Before I get into this post just a reminder that we are trying to help Madison at Madison’s Adventures finish her fundraising to meet her own Brooklyn! You can read her story and donate here:

babywithpuppy_markedFive years ago a little boy stormed into my life and changed everything. He wasn’t even born yet and he was writing his own agenda; charting his own course. There’s a due date? That doesn’t work for me, I’ll arrive when I’m ready… or when you evict me because I fell asleep and forgot to leave. I’m supposed to grow how fast and on what curve? Throw that out the window! Oh, you think you have when I’ll walk and talk scheduled? Well I’ll tell you what I think of that… When I dang well feel like it!

And that’s been how J-Bear does J-Bear his entire life so far.

dynamicduo_markedHe has worked so hard in the past year. He met his best friend Brooklyn last October and formed a unique and immediate bond with her. Brooklyn had an atypical 4 Paws story. She never had a traditional foster, only prison. She was considered feisty and stubborn. She is 70lbs of sass, silly and most of all love. She could not have been better matched to her boy and we miss her incredibly while she’s back at 4 Paws training.

The day Brooklyn came home, life changed. The entire world we knew shifted and it shifted for the better. J has grown such confidence in himself. He initiates conversations with new children and occasionally adults. He says “hi!” and even looks after people who seem to need help, displaying an intense and deep sense of empathy for those around him. He helps those smaller than him, studies those bigger than him and accepts each person exactly as they are. It is an unfettered, joyful and amazing way of looking at the world, one I hope lasts for a very long time.

selfie_markedHe has braved doctor visits, receiving glasses and even getting x-rays. He has talked on the phone, learned to work a computer at school and made true friends. There is no one apart from the station itself that knows Nick Jr’s lineup better than J, nor does another soul likely know the name of all the characters as well as him. It’s kind of scary the knowledge he retains… Scary and impressive.

This little boy who started out as a sweet, snuggly, smiling baby has grown into a rambunctious, loving and caring boy. Today, he chose a special new stuffie for himself that looks just like his beloved Brooklyn. He picked out a bed, a leash, a collar and a bowl for her too. The moment we were in the car, he was cuddling her and said “Brookie sick”. I asked what was wrong. He answered “Brookie belly”….

firsthaircut_markedNothing is missed. Nothing is overlooked by him. He listens and understands everything around him, filing it away for when the knowledge may be useful. He understands Brooklyn’s being away better than others may expect. He even surprised me with his depth of understanding as until today, he’s not said anything directly about it outside asking for her. It reinforces that I will never stop explaining things to him with care and reason, never dumbing things down or withholding his chance to take in the knowledge.

He knows. He’s so smart, so sweet, so amazing. I cannot believe this is my little boy and I’ll thank God every day for the gift of having such a blessing in my life.

Here’s to the first five years. Let’s see what the future holds from here.