A phone call. A request that would go against everything they had decided as a foster family. A challenge to step out of their comfort zone. To go against their fears.
Could they do it? Disrupt the birth order in their family? Take in a child older than all their others?
From the minute the call came in, their hearts were stirred for this child. Even though on paper all the hesitations and concerns still looked just as strong. Even though there were many more questions than answers. Even though the fears definitely out-weighed the hopes. The answer was ‘yes.’ Yes.
They were so nervous. They had no clue what to do or what was going to happen. How would they handle this newest rocking of their world? Looking at each of the other children’s precious faces and wondering how this would impact them. Hurt? Growth? There was no way to know.
And then the newest addition walked in the door.
And all the fear fled from their hearts.
God graciously allowed them to see the precious, broken, terrified child even though their hearts were full of fears.
They saw a child standing before them trying so very hard to be brave. Refusing to let the tears fall from their positions pooled in his eyes. Soberly taking in their words with subtle nods of the head. Cautiously following on the tour of the house.
By the end of the week, there was a much fuller picture of the task that was before them. Primarily as related to school. That hurting child had missed 30 days of the first semester. Most of the grades were failing. And the school was currently only permitting half day attendance due to defiant, belligerent behavior.
This was a direct result of a child being left to raise themselves. It wasn’t working well.
Add all of this to the trauma and chaos of an older child pulled from family, friends, neighborhood, etc. and placed into a new family with new rules, expectations, people, and relationships.
This was hard.
The battle began. Many days there was progress. Many days it felt like there was no way this battle could ever be won.
But today. After 136 days. Today there was another phone call. This time from a social worker within the school. One who had faithfully advocated for and stuck with this child. Even when the days and weeks were so hard.
The year was over. Over and officially ending with A’s, B’s, and one C.
And. This child. This child who simply couldn’t be managed at school only 136 days previously. This child was one of only four who received an award of excellence in reading.
The phone was hung up. The tears began to flow. The journey is so hard. There are so many days when the feeling of drowning in the overwhelming struggle is so very real. Days, weeks, when it seems as if the family will not fully survive this struggle.
But faithful service does reap rewards. And today, those rewards came in the form of a child who (as described by the social worker) was “on cloud nine, hugging and thanking all the teachers for helping so much this year.”