Sunday, January 26, 2014

Everything Kind of Love

It is in our nature to love.  Love makes the world go round.  People search for it.  Wars have been fought for it.  Works of art have been created for it.  Having said that, I don't believe it is in our nature to open ourselves up to the idea of love when we know there will be an end.  Yes, love ends every day.  Relationships end.  Marriages end.  Love songs come to an end.  And yet, we don't ever enter with the idea that this will end.

Right now I find my heart battling what it knows and what it wants.  My heart has been blessed to welcome three spirits into my home as foster children.  One we received on his fourth day of life, he is now 4 weeks old.  The older two, age 3 and age 2, came last Wednesday.  Their mother, my sister, got lost for a bit.  While she is finding her way back, I am acting in proxy for her, loving these children.

First Night

Therefore, with every touch, with every kiss, with every goodnight, with every 2 AM feeding I feel my heart growing.  I am amazed at the capacity a heart has to love. I am amazed at how when I thought I had nothing left, when I felt far to inadequate to provide for these children, my heart just grew, and it grew and it grew.

Every Night :)

But....with that growth comes the knowledge that one day those beautiful creatures that fill my heart now, will return to their mother.  Don't get me wrong.  Every night (and frequently during the day) I pray she continues to get stronger.  I pray her capacity is strengthened. I pray she is preparing herself to be the best mother she can be to these children.  I pray her children will be returned to her.

Meal Time

That said, I am wildly aware that loving these children as my own (because there is no other way to love a child in your home) will one day come to an end when they return to live with my sister.

I don't know if I can adequately express the spectrum of feelings associated with loving a foster child.  My heart swells when I see little Baby I smile as I sing to him when I think he is asleep.  My heart is overjoyed when Little M holds her arms out for me to kiss and hug her goodnight.  I am knocked over with pride when the oldest, Little E finds me after attending his second Sunday at church beaming with joy as he shows me his picture he colored in primary class.

At Church

How do you move forward with never wanting this to end and yet praying my tender sister will have her children returned to her as soon as humanly possible.  When loving these children, we don't just clear out a drawer for them.  They become a part of every thing we do.  Extra hooks in the bathroom for towels.  Extra car seats in the car- if not a larger car.  Extra little kid plates and silverware for the kitchen.  Step stools to reach the bathroom sink for hand washing.  Little cars and trucks for this confused little boy.  Princess dresses for this little girl that follows my own little princess around like a shadow.  A baby swing in the living room.  Bottles.  Diapers. Wipes.  A bassinet by my bedside.  Our entire routine has changed.  And that change is not only felt by me but by my husband and four children.  They are making sacrifices as well.  For us to make it out the door in the morning it is a team effort to get these little ones ready.  The schedule in our home has become dictated by 8 PM bedtime for the little ones and now as sleep is ever so coveted by me, I do not follow far behind in getting to bed.

Trying For A Nap

My love for my sister grows every day.  I see her efforts and listen to her words as she mourns not feeling her babies in her arms.  I can not begin to imagine the pain, the overwhelming pain, that must be felt to have not ever had a chance to take her baby home from the hospital.  The pain that it must be to see empty car seats in the back of her car.  There has only been one moment when I was angry, like truly angry with my sister.  One night, Little E woke around midnight screaming and continued to scream for nearly two hours.  I had no way to console him.  He could not communicate his pain.  Only then did I fight off feelings of thinking she did not deserve to have her children back.  Only then I threatened to run away with these kids in the event she was to get them back.  I am sad I felt that way.  My heart eased as this little guy finally drifted off to sleep calling for his mommy.  His feelings for his mother are real.  His pain is real.  He doesn't understand why he has to be with me.  No matter how  good I am to him, I am not his mother. 

Today my sister came for her scheduled visit.  It was a good visit.  My role is to support her and encourage her as she works on establishing boundaries and learn and utilize parenting skills (which we could all be better at).  Again my heart swells to watch her interact with her children and see their love for each other.  After the visit ended, the tears from the children had stopped as I distracted them as she left by getting them to help frost a cake. 

After all was returned back to normal, Kevan and I found ourselves sitting at the kitchen table with him holding the baby.  I watched him ever so tenderly love on the baby as he was fighting between sleep and awake. I couldn't help but be filled with love for my husband as I watched him parent this baby and I also felt my heart break as I was washed over with the idea that this will all end.

I am determined to love these children with everything that is in me.  I will continue to love them as my own.  I will love them with the knowledge that by loving them with abandon I open my heart up for pain.  As a family, we all will incorporate the life of having 7 children and all that that means knowing one day we will have extra hooks in the bathroom for towels.  Knowing we will have extra little plates and silverware.  Knowing the space in my heart that has been filled with these three children will one day feel their absence.

I love my sister.  I pray her children are returned to her arms as soon as possible.  I continue to pray I can be proxy for her in her absence and continue to love these children with everything that is in me....I know it will hurt.  They deserve nothing less than an everything kind of love.

This is what it looked like while I was typing this post-
kids joined us to watch Pro Bowl and baby needed some loving while our
Miss Olaya tried to convince me her DVD would play even though
it is scratched beyond the point it will play