it’s worth it

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yesterday, I dropped off Sweet M for a visit with her mom, then we drove across town to a park where we spent an hour or so with Baby D. It’s been around four months since we’ve seen him. I know his family shows him our pictures and talks about us still. I knew we wouldn’t be complete strangers, but I didn’t really expect that he would remember us. Yet he did.

IMG_1611We came in two vehicles since Wendell was coming over just for his lunch break, so the kids and I arrived and got our reintroductions out of the way first. When Baby D, who is very much NOT a baby anymore, heard Wendell’s voice as he got out of the truck a while later, his little face perked up and his eyes sparkled. If there were ever any doubt whom he loved best (there wasn’t), this erased all question. The whole visit was sweet and too short, and boy, do we miss that little guy. The opportunity to see him again is just such a blessing. The benefits to ongoing relationships in the foster care system are numerous, and the value of letting a child you cared for know that you’re still around, that you didn’t abandon him, that you are on his side for his future is inestimable. It’s worth the pain of saying goodbye to a child you loved as your own.

When we drove off from the park, the kids were emotional, and I told them how proud I was of them. How what they did and continue to do is so very important. There aren’t many kids out there who are doing the kind of hard things that those four children in the back of my van do, and I’d be willing to bet there are even fewer who are doing them with the kind of grace and compassion and full-out commitment that my children exhibit. (well, for the most part. they are still normal kids, so grace and compassion are apparently mostly reserved for others, not their parents and permanent siblings) I am honored to be their mama, and I am humbled by their sacrificial spirits.

We left that park with an equal combination of joy and sadness, knowing that that sacred moment makes this whole foster care thing worth it. Then we drove across town to pick Sweet M up, her story yet being told, what’s happening in her life and in her family yet to be determined. Will it feel ‘worth it’ for her? Even if we don’t leave her case with these same bittersweet feelings of having done meaningful work, does that make it any less important? That part is still unwritten. I’m hanging on to this moment with Baby D with everything I have – it’s what I needed to keep moving forward.

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