Foster Care Reflections: The Joy of Visits

What a blessing visits are!

No, I’m not crazy (my mother had me tested, as Sheldon would say).

In this journey there are so many struggles. It’s an emotional circus led by a band of feral toddlers while the scent of poop, vomit, and something burning fills the air. (I seriously don’t know why Hallmark rejected my application). Eventually it all begins to wear the soul thin. You get news on the case or things go like they always go and a bureaucratic mess begins to interfere with a family’s chance for renewal. There comes a point where you think about quitting. You begin to wonder if there’s a purpose to all of this because all you can see is the fires you can’t put out.

Then, it’s visit day. You see their little faces light up to see mom and dad. You hear the laughter and see that exchange of love that is only shared between a parent and child. You see them together and your heart melts. You’re suddenly reminded why it’s all worth it. You see a family, you see humans, you see love coming together in all of it’s messiness. They are why you are here. They are the reason you stick it out time and time again. They, not the system, are the reason you have been called.

He’s giving you a glimpse into a world that exists outside of you but forever within that child.

Even when it’s not a beautiful mess and it’s just a mess, it’s a gift to caregivers. We are allowed a glimpse into what unfolds for the children we care for. We see what they cannot say. We are honored with being allowed into a very intimate part of their world. You see them, you see them all. You see humans, not just “mistakes”. God is giving you eyes to see people He sees everyday and that the world has probably already written off. He’s giving you a glimpse into a world that exists outside of you but forever within that child.

The foster care journey is hard, I don’t think anyone disputes that. However, there are so many gifts that get lost in the weeds if we aren’t careful. When I’m exhausted is when I tend to lose my eye for the good things. That means I have to work hard not to lose my joy like a toddler who missed nap time. Our birth families are a gift for us to love and nurture and grow with, just like their children. The more you take ownership of your gifts, the more your perspective begins to change. The more you invest, you definitely risk disappointment, but you also risk losing your heart in a spectacular way.

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