The foster parents are aged 40
Parents of girls ages 9 and 7
Almost a year ago, Summit came to offer us a match. They said he suffered neglect and was exposed to indirect violence due to parental conflict. Three years old, not speaking, not weaned, and, in the course of examination, discovered to have emotional problems as well as borderline intelligence. I got scared. My husband said, You wanted to give a home to a child without one. Here's a child without a home. What's the dilemma? Then we talked to the emergency foster family he'd been assigned to and realized that he was the one. Our nine-year-old (then eight) was excited and drew him a rainbow with a greeting for the room, writing that she knew it would be hard for him, but that she believes in him.
The seven-year-old (then six) said she intended to be jealous. And she was. At least at first, one adopted him and functioned almost like a second mother, and the other rejected him and protested in tears at any attention she lost to him. After a few months it changed, then changed again, and then balanced out and seemed so normal and natural that we couldn't believe it. How was it for us? Mostly we were very lucky. A child really isn't something that can be summarized in words on a page, but it's clear that he was meant for us and that we were meant for him. We got a child full of natural joy, constantly happy, very intelligent, incredibly adaptable and most of all kind, warm and radiant, the kind that everybody instantly falls in love with.
Weaning occurred with amazing speed and his nightly sleep very quickly became uninterrupted, and generally in any developmental area where there had been a gap, we were blown away by the pace of his learning and development, and felt at ease. We both worked very hard for it every day, taking small, unhurried steps. All the daily routines, from food to bathing to sleeping, required creative thinking, mediation, gradual exposure and lots of acceptance.
After the initial adjustment, just when it was certain that he felt completely safe, came the tantrums, which were longer and more intense than anything we knew, and we were often helpless. The girls actually helped him many times and sometimes helped us understand him. What's been clear to us every day and continues to be clear in each and every moment is that no matter how difficult it is, it's still worth it. This boy brought so much light into our home, so much joy and love.
This love is both similar and different from the love for our natural children. Our son will soon be four years old, and it's possible that one day he'll no longer be ours, but the privilege we have of giving him the confidence to grow, the lessons he teaches us and the benefit to our daughters – lessons in empathy, generosity, conflict resolution and cooperation – fill our hearts. Today, this beloved child is a full part of our family. We tend to host a lot, meet up with large numbers of friends, travel to many places, sleep often in nature and always make sure to eat dinner as a family. He's with us in everything, goes along with all our family customs and feels wholly a part of it. In less than two weeks he's coming with us on our family vacation to Greece and for Passover we already bought us all tickets to Thailand. All the best to us. 😊