Celebrating, Capturing & Remembering Life's Special moments
I've been hearing this song on the radio lately entitled "What it Means to be Loved" by Mark Schultz and it has given words to some ideas that have been deep in my heart about foster care. The chorus of the song is as follows:
"I wanna give her the world I wanna be her dad I wanna hold her close for as long as I can and I wanna live every moment until that day comes I wanna show her what it means to be loved" - Mark Schultz
Honestly, the part that scares me the most about foster care, is that by nature it implies that the kids WILL leave. The general statistic we were given in training is that 80% of kids go back home or to relatives. I know I will grow to love the children that enter our home, in many ways I love them so much already (if that makes any sense).
With that same knowledge I know we will be heartbroken. We will love deeply, get attached, let kids into our hearts, and then it IS going to hurt. I'm pretty certain this will be THE hardest part of foster parenting.
This is also one area where my growing up as a missionary kid will come in handy. I have gotten used to the loving and moving on and reflected quite a bit on it.  I will need to remember old lessons learned.

When I was a teenager during one especially hard move I had a deep mental discussion with myself. My family was returning to America for one year during my junior year. It was only going to be one year, and then I knew we would be going back to the Dominican Republic where I had developed some close friends and fallen in love with the culture.
My first inclination was to tell myself, "just lay low during the year, get by, survive, don't get close to people and the year will be done before you know it". Then this novel idea popped into my head. What if deciding to live life for all it is worth, make friends like it would be forever and get involved and committed in my spheres of influence could actually be better than surviving for a year?
In some ways that is a DUH. In others I'm still surprised by it. Plus this was me as a not completely rational 16 year old having this mental conversation. I made a choice then to NOT blend into the woodwork that year. To live life fully, to engage in relationships, be involved in my community and enjoy them all I could. Even if just for a year. I figured living and loving, even if just for a year, was a million times better than being miserable for a year.
You know what? That was one of the best years of my life! I grew so much, made amazing friends, created beautiful memories and by the end of the year, while I was excited to get back to the adventure ahead, I was so, so very grateful that I had chosen to LIVE and really LOVE that year rather than just survive.

I guess that is the perspective I am trying to embrace towards foster care. I want to love as crazy deeply as I can, while I can. Guaranteed it will hurt just as deeply, but the pain is just the proof of the love and memories that were shared. Even if I can show a child a glimmer of God's love for just a day, and in that day I so deeply love them that my heart splits. My life (and hopefully theirs as well) will have been so much richer than never having shared those moments.

This concept isn't new as can be seen in this quote from an 1850's poem which has become rather cliche:

"Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" - Alfred Lord Tennyson
As I was processing some of these old thoughts in regard to the newer ideas of being a foster parent I ran across this page that I had written in a notebook from several years ago. I'm not even sure when I wrote it, as I didn't date it. Nevertheless, it is me reflecting (probably as a teenager) on the concept of the pain of love being worth it. (Forgive my sad attempts at rhyming...)
A friend, come, a friend gone
the hurt it brings
to love completely
carries such sting.
Each time it gets harder
than the time before
Cause I know that to love
I'm opening the door
To heart ache and heart break
Use this pain to keep me alive!
Through this pain show me proof of love
Don't let me grow hard
teach me to love
Just heal my heart
Cause I've opened it up
To pain, to love.

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