Avi came into care at 10 months old. He and his mother had been living on the streets. He was a very sick little boy. By the time he came to my home at 2 years old, he had been to so many homes and with so many different people, that he had no understanding of stranger awareness. He would wander off with anyone who spoke to him and often didn’t understand why strangers were hesitant to pick him up. He didn’t understand what a family was at all. I had to be hyper vigilant to make sure he didn’t disappear on me when we went somewhere.
A month before he moved to our home, he met his biological older brother. The boys had never known about each other. When he came to my home, his brother came as well and we started the process of explaining to a 2 and 4 year old what family is.
Two weeks after Avi came to us, he turned 3. He had a big birthday party and I remember him being so confused about what was going on. I will never forget the moment we gathered around to sing happy birthday and his face lit up with a smile. He still didn’t understand what a birthday was, but he was so excited to be the center of attention. The happiness in his eyes still brings me to tears.
Avi’s journey hasn’t been easy. He has had many obstacles to overcome. He still has food issues and probably will his entire life. He doesn’t consciously remember starving, but his little baby brain does. I have to reassure him that we will eat food every day and he will always have some.
We are constantly learning new ways to help Avi cope with the world around him. He has come so very far since we got him, but he has issues that he will always struggle with. It’s incredibly hard as a mother to watch your child struggle to be at peace in his own skin. But despite all his hardships, he is in love with the world around him.
Avi and his brother Levi were adopted in August of 2016. He now knows what family means and he is quick to tell everyone that I am his Mommy forever and ever. He has a huge community of family and friends who love him fiercely.
Today Avi is a precocious 6 year old. He is always singing and smiling and loves to be around people. His smile can light up a room and he is a joy to those around him. His smiles mean everything to me.
I knew that the decision to become a foster parent would test me in ways I didn’t know yet. I will honestly say that Avi has tested me to my very limits. I thought there were days I would break, but to see his smile and see his eyes light up I would break over and over again. This is the most difficult thing that I have ever done and also the most rewarding. I thank God every day that he chose me to be Avi’s mommy.
-Kori Strange, Caleb’s Closet President