The gate clangs open and my foster mother receives me with open arms and welcomes me into the home. She tells me I am safe here, but I cannot believe her because I have learned that adults are not trustworthy.
I keep my distance and wrap my arms tightly around my body in an outward expression of the walls I have constructed to try and keep myself safe. She shows me the house and explains the ways that she will keep me safe. She gives me food, a warm shower, new clothes and shoes. She sits with me and gently combs the lice from my hair.
She tells me and shows me that I am precious despite my angry words and actions. Somedays I try to push her away but she never leaves. She tells me God knows my name, that He loves me, and that He has a good plan for me. During the day, I work to learn to write my name or add small sums. I participate in art and other therapeutic activities as I process my trauma and pain. Each night I sleep in a warm and comfortable bed; this is the first bed I have ever had and it is beautiful to me.
Everyday promises are kept, pain and fear are released, and I begin to know for the first time the unconditional love and sense of belonging to a family. At first, the soil of my heart was dry and packed, nothing could grow there, but during my time here seeds have begun to take root and tender shoots of faith and hope are beginning to emerge.