Monday, July 14, 2014

The Journey of the Bag, the Boy, and Beyond

The baby boy was just under 4 weeks old when we picked him up from a doctor's appointment and brought him home.  It would be another day or two before a caseworker was assigned to the little guy.  By the time the caseworker visited, we had already bought diapers, wipes, formula, a diaper bag, and other essentials.  The baby's birth parents had sent two tubs of clothes--enough to keep him clothed for quite a while.

When the caseworker brought a backpack full of items for him, I was very appreciative.  I also felt a little guilty; surely, there was some other baby boy who needed the clothes, baby wash, diapers & wipes so much more than we did.  Although we didn't know where the journey with our new foster son would take us, we did know it was a longterm placement.  So, no one but us would ever need to have all those supplies for him.

I set the backpack in the bedroom and waited to use the items.  But, I continued to look through the bag and couldn't believe how much had been given to our little boy.  A few weeks later, I made a decision--I gave the bag back to our caseworker, and told her to have the agency save it for another newborn.  And that everything was in the bag except for one thing:

I kept the blanket.

It was clear someone had made the blanket.  And, it seemed important to keep the gift that represented both the beginning of his foster care journey and the path still yet to come.

Today, that boy is a spirited yet sweet 2-year old.  We adopted him 8 months ago and can't imagine life without him.

But something else has happened over the past 2 years--I have allowed God to soften my heart and stir a passion within me for the foster care community.  And my own journey led me to a wonderful website and precious organization:  The Forgotten Initiative.  In my "blind" search, I was led to a national organization whose main headquarters is in my own back yard.  One of their key areas of ministry?  Providing Journey Bags to local agencies.  And the agencies give these bags to every child entering foster care!

I don't know what the future holds--but I can't ignore the way God orchestrated Charlie's arrival to our home, the deeper stirring within my heart, and the way a simple bag has brought me full circle to a ministry that exemplifies the importance of providing hope and love to every child.

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