I remember back in the day, when my nieces and nephew were still small and liked to hang out with me, my littlest niece thought that an “Abby” was something everybody had. Her little neighbor friend was going to the movies and Lexi naturally assumed her “abby” was the one taking her. After all, everybody needs an Abby.
I loved being an aunt. I could run to the rescue, do fun things, send unexpected surprises, have sleepovers and fill kids up with sugar and soda. At the most most my responsibility would last 24 hours… at the least, I returned sugar-high kids to their parents with little to no remorse. It was fun to be an Abby!
When children enter our home we always introduce ourselves by our first names. In the past month we’ve seen three new faces come in for a short period of time or possibly longer. Some of them have an understanding of their story and some of them don’t.
No matter what a child has experienced, no matter what they understand, one thing I have found to be true is that each child is created with this need in their heart to know there is a mommy and daddy. We are uniquely created for connection and designed to experience nurture. No amount of trauma can change that…. it only feeds it.
We have a sweet blonde hair, blue-eyed girl with ringlet curls in our family these days. I’m not sure anyone could stand out more in the midst of our dark hair, brown-eyed mix of love around here. This sweet angel has the biggest smile and sweetest spirit… and she calls me mommy.
I never imagined having a blonde little girl, but God did. I sat in the ER late one night, holding her tightly, comforting her fevered body and hoping to calm her anxious heart. We had only known each other a few days, I couldn’t give a lick of health history when the doctors asked, nothing about us looked like family but she called me mommy and that’s all I knew to be. She needed to know she was safe, she was loved and someone was fighting for her.
Our other little ladies don’t take this in stride quite as well as we’d like. I couldn’t help but laugh one day when the little guy in our home asked “where is daddy?” when one of our twins responded without missing a beat, “I don’t know where your daddy is, but mine is right there!”
Oh sweet girls… this is what we have fought for. You don’t even remember the time when you didn’t call us mommy and daddy. We spent countless days, sleepless nights and unending prayers building your security and a sense of normalcy… and we’ll keep doing it. You are so worth it. And so are they.
We’re trying to teach compassion… not focusing on where you came from… but remembering what it might be like to be a stranger in a new home. So when little miss blue eyes calls me mommy… we remember she needs a safe place too… and being mommy to her doesn’t make me less of mommy to you.
It isn’t so easy for a 2-yr-old to understand. Her fighting words are, “no, my mommy!” Even last night when our little neighbor called me Abby, she said, “no, my Abby!” I couldn’t help but laugh, remembering another little girl that though an Abby was a thing to be had.
We’re all learning. We’re all remembering what it was like before and embracing where God has us now. I wish I could speak to our sweet girls with all confidence I will always be your mommy…. but we’re still waiting… we’re still holding on to hope for our forever story.
Please pray with us… for the grace and stamina to stay in the waiting place… to not lose heart. And pray that God will raise up new families to be a safe place for these children to land and know that they are safe, they are worth loving and to have a mommy & / or daddy.
I look in her big blue eyes, meet her smile with one of my own and call her beautiful. If she never hears it anywhere else, I hope she will always remember that she is precious, she is loved and she can always call me mommy.