Bu Sarah Thompson, columnist
Enid News and Eagle
My daughter recently turned 11. For you to understand what an extraordinary accomplishment that is, you must understand how far we have come. You see, my daughter was sent to me.
Maybe I should rephrase that. My daughter was sent to me in a special package. I believe all children are gifts from God. But, most children don’t come to you as a 4-year-old with a snotty nose and dirty shoes. They mostly come as little pink babies all wrinkly and cute.
But God has different methods of delivery. I figure it went something like this. God looked down and saw how things were going and thought maybe I needed some help. So He gave me this crazy idea I should become a foster parent. I had already had a dog and a plant and they both died. I was pretty sure He was mistaken — like you know those movies when cupid’s arrow accidentally hits the wrong person? I thought it must have been something like that.
Yet, in the end, it must have been me, because I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
The day I met her, she was wearing purple sweatpants and her hair was pulled up in two crooked pigtails. She had these big green eyes and when she put her chubby little hand in mine, I knew my life would never be the same.
She is quirky, silly and absolutely nothing like me. She has made my life wonderfully full and has given me a new perspective on life.
The other day we decided to eat at the café for breakfast. She ordered a pancake as big as her plate and put syrup on her eggs. First she provided me with mostly true facts about the presidents. Then she asked me what would happen if she still lived in foster care. I told her that would be really sad, because kids belong in families. Even if that family is a single mom who writes a blog.
I have heard a lot of people comment they could never love a child who was not their own. As I listened to my daughter talk about the presidents with a hot chocolate smear on her cheek, I thought, “Who wouldn’t love her?”
She has a goldfish named Cupcake and she is convinced she can do anything with the right pair of heels. She leaves me notes written in pink with scratch-n-sniff hearts and she always saves me the last bite of her ice cream cone. If I am not with her, she will wrap it in a napkin and stick it in her pocket. And, when she hands it to me all wadded up and sticky, I am reminded of how enormous her heart is.
A few months ago, I had the privilege of watching my friend’s son play baseball. His hat sat crooked on top of his shaggy hair and he struck out every time. It didn’t matter to his parents. The way his mom smiled at him, you would think she was the proudest mom on earth. His dad was there too, taking picture after picture.
Parents love their children regardless. It doesn’t matter if they spend 48 hours in labor, meet them in an orphanage in China or find them in foster care.
If my daughter doesn’t ever get a degree, make the team or get an “A” on her report card, I will still be as proud as ever. When she decides that getting a tattoo is a good choice, I will still be proud. I will probably take pictures of her first tattoo and make a scrapbook page out of it.
All the while, on the inside, I will be bawling like a big baby. Every morning when she leaves for school I tell her to “knock ’em dead” and she does every day. I am so glad I gotcha, princess girl. I love you more than you know. Think the whole tattoo thing over, really hard. Absolutely no dragons, skulls or swords. And, please stay away from mermaids. Acceptable options are Winnie the Pooh and your mother’s name spelled in bubble letters.
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” — James 1:27
For those interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please contact the Bridge Family Resource Center at okbridgefamilies.com or call (800) 376-9729.
Follow Sarah Thompson, who is a social worker in the Enid area, at mysemi-dysfunctionallife.blogspot.com or email her at email@example.com.