It’s been a hard week. An emotionally draining week. I’ve been staring at my computer for the better part of the afternoon. I want to work on some writing projects I’m excited about. The thing about writing, though, is you don’t always get to work when you want to or when it’s convenient. You work when the words come. Today, the words weren’t coming.
I decided I needed a little writing pick-me-up, so I did something I haven’t done in ages. I combed through my blog “draft” posts, where I sometimes tuck away ideas or half-posts or cute anecdotes I intend to write about later (and then promptly forget about).
I found a pretty good one about three-year-old Ryan insisting he wanted to dress up for Halloween as either a tomato or a “golden rock.” That memory alone made it worth the effort.
Then I found the words below, which I wrote back in November and for some reason didn’t post at the time. All things considered, today feels like the right time to share them.
When I called my mom to tell her that we’d had the gender ultrasound done and that Ryan was, in fact, “Ryan” and not, say, “Anna,” she was on vacation with my father in Disney World.
When I called my mom to tell her that our foster child was a 3-year-old boy arriving home the next day, she was on vacation with my father in Disney World.
Which means there is some kind of beautiful symmetry in the way our family has grown, a connection between our biological child and our foster child that ordinarily wouldn’t exist. A wink from fate, perhaps.
Or else it simply means my parents go to Disney World a LOT.
Either way, I recently asked my family to reflect on the early days with BlueJay. I wanted to know how they remembered those first days and weeks with him, their initial impressions and how – or if – they felt he fit into our family.
I was mostly mining for memories for a “baby book” I am making for him, but what I found was a common thread of love and acceptance that has been vital to us in this journey. I cannot overstate this: It has been crucial. Not just that our families have supported our decision but that they have become so emotionally invested in BlueJay, too.
Here are a few ways my family describes BlueJay:
- “The perfect combination of sweet and spunky.”
- “A loving little boy who wants to please, who wants to belong and fit in.”
- “Completely charming. Can’t forget the charming.”
The fact is that becoming a foster family was a decision Mike and I made together – and alone – but one that impacted everyone who is close to us. I can’t imagine doing this without the support, encouragement and love of those behind us. It takes a village, and ours has stepped up. The best part is that our families are not just going through the motions. They’re not just trying to be supportive or pretending that they agree with the decisions we’ve made. They’ve allowed themselves to fall in love with BlueJay, too.
It is evident in the way they describe him:
“He is totally family. No matter how long he will or will not be with you, he’s family.” -My Mom
“I did not need to have met him to know I would love him. He is part of the family. The first time I was asked how many grandkids I had after he joined the family, I never thought about it nor hesitated to say 5 (instead of 4) – it was natural. He’s my grandson. He is now and always will be a part of this family, no matter what the future holds.” -My Dad
“Regardless of how we came to be lucky to have him in our lives, for short or long-term, he is my nephew.” -My Brother
Our village is pretty amazing.