No kidding, Shakespeare. Tonight we attended a farewell dinner for the foster children some friends of ours have had for a while (the children are going back home after a long time). It brought back some old, but always just beneath the surface, feelings.
Tanya and I were were foster parents for a while ourselves, first therapeutic foster parents with the Bair Foundation, then regular, for the state. It is a wonderful way, a much needed way, to help children at a time when they are in dire need of love and support. It was very rewarding, very challenging, and very much a learning experience for us. If you have the ability, temperament, and love to give, I suggest you give it some thought.
The hardest part for us was saying goodbye when children left. I'll never forget what one child said the night before as we had our family devotional before bedtime. He said, "Thank you God for Tanya and James, without them, I might not have known you." I can't even type that without my eyes watering up. For all the hardship, the heartache, the hurdles…that made it all so much more than just "worth it." That made my entire life on earth worth it. Of course, the hardest thing about the goodbyes is the unknown. Whenever a child left, we had to put our faith in God that wherever they went, He would be; that they were not going to face life alone. I'm not gonna lie–that's a hard step of faith for anybody, at any point in their faith. It was, and is hard for me. Not knowing how those eight children are doing is hard. In silent moments alone, from time to time, those thoughts and wonders are not underneath the surface of my thoughts, they consume them. A sizable part of my heart is out there with them…who knows where.
So tonight, my prayers will be for my friends who tomorrow will feel what I feel, wonder what I wonder. And they are with eight of the dearest children on the planet to me. Leo, Chuy, Stetson, Justin, Reilly, Richard, Artevius, and Angel–wherever you kids may be, we love you and miss you. May God bless you with love, peace, joy, protection and life.