It is one year since our beautiful, feisty, independent, loving, youngest daughter came to join our family full time.
One year on Little Legs is absolutely settled into our family. She has three big sisters and a Mummy and a Daddy. She has her own bedroom, a favourite bedtime routine, her own chair at the table (a big chair, not a high chair any more), a range of pets and her own bit of garden to dig up, get muddy in, play with and where she can generally make a mess.
One year on we are introducing her foster family back into direct contact with Little Legs. They have had to work through a huge loss over the last year, having rightly allowed us to take centre stage in Little Legs’ life, whilst grieving the loss of their beautiful girl.
They raised her as one of their own for over three years of her life.
They were the ones to comfort her, to nourish her, to laugh with her during her early years.
They saw the big milestones: her first smile, her first solid food, her first tooth, her first word, her first full night’s sleep, her first crawl, her first steps.
They moulded her little character into the delightful, fun loving, always singing, giggly little girl she is today.
They pushed for assessments of her delays and carried out the necessary therapies that have got her to where she is today.
They have the memories of those first years, when she was such an integral part of their family.
But they have gifted so many of those memories to us.
This week we received the most beautifully put together Life Story Book from her foster family, detailing her life with them, containing photos of their core family and a handful of significant others who were in her life. The choice of photographs is perfect; the wording of the text is thoughtful and gives a huge nod to us: the first photo of her after she came home to them from hospital; the photo of her with chickenpox details the date she had it; a hand and foot print from when she was three months old; the last photo they took of her in their house exactly one year ago.
They have given us a legacy that will help us to enable Little Legs to make sense of her early life, to find her place in our family, as well as retain the links with their family.
What this extended family will look like in the coming months and years is unknown at this stage. But after a bumpy first day of introductions just over a year ago, when Little Legs’ foster Mum made her feelings clear to us, we may have hit the start of a sweet spot in finding a balance between all of our needs and what we feel is best for Little Legs.
And so today, we will hopefully be Skypeing with them for the first time. When we made the arrangements, the date had escaped my notice. Today was a just good fit for both them and us. I pray that it will be the start of a good relationship that allows Little Legs to gain the maximum joy from both of her families. That will enable us to help Little Legs when she also has to add in making sense of birth family relationships in the coming weeks, months and years.
But for today, we celebrate our Family of Six being one year old.