Elise Arsenault | Reporter
Little. From her pout to her tushy, every bit of her is little. Her hair is dark and thick and her eyes are ocean-wide. She is weeks old and her teeny fingers have already smeared their prints all over my heart. I know she will not always be ours; one day the sun will rise and she will set into someone else’s car seat. Still, my stubborn affections for her refuse to subside.
This past October, my Mum moved from our home in Oakville, Ontario to the Hamilton mountain. While her decision tends to my need for drive-by hugs and clean laundry, it was made in hopes of easing a greater need: the demand for foster parents in the city of Hamilton.
The Children’s Aid Society application process took about nine months, which is fitting seeing as our first foster child is an infant. For confidentiality reasons, I’ll call her “K.” K came to live with us over the reading break and will be staying until she is either returned to her biological parents or warded to the crown and put up for adoption.
I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me, and yet – seventy-two hours, twenty diaper-changes and two-dozen feedings later – she’s unraveled in me bundles of thought on the preciousness of life and the character of God. Our family venture has only begun: there is still much to be learned, beheld and pondered, but here are some of baby K’s reminders to me thus far.
I need to treat people like they were born babies. It’s a laughable remark, but when I realize how much goes into caring for little ones, and that we were all little once, it makes me want to squeeze everyone’s cheeks and give their ma’ and pa’ a pat on the back! I feel like I’m in on the incredible secret that is the miraculousness of growth. Each soul I meet is one-of-a-kind, and everyone is someone’s everything. How would my interactions change if I thought of them as such? Patience and compassion would surely abound.
A baby’s cry rattles me. Even when I know that someone is with K – that she’s just fussing while being changed – my core will shake at the sound. It’s a tight, binding, adrenaline-inducing feeling and it awakens within me every time. Often it is triggered even before she sounds; when her face scrunches up and her nose-breathing quickens … Cue the maternal reflexes.
If I am so affected by the outcry of this one (who is not even my own), how much more, then, is God attentive to my cry? I barely understood this concept before, and even now I only see in part. All I know is that my first instinct is always to hold her. Even when she cannot verbally articulate this need, I see her and I hear her. With God’s image as our bearing and his eternity on our hearts, there is a yearning to respond. To live is to respond to our surroundings, to Himself, and to each other, and His response to us will forever be absolute love.
There are still mountains of morals to be learned from baby K – these ones are merely mustard seeds. We are the treasured in the palm of the Treasurer, and children held by He whose affections are relentless. We are heard by our Abba, Father; thus our outcries will never be in vain.