To my sweet girl:

Today marks two years since you entered our home and our family. In a few weeks we’ll celebrate your birthday, in a few months we’ll finalize your adoption, but this date will always hold the highest place in my heart.

Mothers talk about the moment they saw their first baby, and the special bond they share with that child who made them “mom.”  Well, that’s what I share with you as my first foster child. I love you for who you are, but I also love you for what you’ve given me. You made me a foster mom. And you made it so easy to be one, to love you, that I’ve become one again and again.

When you came into our home, neither of us knew what to expect. We were each other’s first “placement.” You had never known another mother, and I had never cared for a child I hadn’t first carried.

I had never known a baby to be so afraid, never seen a child so young fight not to be. It was days before I knew you could smile. Your teary eyes and tight-lipped half smile are all I can picture from your first days and all the pictures from those first days show. It was days before I knew you could crawl. You sat glued to one spot, figuring out your new surroundings after knowing nothing but the playpen you’d spent all your time in before. I would soon realize all of the things you “should have” been doing and couldn’t, and we worked together to accomplish those things. During your first year in our home, you achieved and overcame so very much.

Every couple of months over the past two years, I have marveled at who you’re becoming, at how much you’ve grown. I’ve seen you overcome your fears and insecurities, seen you press into people rather than away from them, seen you progress and grow. I keep thinking you’ve “arrived” only to see you come even further. You continually amaze me.

A couple of months ago a judge took away your biological mother’s rights and you had your last visit with her, said goodbye to her. I cried for you and cried for your mom and cried for the loss all around, but then dried my tears and assumed life would go on as usual. It hasn’t.

After watching you slowly progress over months and years, I saw you become a different child within a week. In a short time I’ve seen the residue of your past neglect, which I thought would cling forever, wash away. In a short time I’ve come to know your new outgoing and brave and spunky self. In a short time you’ve become someone I never expected you to be.

I’ve been celebrating all of this, celebrating you, and then a week ago, it happened.

You climbed on my lap, you kissed me, and you told me that you loved me. You had never done that before. You were never comfortable with it before, and I never wanted to make you uncomfortable. But you finally did it. I returned the kiss and repeated the words, as I had so many times before. But this time I had tears in my eyes.

So, here on this anniversary, and every other day, I want you to know a couple of things. I will always have room on my lap for you. I will always have a kiss held for you. And I will always, always love you.

Love, Mommy

Jamie C

Jamie is a bio mom to two kiddos, foster/”definitely-for- now-maybe- forever”/pre-adoptive mom to two littles, and short-term foster mom to whichever baby needs a home this week. The 4+ kids in and out of her home make for some light-heart musings and some heavier broodings on her blog and as a contributor for the Huffington Post.