Foster Dad 21: Want the World to Know

Dear Peanut,

Two years ago on this day, July 30, you came into our lives and a new story began. You are now two years and ten days old. It started with a call from our foster agency that told us there was a little boy in the hospital looking for a loving mom and dad. We said yes and drove to the hospital within an hour. Your mama went into the NICU to meet you while I waited outside with our other foster son, like an expectant dad in a waiting room. I waited for an hour and a half before I got to see you. You looked like a peanut, hence your nickname. The first word I used to describe you was, “spirited.” When you were sad, it was dramatic. When you were happy, you were exuberant. When you were excited, you were passionate. Spirited. You didn’t sleep or eat well for the first six months. We worked hard at creating a safe, warm, and creative environment for you so you could rest and feel confident in exploring your world. I wanted you to know you were loved by your mama and dada, yes, but through us also by God.  So many people love you, including your Jei Jei. I wanted you to have the freedom and desire to be curious, to explore, experiment, and enjoy the things in creation and culture. So throughout the first two years of your life, we regularly took you to the L.A. zoo, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and The Huntington Library. You explored the world of nature and art. At 20 months old, you could recognize a statue from going to The Huntington Library, and say, “Sta-ue,” or a painting and say, “Awtwok.” You could point out a gazebo and say, “a-ebo.” You can experience something wonderful and say, “Beau-iful.” We introduced you to music in the park, at festivals, through videos, at church services, and by singing with you. You’ve watched bears with us in Alaska, played at the beaches in Maui, and been to geeky comic conventions.  You’ve ridden a horse in Arizona and you’ve ridden a favorite train in the mall. As of a month ago, you love going to Disneyland where you enjoy the rides and the musical shows. It’s really funny to see you amazed. Rarely do we see you in complete silence. But when you watch a show that has music and dancing, you are silent and motionless. You hardly blink. You love to sing and dance. Some mornings, you get up from bed and want me to dance with you. You learn my corky moves very well. You’ve learned to “pray, pray” before meals and to have your nightly prayers with Mama before bedtime. I am thrilled to introduce you to this world, though it can be a tough world. I want to shield you from the ugliness, some of which is in me, but I know I can’t shield you forever. I can show you that there is also tremendous beauty in this world by God’s grace and how you can deal with the ugliness.

You discovered a lot by age 2 and 10 days. You can sing most of the ABC song, the classic version and the Usher version!  You can count to 14. You know at least ten colors. You know all the Avenger characters. You’re obsessed with Superman and Spiderman. You like pretending to be Superman, having me fly you through the air while you extend your arms straight out. You even toot the theme song! You’re great at using your imagination. You like to wrestle me on the bed, jump on top of me on the bed, and push me off the bed so you can roll off the bed and land on me. You like to hug other kids you just meet, maybe because we’re always hugging and kissing you. Your favorite movie is Frozen, which is the only movie you’ve seen. You get excited at Disneyland when we say we’re going to see Elsa. Don’t worry. It’s totally fine for boys to like Elsa. You like Mickey and Goofy. You spontaneously dance, like you have music in your heart. You like doing things together – Play-Doh, Legos, playing with blocks or trains, dancing, singing, drawing, painting, reading (especially pop-up books), and reading from your children’s Bible. Your favorite go-to story is David and Goliath. You really, really love bubbles, watching bubbles, blowing bubbles, making bubbles… You are a very picky and peculiar eater. Your favorite foods are spaghetti, pizza, hot dog, spam, chicken, egg, fries, sashimi, edamame, and most things with soup or sauce. You hate vegetables, and will pick them out no matter how small they are. I mince the vegetables finely to blend it into the sauce to “trick” you into eating your greens! You skipped the baby food stage. And milk is your absolute comfort food. You really don’t like going to bed. You fight it every night and it drives your mama nuts, because it will take her up to 2 hours to get you to sleep. But it’s because you don’t want the day to end. You want to play and live! Your tantrums are apocalyptically terrible! We’re teaching you about calmness and peace, and you’re learning about limits and patience.  You’re getting there.

One day you will read this. And it may be at a time when you question whether you’re really our son and if we’re really your mom and dad. I understand if you have to wrestle with this. You’re not our biological son. We didn’t start off that way. You being born was a miracle in itself. God knit your soul and body and brought you into this world. Never doubt the miracle you are. Then God sovereignly placed you into our lives. Though biology does not connect us, our love united us. The love between a parent and child is unbreakable. I can’t love you anymore than I have and do right now. Even if you had my biology, it wouldn’t change a thing. I can’t tell you how much it melts my heart to see you love your mama and me. Now, we’re looking towards formally adopting you. But that’s just paperwork. Because your mama and I adopted you in our hearts and into our lives a long, long time ago. You can be sure that you were never without a family. Some stories begin differently, but they’re really great stories.

I can’t express to you how proud I am of the beautiful, little boy you’re becoming. I can’t express to you how excited I am about the man you will become. I can’t express to you how deeply honored I am to be your father. And I want the world to know it.  – Love, DaDa

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