Dear Azariah Jackson,
You built a wall. A wall that didn’t easily allow my love to pour in. Things seemed too hard, or maybe everything was just overwhelming. At times, I let your hardness of heart seep over into mine.
(February 5, 2018 – Our first day together.)
I became scared. We both were scared. Scared of how long you would stay. Scared that you would be moved to a different home. Scared that you might go home and not be protected. Scared of the long journey ahead. Foster care can bring those uncertain feelings for everyone involved. If you never attach, the move will not be so difficult.
Due to circumstances that happened before you were placed with us, you had become used to being an independent baby. You did not feel the need to become attached. For a long time, you constantly cried, fussed, whined, choked, gritted your teeth, begged for food 24 hours per day, self-soothed, and the list goes on and on. I felt like a fish out of water because it was so difficult to know how to help you calm down. Learning to attach was too much for you.
Within the first few days, I knew every day life was not going to be easy for you. You had been exposed to too much and endured so much at such a young age! This mama felt a lot of uncertainty because trying to learn exactly how to help you was a challenge! A challenge I gladly accepted, but one I did not exactly know how to navigate for awhile.
The hurt in your eyes and the loudness and stubborness of your squawking noises were a lot to handle as was the constant colicky cry that lasted for months and months nearly 6 hours per day from a baby who was well too old and big for colic. For the longest time, you battled the inability to self regulate. You head banged and had a horrible congested cough due to aspiration. A constant massive amount of drool soaked your shirt.
You wandered off to every adult that came into sight to grab their attention so they could comfort you for just a short moment or two. You quickly ran from that comfort as fast as you could though. Deep down, you did not want comfort from them or me. You did not know what it meant to have a mom and a dad. You had no idea what love truly was or what it meant to be taken care of properly.
I felt like a failure. Many times, I felt like I failed miserably. I was that fish out of water gasping for breath. I became disappointed in myself more than I care to mention. I cried at times because I did not like experiencing frustration. The frustration that comes along with not knowing exactly how to help a child attach. A child who did not understand why it was so important to do so.
However, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, you started to laugh and smile a little. Not much, but a little went a long long way. To this day, Jayla brags that she was the first person to make you laugh.
Your first haircut let all of the cuteness out. Let’s admit it, the cuteness was always there. But, at times, I focused on the fussiness of the whole situation.
It did not take long for your siblings to become attached to you. They wanted to see you happy. Even if everything felt unpredictable, they still loved on you in big ways! (They still do!)
Through the unpredictability, I began to focus on how important the task at hand was. I began to cry out to God and begged Him to help me show you how much we all truly loved you. I pleaded for Him to mold me into the mommy that you so desperately needed. I cannot stand to let my Savior down, so I asked Him to show your dad and me how to parent you in a way that pleased Him. ￼￼
He answered. We have come to terms with the fact that our time together has not always been a walk in the park. But, guess what? You are so worth it. Every whine, cry, and tantrum have been and will always be worth it. God has shown all of us so much grace and mercy over the last 5 years!
Everything all of us have endured is nothing compared to what you went through in the womb and your first almost 11 months of life. Those critical months that are supposed to teach you how to bond were so tainted. The taintedness is clearly not our fault and was completely out of our control, but I still want to a say I am sorry.￼
I am sorry for not being able to be the one to hold you from day one. I am sorry for not getting things right immediately. Sometimes foster mommies just don’t know what to do with all the abuse and neglect that should have never occurred. If I would have had a choice, I would have protected you from the beginning. If I could have protected you, our bonding would have been so different. But we still pray for your first family because we know God is able.
He can take away the hurt and heal the brokenness. He is faithful. Today I thank Him for His mercy and grace. Without those two things, our family would not be where it is today. Each day is a new day. Each hour, minute, and second belong to Him, and He can and will knit hearts together even when the road begins somewhat bumpy.
Thank you for being so patient precious boy. Thanks for letting your wall crumble, so mine could, too. You are so so loved and wanted! And today, 1,877 days later, you were adopted! We will love you forever and always, Azariah Jackson!! I am so thankful for our bond that will never be broken!
Isaiah 40:31 – But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.