It has been 3 months since my son Zachary was taken from me. Most people would not even consider him my son, but I do. As many of you may already know, Charles and I are foster parents, we care for children whose parents can’t take care of them.
Zachary was born August 15, 2006. His mother could not care for him, so when Zach was three days old, the Department of Social Services brought him from the hospital to us. He was dressed in a tiny little paper hospital gown, and when I took him into my arms, he opened his eyes and smiled. We cared for him as if he had been born to us. We named him Zachary Wayde. Wayde in memory of Charles’ grandfather Wayne and his cousin Wade, and Zachary because it means “the Lord remembers.”
He was a beautiful little boy. There was something so special in his smile. He was so happy. I loved the sound of his laughter. The floor in our house is wood, and I remember when he began to crawl, I could hear his little hands slapping against the floor as he crawled behind me, following me wherever I went. I loved that sound too. He lived in our home for eight months.
A relative of his decided that they wanted custody of him. The court date was set for Thursday, April 5th. In the weeks leading up to that day, I begged God not to take Zach. I spent hours reading my Bible, looking for some kind of promise that would indicate that I wouldn’t lose Zach. I didn’t find that promise. Instead, I found promise after promise that God would remember me. As I begged God to spare me this pain, I heard him saying “I will provide.”
In Genesis 22:2, God said to Abraham, “take your only son Isaac, whom you love…and sacrifice him as a burnt offering.” I had heard this story many times, but had never really understood. I still can’t imagine leading my son up a mountain knowing that at the top I would lay him on an altar and sacrifice him. And yet, as I prayed, I could feel God asking me to that very thing. He told me to take my precious baby Zachary, whom I love, and to lay him in God’s arms, to give Zach to Him. So, I did. Well, at least for a few minutes. Then I would realize that I was holding onto him again, desperate not to lose him, and I would pray and try to lay him back in God’s arms. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.
But Abraham’s story doesn’t end there. Abraham did what God asked. He lay Isaac, his only son, on the altar, and prepared to sacrifice him. Just as he was about to, God called out to him and told him to stop. Then He showed Abraham a ram nearby for him to sacrifice instead. Genesis 22:14 says, “So Abraham called the place ‘the Lord will provide.’”
God did not forget about Abraham, He provided for him. God did not forget about me or my little Zachary either. On Thursday April 5, 2007 a judge decided that Zach would go live with his relatives. They came to our home to pick him up. I packed up his clothes and toys. Time felt like it was moving in slow motion, and yet at the same time it was slipping away faster than I could keep up with. I held him on one hip as they watched me hurriedly write out his schedule and special instructions. How do you write down what a mother knows about her son, his likes, his dislikes, what makes him cry, what helps him sleep, everything I had learned about him over the past eight months, everything a mother just intuitively knows without even thinking about it, how do you write that down on one sheet of paper? I carried him outside to their car. As I carried him, I knew the Lord was carrying me. I buckled Zachary into his little carseat. As I wrapped the seatbelt safe around him, God was wrapping His arms safe around me. I kissed him, and as I kissed him, God was kissing me. I whispered to him “I will love you for always” and my tears fell onto his face. At the same time, my Lord was whispering in my ear, “I will love you always,” and His tears were falling as He cried with me. He never forgot me, not for one moment. He did not provide in the way that I had asked, but He hasn’t promised to do that. He did promise that He will never forget me. And He will never forget you. No matter what you are going through, He will carry you, He will wrap His arms around you, He will kiss you, He will whisper to you how much He loves you, He will weep with you and He will never, never forget you.
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