Today I was cleaning out that drawer in the kitchen…you know the one…nail clippers, matches, pennies, cork screw, paper clips, chalk, buttons, receipts,stamps & bits of paper. I came across a piece of paper with dates and tallies on it. A very important piece of paper. The final count was 1,220. Hmmmm….I knew what it was & I knew what it meant, but I want to keep you guessing. Those tallies could represent sleepless nights, tears, anxious moments, hugs, prayers, arguments, court appearances & good byes. Or maybe I made a hash mark for every hello, broken promise, doctor appointment, parental visit, kiss, or court delay. A tally for each book read, each butterfly kiss, each game of ring around the rosie? It actually is a count of days that included all of those. The final count was 1,220 days that my daughter spent in foster care. She had been alive approximately 2,016 days on the day we adopted her. There is something terribly wrong with a system that does this to children. However, we are no longer making tallies….she’s been ours legally for about 1,581 days and counting. Though the journey began and ended in different places than we expected, we are so blessed that we get to be her forever family. Together We Rise is an organization that frequently publishes pictures of kids & their final foster count. I wish there was a way we could all work together to make those numbers smaller. My thoughts and prayers go with all foster families who are still keeping track!