My two year old foster son gave me a giant hug this past weekend. I was frying pancakes, and he just came up and threw his pudgy little arms around my equally pudgy waist.
Seems rather typical doesn't it? I mean two year olds are known for being spontaneous aren't they?
But this hug was different, and I cried a little when I thought about it later that night.
When children come into foster care they come with baggage. At the very least they have experienced being taken away from all that was safe and familiar.
As a foster parent it's easy to get discouraged because you love them and pour yourself into them, and sometimes see very little progress or improvement on the part of the child.
This particular little guy would hug you if you asked him to. He would randomly hug complete strangers, but he never ever hugged my husband or I unless we asked him to.
He had several different homes before he came to live with us. He would get close to the people that cared for him, and then he would get ripped away.
As a result he figured it's safer to not get close to whoever happens to be calling themselves "mommy" in his life. If you don't care---you can't get hurt.
It's heart-breaking to think about a tiny little guy having to experience so much loss.
If someone had been looking through our window that morning. They would have seen a slightly frazzled mother fixing pancakes for breakfast, and a cute little boy throwing his arms around her.
They might have wondered why the mother's eyes got a little misty over a hug---I mean there are four children in her house--one hug shouldn't make that much difference.
But, they would be wrong.
That one hug made all the difference in the world!