Our first foster daughter arrived on a Friday night wearing a polka-dot party dress that was two sizes too big, her hair just washed in a bathroom sink by the CPS caseworker who had been watching her for six hours as calls went out to see if any foster homes could take her. The caseworker had wanted to make her look more presentable, so that when she arrived, we wouldn’t turn her away.
She learned to crawl, then walk, under our roof, so eager to chase her big sisters around that she never even noticed how hard she was working. We’ve watched her transition from a bottle to finger foods, fall madly in love with Elmo and find a way to get into absolutely everything now that she’s mobile. Her laugh comes from deep down in her belly, and it’s contagious. She calls me “Mama.”
In December, her biological sister was born. She spent 10 days in NICU and was discharged to us right before Christmas. I cut the hospital bracelet from her tiny wrist as “Jingle Bells” played in the background. Our home is the only home she’s ever known.
Becoming foster parents is by far the hardest thing we have ever done, and one of the few things where, no matter how hard you work, you don’t know if you’ll get the result you’re working for.
You would be amazed what a fresh pair of jammies and a soft teddy bear can do for a kid in a crisis situation.
We held a drive in our neighborhood earlier this month and were overwhelmed by the people, particularly children, eager to help. We collected more than 125 Hope Packs during that drive that are already being distributed in the Austin area. But more are needed.
Creating a Hope Pack is a wonderful way for both adults and kids to get involved and fills a real need for foster children (both of our girls arrived to our house with almost nothing).