The girls were all outside with their house parents getting ready to go do "something." I knew several of them, and had a lump in my throat the entire time talking with them. I had no idea they lived there. Two came up and hugged me, "Remember me?! You came and talked to our class! Remember?" Yes.. I did. They all wanted to know where we were going, what we were doing, and when we'd be back. The one girl we were there to get jumped up and down with excitement - she had no idea what the plans were but she knew she was ready to get to them.
We left and let little girl "A" pick where we'd go for lunch. "I've never been to Mazzio's! Or Larry's Pizza! Can we go there?" Larry's Pizza it was.
Lunch was filled with laughter, jokes, giggles, and of course we had to end the meal by letting the girls hit up the arcade. "This is the best time EVER!" *from "A's" mouth repeatedly*
After lunch she was excited to come over and play. My goodness... that child is just a true gem. With all she's going through, she was still just a happy kid. According to her house parents, she 'really' is just that way. She lets life roll off of her and it's allowing her to handle the circumstances so much better than her other siblings. What I can learn from her!
Hours and hours of playing, talking, drawing, and freezing outside so they could "clean" the playhouse ended with supper around the kitchen table. She has the best manners I've ever seen. She was grateful for everything, and when I asked who'd like to bless the food she and Madison took turns thanking God for each other, for family, and "A" ended hers with, "God thank you so much for the food here and for us all having a roof over our heads. We love you so much! Amen." How many children can really appreciate having a roof over their head?
With a heavy heart we loaded up to take her back to the children's home at the end of our evening. She's not approved to have a "family friend" so even once all of our paper work and background checks and such are completed, she still won't be able to ever stay the night with us.
We all walked her in and she seemed sad to leave our house, yet happy to be back "home." She was eager to show us her BEAUTIFUL room and the framed photo of her mom and dad. After a few minutes visiting with everyone we were ready to head back home. She asked, "Do you think i could come over again really soon?" With her current situation I don't know how often we can have her over, so I simply said, "I really hope so!"
Madison has asked every day since why she can't stay with us, why we can't adopt her, why she can't come over EVERY day. Can she come this Saturday? Can she come to church Sunday? Her heart is so beautiful. God is working in her constantly.
Circumstances being as they are, it seems that "A" will likely never be a child that can be with our family. However, I see that God used "A" to launch us forward. There are so many children taken from their homes and the fortunate few end up in awesome foster homes or a fantastic place like our Baptist Home. What about the rest? What happens to them?
We hope to be an approved "family friend" family through the Baptist Home sooner than later - depending upon how long all of the stuff takes to complete. After that, I am in prayer that we will continue moving forward. That we won't stop there.