Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oh, How Far We've Come

I felt so much gratitude this morning in what might seem to be such a normal, routine event.  Our little foster boy was sitting, reclined on my lap drinking his first sippy cup of formula of the day.  We recently switched to a new spout and he was intrigued.  He'd take a few gulps, stop and breath due to a stuffy nose, look at the new spout and grin at it, then latch on for another few gulps.  Smiling at his milk is HUGE for this little guy and in that moment I was overwhelmed with how far we've come.

Almost 16 months ago, at about two in the afternoon, I received a call from social services.  There was a preemie baby boy in the hospital, ready for discharge who needed a home.  He was not eating well on his own so he had a gastronomy tube placed in his little tummy a few days before.  "We need you to get him well," is what the social worker said.

In the days and weeks and months that followed, we spent countless hours trying to encourage this little guy to eat.  He did not like his bottle at all- sometimes even putting himself to sleep (a defense mechanism) to avoid it- waking himself up minutes later after the bottle was put away.  So most of his formula went in via the feeding tube.  It took an hour.  Every three hours.  Even through the night.

It took months and months for me to release control of his eating.  I wanted to make him well. Right then.  It was not in his timing, however, so we had to learn patience and to let him lead.  Slowly (painfully slowly) he began to eat more and more- often in increments of milliliters.  Later than normal (due to his issues), we introduced solids and that went slowly as well (he easily gagged and choked).  It seemed as if we'd never "get him well".

Fast forward to today.  Not only is he smiling at his sippy cup, he rarely gags on his solids anymore.  In six days, we've been given permission by his specialist to stop the night-time tube feeds (we were able to drop the day-time feeds months ago).  If he does well and maintains (and gains) weight, we could be looking at removing the g-tube for good.  Tears come at the thought.

So my thankfulness overflows.  Not just from the fact that he's made such strides but in remembering all the people who've helped us- making it possible for us to take care of him.  I think of all the meals our church and close friends brought to us. I think of neighbors who came and held him daily so I could take a shower or do some laundry.  I think of other friends who drove us to the children's hospital weekly for months because I was worried that I was too sleep-deprived to stay awake behind the wheel.  I think of those who watched and cared for our three kids while I went to SO many doctors appointments and family visits.  I think of his home health nurse who came every week to check on him and encourage us.  I think of our two doctor friends who made house calls or let us run him over to their home when we had more urgent questions and concerns.  And all the prayers- so many people prayed for us.

Not everyone is called to foster but those of us who are can't do it alone.  Today I thank God for His protection, guidance and healing.  And I thank Him for prompting the hearts and minds of our friends and family who reached out to lend a hand, an ear and loving arms.

To God be the glory.


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9 comments:

  1. The image of the flower is the perfect metaphor here - some blooms are open and you guys are the sunshine nurturing more to open. We love you!

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  2. All of the people who so willingly help you are wonderful, but you are the one who is at the center of this little guy's universe. Bless you a thousand times over!

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  3. Awwww....I loved reading this post. He is very blessed to have you!

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  4. I feel blessed by what you have shared today. Sometimes I get so caught up in how overwhelmed I'm feeling when I think of all that needs to be done around the house and yard. I've had to let go of getting these things done because I'm homeschooling my grandson. When I read your post this morning and realized that it's been 16 months since you've brought this little guy into your life, and all that you and your family have sacrificed and given to this precious one, well it makes me tear up! You are a blessing to him, and a blessing to me, as I needed reminding of what the most valuable thing in my life IS my grandson. Dear Lord , I thank you for this reminder this morning, and I pray for the continued strength and love for this precious son, and his foster mama.

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  5. Awww...such a sweet story that allows one to picture in their mind a family that is doing it 'as to the Lord'. Also a reminder of so many children born in this earth that need care and love. Awesome foster mother you are! God bless you and your family for being there for that baby boy. Your commitment is wonderful. God reward you for the work you do.

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  6. bless you, dear lady, for following God's call and telling us the story. Do you know the song "Nothing is lost on the breath of God"? I think of all your and others' small actions of love for this boy and know that it is tipping the balance of the universe towards love and God.

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    1. I LOVE that song. It makes me cry (with thanks) every time we sing it in church. :-)

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