Sunday, July 29, 2018

I love you.

He snuggled up to me, and just said it. The words made my whole body jolt, I looked up at him, "what did you say?" He repeated it, "I love you." Just like that my heart was taken captive, tossed to and fro on the waves of love. For 462 days I have whispered, hugged and shouted these very words over him. For those 462 days his response was a simple, "okay."

A response that made me laugh inside, he doesn't do what he doesn't wanna do. Over the years my heart has learned to handle the unintentional punches thrown by hurting kids. This family is built on love, one day at a time we are growing into a family. Our love comes softly and over time, its a sneaky kind of love that shows up in the strangest places. In our home, you don't say words you aren't ready to say, there is no shame. I wait patiently and if it never comes, I will still whisper it over you.

I believe love has the power to heal the deepest wounds, the ability to pierce the darkest places. I have seen that miracle, time and time again. Love is a force unlike any other, I suppose that is why the world fights so hard for it. Love is messy, complicated, painful and beautiful. It shows up, committing day after day even when it is tired and worn out. Love keeps us moving towards health and healing.

Those three words are proof that we have healed and grown. Our two painful goodbyes over this last year, have made our 'hellos' so much sweeter. We have cried together, laughed together and just grown together. His blue eyes, are the wild ocean I sail upon as we navigate the uncharted and unknowns.

Our time together has no timeline set and our future is unclear but this last year and a half, we have known love and been forever changed by it. I am often asked how I can let them go, don't I get attached? People comment on how strong I must be. The heart can do amazing things when you fight to keep it open. I have felt the sucker punch of sorrow, to know love and to lose love is the great paradox of this life.

To love them is worth the risk of it all, their journey of loss is much harder than mine and so I will chose to love them be it a moment, a day or a lifetime. I choose them. #thisisfostercare

Monday, July 2, 2018

Entering In

I ripped open the envelope, knowing exactly what I would find inside. I peeled off the smiley face post it, reading the kind words from the teacher of my class, one of the directors of DHS in our community. I looked it over, studying all the details this was it. Life is full of little moments that shift and change our direction, this was that moment.

At 27, I chose to become a single foster mom, the piece of paper I held made it official. Just months before I had made the decision to say yes and after 30 hours of classes, pages of homework, creating space and bedrooms I was ready. Well, as ready as someone can be for this sort of thing.

Later that night I laid in bed and sobbed, wondering if I actually had what it took to enter in to this calling. A calling for me that came from God, a calling to love the most vulnerable in our city. The orphans, the wounded, the hurting little souls that are our future. I questioned all of it, if I could do this as a single woman. How would I juggle the meetings, visits, school, work, housework and all the things that I filled my days with.

At 27, I often felt like such a child myself just that week I lost my keys and forgot about a meeting that I was leading. They want to give me children, what were they thinking? I was afraid would I be ready to hear their stories, to know their realities? Would I know how to handle the behaviors, can I even parent? What if I fell in love with them and had to say goodbye? The tears flowed as the thoughts consumed me, this was the beginning of letting go, little did I know how much more I would be required to do. 

My heart gently reminded my spiraling brain that this wasn’t about me, but them. That I was called to enter in, to step forward towards them, to say yes to them. I was trained, to help process and heal. I had the coping skills and the network to process anything that was thrown at me. I said ‘yes,’ and I entered in, in to the hurt, the brokenness, the ache, the loss, the stories, the trauma.

Entering in is weighty and costly, but the price we pay fails in comparison to the price they paid, without choice. It looks like long nights and exhausting conversations. It looks like court hearings, family team meetings, biological parents and trauma induced meltdowns.

The call came, there were three of them, siblings ages 7,5 and 3. They had been in foster care over one year, I would be home number five for them in that year. They were hurting and in need of stability. I could provide love and stability that I was confident in. So, the yes came and so did entering in.

I think to that night, four years ago, where I was so unsure of it all. Wondering what advice I would give myself, would I change anything. I wouldn’t because even in the moments of unspeakable pain, I said yes and that process changed me. Rarely are we ready for the road ahead, but if we say ‘yes’ and enter in, embracing the teaching as it comes through experience, our lives will be filled with purpose and we will be brave.