374 days away from their mom.
374 days away from their family and friends.
374 days away from what was their normal.
374 days in someone else’s home.
374 days of being a part of a different family – immediate and extended.
374 days with rules, restrictions, expectations, and structure – unfamiliar things.
374 days of various emotions – confusion, hurt, anger, sadness, love, happiness, hatred, fear, joy, relief, helplessness, guilt, irritation, nervousness, contentment, safety . . .
. . . that’s their 374 days, but what about our family’s 374 days.
374 days of adjusting to two new members in our family.
374 days of sharing our home with two little ones, who didn’t choose to be here.
374 days of getting to know two little boys – the good, the bad.
374 days of loving two little boys who didn’t ask for our love.
374 days of trying to engage these little boys into activities they have never experienced.
374 days of handling two little boys having temper tantrums, anger issues, aggression, anxiety.
374 days of various appointments, assessments, meetings, home visits.
374 days of advocating for these little boys who have no voice otherwise.
374 days of being frustrated with a flawed and very broken child welfare system.
but . . .
374 days of seeing two little boys become better little boys than they were when they arrived.
374 days of seeing two little boys grow into healthy little boys.
374 days of encouraging two little boys to be just that . . . two little boys!!
For me the hardest numbers to wrap myself around during these 374 days are the 47 scheduled visits – the only opportunity for these little boys to see their mom or approved family and the only opportunity for mom to see her boys, and out of those 47 scheduled visits, only 22 actually took place. That’s 44 hours out of the last 8,976 hours of these little boys’ lives. That is such an astonishing number.
I can’t even imagine having my children taken from me, let alone not taking every opportunity to spend those rare scheduled visits loving on them, playing with them, talking with them, holding them, and being there for them. I am reminded by friends who have been fostering for years, these parents don’t know how to love, play, talk, hold, or be there for their kids and that is why we are here with open doors and open hearts.
374 days for now.