It has been exactly a year since our foster daughter (affectionately known as Bean or Little Bean) left our care. It feels like forever and just a few weeks all at once. The last time I blogged was a little after she left. In the year in between I’ve had so much to say, but so much of it wasn’t all mine or I didn’t know how to share it. But a year later, a good therapist, and lots of prayer, I know what I want to say. I know what I want to remember.
I want to remember that time we went to the zoo in our last few weeks with Bean, and we were the only ones in the room with the orangutang. First she and Bean just looked at each other and then the orangutang started making silly faces at Bean; recognizing this cute baby creature and doing what we humans do, making her laugh.
I want to remember when she graduated from the NICU follow up clinic and when her awesome pediatrician said “Congratulations, she is a healthy six month old.”
I want to remember how she’d laugh and laugh when Trent would read his “Hamilton rap version” of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and she’d pay rapt attention as he read it again and again. Or how she would always stop crying listening to him play the piano.
I want to remember how when she was done eating in her high chair she put her hands down over the sides for Wendell to lick clean.
I want to remember how tiny she was in her little swaddle “bean suite” (hence the nickname) and watching her grow bigger and stronger.
I want to remember how much love surrounded us and her. How a friend watched Wendell when we roomed in at the NICU. And the friends who went through their children’s clothes to pass them on to her. And the fellow clergy woman who’d show up on last minute notice if Bean was sick and needed watching during church. Or the friend who watched Bean on days we needed help. And my Boy Scouts who made us so much food when she just arrived.
I want to remember the time my Wednesday Night Bible Study children finished blessing each other, and I thought they’d gone into the gym to play. But when I looked around I saw them all lined up in front of Bean and one by one they made the sign of the cross on her tiny hand and told her “God loves you and you are a blessing.”
I want to remember all the “little” things – how much she loved people watching and how she grew into those pink sunglasses. How she’d hang out at church meeting as long as she could stay with us. I want to remember her laugh and her cute cheeks and how she’d hold on to her giraffe pacifier.
I pray and hope that somewhere deep inside her as she grows she remembers as well. That she might remember how beloved she is by two people she’ll never remember. That she might know that she is resilient and joyful and expressive. And above all else, that God loves her and she is a blessing.