I have a deep passion for all of the children in the foster care system, many of whom are eligible to be adopted. The following paragraphs are the first and last paragraphs from a piece I wrote about a year after we welcomed our son home after surviving the first 20 months of his life. I call it surviving because that's what he did-he wasn't living, he was surviving. And when I saw him start to actually live and enjoy life, I was moved by the simplicity of what ended up being two basic things he needed to rise out of the condition he came to us in and become the spirit he now is.

"It’s amazing what a year of love and food will do for a child. On second thought, is it really amazing? YES. Most people will never think about it or don’t need to think about it. Who wouldn’t love or feed their child? WHO wouldn’t LOVE or FEED their child? So the purpose of this message is not who, why, how, when, where. The simple fact is that it happens. People have babies. Sometimes people have babies and they do not love and care for them the way babies deserve. Sometimes parents don’t feed them. Sometimes they take food from their children and feed themselves. Sometimes they feed their children only crackers and do so for days. It happened and this is that story...

.... After all we had seen and learned about our baby boy, we tried not to dwell on his fading sadness. I love to pick him up and shower him with hugs and kisses; he deserves them. There’s a deep sense of warmth and joy to hug a child who was robbed of this for so long. He now smiles and it’s a smile that can melt your heart. I think about how his beautiful smile was so far from his face a year ago; it makes me think about how much this child missed. In fact, I don’t recall him smiling at all the first week we had him. The first few months there was limited smiling which occurred mostly at bath time or when we took him swimming. He loves the water! The night before he was brought to us, we met him at a park. He had a very empty look on his face and as he slowly and cautiously walked toward the playground toys, he showed no emotion. He was not smiling, was not excited, and didn’t hurry to the toys. My husband stepped up, walked with him, and showed him around the playground. We tried to get a reaction, a smile, anything. Our visit was short and our commitment was deep. We knew that we could love, and would love, these children as deeply as humanly possible. We knew our three children would be wonderful siblings for him (and his little sister :-). They would provide that sisterly and brotherly love that could bring a smile to this deserving boy. I never wondered how long it would take to bring a smile, a normal diet, or feeling of security for him. I had no idea what a year of family love and proper nourishment would do for a child. We loved and he felt. We fed and he ate. We hugged and he hugged back. We read and he listened. We rocked and he slept. We loved and his spirit grew. We loved and he smiled."