Monday, June 11, 2018

The Imprint

The ache of foster care is real, the longing, the brokenness, the hellos and goodbyes. Realities felt by more than just us, the foster parents (families). These Little Ones are no stranger to loss. The biological parents no matter how caught up in their addiction know well the ache that dwells in the silence and sobriety. That ache is what often drives them back to the escape of choice.

The loss that a bio-parent experiences is deep, overwhelming and covered by shame. In moments of sobriety they are confronted with the harsh reality of their choices. Their choices are the very ones they swore they would never make. Their choices have gotten us all here, to this reality. They hate themselves for becoming the very people they swore they never would. They have made their choices and have gotten to here but now that burden is there to bear and it is a heavy one.

As foster parents we are aware of the risk of stepping into this world. We have willingly stepped into this reality, loss and all. Subjecting ourselves and our families to the ache and pain that comes from loving borrowed babies. The moment we must choose to embrace the now and today for the unknowns of tomorrow, our hearts are in jeopardy.

At different moments, with each of my crews, I have crossed some sort of invisible threshold. A threshold where there is no going back, the moment I let my heart be clutched in these little hands. The moment, where it feels like I am beginning the long fall, downhill towards the reality of loving them, whole, with it all. Where the risk is great and loving them is the best thing I can give them, whether they are with me a week or a year.

I am not a big crier and this isn’t my first rodeo, but I have a moment with each of my Little Ones, where I weep over them. When I cry over the reality of our relationship, aching for the things they have known and will never know. My Mama heart breaking for them, not because of them but for them.

The ache that follows me through this life and reality. It is there in the quiet hours just before sleep. There in the early mornings filled with sweet baby snuggles and sunshine. It is there in my days, filled with court hearings, visits and hard phone calls.

The loss of a child felt by foster parents is in its own category, in a way we make the choice. We step into this journey knowing that our time with them is temporary, some people would even say we know what we got ourselves into. Every once in awhile what was a temporary time frame becomes forever. However, until that occurs loving a borrowed baby takes a balancing act of love and loss. A willful choice to press in, we know some people will come into our lives and some will go, no matter how much we pray and will them to stay. It is in that balance that we dwell, knowing the greatest gift we can offer is our heart.

The imprint of us on their souls and them on us, is what changes the world. No moment or act of kindness or love goes by wasted. Those moments are the very threads that weave our souls together, healing and transforming us into the very souls we were created to be.

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