Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Day 18 of #40Days - "Where'd you get that? Morristown?"

It was no April fool's joke.

Our caseworker called needing an emergency placement for a little four-year-old boy on April 1, 1993.

"We're not asking you to take him long term," she said.  "Just for the weekend."

Laken and Daniel, less than a week after his arrival.
Daniel arrived at our house with his clothes and toys in a garbage bag.  He had been removed from his foster home without notice.  There had been a "disruption", so there was not much time.  I don't think he left much stuff behind.  That was probably all he had.

He was wearing a Mickey Mouse hoodie, pulled over his face, and cowboy boots.  He wore those cowboy boots till his toes hung out the front.  And his blue bird stuffed toy; we managed to hang on to it for many years.  But I haven't seen it lately.

Just for the weekend?  No way.  Not for us.  We fell in love with that pudgy face right away.  Monday came and we told his case worker she need not look elsewhere.  He could stay with us.

Our foster training had been for therapeutic placements.  In other words, we had been prepared for foster kids with severe behavior problems.  But this little boy didn't seem to fit.  They call that the honeymoon period.  And we were indeed honeymooning.

He amused us with some of his trademark antics, like "Where'd you get that? Morristown?"  When we asked him what kind of sandwich he liked, he said "Butter-n-jelly."  He meant, we learned, peanut-butter and jelly.  He never rode a bike with training wheels, at least not after he came to us.  Always busy.  Always talking, except when he was on that blasted ADHD medication.

Minutes after Daniel was baptized.
We committed ourselves to Daniel.  He tested us.  But we stood firm.  Over the years, he got in trouble but he was also a very good, loyal and loving member of our family.  He usually speaks his mind, which I like.  You don't have to wonder what he's thinking. 

It wasn't long ago that Daniel recalled for me how we used to go fishing every Saturday with Papaw Tilley, Jill's dad.  Papaw would pick us up at 5:30 AM on Saturdays.  I would wake Daniel around 5:15 AM and help him get dressed while he was still groggy, hardly awake at all.  We'd get to the dam as the sun was about to rise.  Just in time for the fish to "eat breakfast".  Good memories.

Over the years, we've had many highs and lows with Daniel.  And they aren't over.  We still have good days and bad days.  And we love him.

Daniel was our first foster.  He became our first son.  Our very first child. 

Teach your children right from wrong,
and when they are grown they will still do right.
Proverbs 22:6

God bless,

This is day 18 of Forty Days.  Learn more here.

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