Tecla shares her family's journey of fostering and the beauty she has discovered
(Two days before our CL summer vacation, Chris called me and asked me to give a witness about the recent changes in our family. It has been a little over three months since we began fostering a child in our home. I gave the witness during the vacation, but I also wanted to write it down and thank Chris who gave me a chance to stop and put together the thoughts that have been in my mind.)
My husband and I have been married for 10 years, with no kids. Last summer we finally got our green cards (as we are both Italian immigrants living in the United States) and we decided to explore options for adopting/fostering a child. We went through a 5-month online orientation from an agency connected to the city of New York for fostering and adopting children in New York State.
I’d like to discuss my experience in 4 brief points:
1. The Annunciation of the Lord, March 25th
On the morning of March 25th this year, after we completed the online training, we received a phone call from the agency telling us that our home was approved to receive a child. I was very happy that this was happening on the day of the Annunciation of the Lord, and to know that Mary was so involved in this new beginning. That day we went together to mass and we asked for a healthy child. I would have never expected that the very same day, at 9:00 pm we would receive a phone call asking us if we would welcome baby Luke, only 6 days old, in our care. Mary was asking us again to say yes on the very same day she said yes to Jesus. It was an unmistakable sign she was with us in that decision. Luke arrived the day after, at 10:00 am in the morning.
Luke joined our family during the season of Lent. Two days after Luke arrived, they told us that perhaps an uncle upstate would be able to take care of him. We did not know at that point if Luke would be with us after Easter. I lived with a special intensity during the Lenten season and especially Holy Week. I thought again about Mary on Calvary on Good Friday. She was asking me again to say yes, and to entrust to God this son, as she did with Jesus. I wanted to love Luke the same way Mary loved Jesus, entrusting every day this child to the Lord, because in this fostering journey it is clear that I cannot decide anything about him. Trying to identify with Mary’s virginity helps me to live in a true way what is happening.
2. Saint Joseph, March 19th
Since Pope Francis decided to dedicate one year to the devotion of Saint Joseph, I started to pray St. Joseph for a son. I have always been attracted to the person of Joseph, and for one year, I prayed him every day with this intention. Luke, our foster son, was born on March 19th this year, Saint Joseph’s feast day. You can imagine my joy when I discovered this. Not only was the Virgin Mary clearly present from the day of the Annunciation, but also Saint Joseph was giving me a clear sign of his presence and his affection for me.
I want to speak about Joseph because just like Mary needed him in her life, so do I need my husband, Bencio, to follow God’s call for our life. I need Bencio to obey God, and the situation we are living is making me very aware of this. I am more grateful for his presence and I desire for him all the gifts God gave Saint Joseph. I want to live with my husband the abundance of life that Joseph lived in his home, welcoming Jesus, in the awareness that through Luke we received from God a great gift and a great responsibility.
The journey of fostering has been very difficult: there are difficulties in dealing with the social workers, with Luke’s birth mom, and with the uncertainty of the future. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I think about these two dates, March 25th and March 19th, and it reassures me that I am not alone because Mary and Joseph took us into their special custody.
When Luke arrived in our family, a friend of ours wrote us the following Gospel passage from Matthew 25: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” I am so lucky, without deserving it, that Jesus is giving me such a big privilege to welcome Him through this baby. Jesus is asking me again to welcome Him in my home, every day, in moments of joy and moments of suffering.
Everything that happens in my life is for this reason: to welcome Christ and to know Him better every day, in this never-ending journey. My desire to be a mom was to lead me to know Christ, to live as He lives, and to lead me to the biggest desire: to be completely filled with the life of Christ, “Christ, life of my life”, as Father Giussani teaches us.
4. This baby deepened the communion between my husband and I, and also between us and our friends
I am thinking about all the friends that helped when Luke very suddenly arrived, bringing baby clothes, supplies, and giving their time to help. We received so many gifts, even from people who had not met Luke, and I think especially of the friends in my fraternity group. Through what is happening, I need for a communion to happen between us, in a practical and in a spiritual way. I need to be accompanied by my friends. Without living in this companionship, it would not have been possible for all the things I mentioned before to happen. Luke is here now for the conversion of me, my family, and my friends.
Tecla, New York, NY