Most relationships assume permanence, but it doesn’t always work that way. Broken relationships, the loss of a loved one or a pet, miscarriages, illness- each of us will, at some point, lose the ones we love. But If I were to ask you if you’d go back in time and undo your time together just to escape the grief you now feel, I doubt many of us would. You would choose love, anyway.
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” -Jamie Anderson
Grief is inevitable. It’s the price we pay for love, they say. It’s just a matter of time, but grief will come. As foster parents, ours happens to come sooner and more frequent that we’d hope for. When discussing our choice of parenting, I’m often told, “We’d never be able to do foster care. We’d never have the heart too give up the child after caring for them.” While I understand the sentiment, please hear this mama bear roar, “Neither do we!”
We were not built different to be able do this. We are simply willing to do it, anyway. Unlike we are often told, we are certainly not saints, fearless or indestructible. And unlike the cute “I’m a foster mama, what’s your superpower?” quote on my Instagram bio, foster care doesn’t take someone special. It simply takes someone who is willing to do it, anyway. Like all other parents, we simply put on our parenting suit and the “superpowers” come with it.
Letting go goes against every natural instinct of a parent but we will (somehow) do it, anyway. You know you can’t keep them with you forever, but you choose love, anyway. You know it’s going to hurt, but you do it, anyway. You know it’s going to be hard, but you’d rather sit with them in their moments of pain than to have them wade through heartache on their own. We know that our children may not always be in a space to reciprocate our feelings, but we will love, anyway.
So far, we have been spoiled rotten by the way our son and daughter choose to love and trust us. Yes, the grief of separation is devastating, but oh the joy! The overpowering, resounding, wild joy they bring us. This life we’ve built together is beyond everything that we hoped and dreamed of. Our babies; our wildest joy, deepest heartaches and our best ‘yes’.
“You do not have to be fearless, doing it afraid is just as brave.” -Morgan Harper Nichols
Forever starts tomorrow for Little Bear. And while we couldn’t be happier about this, we must now work through our grief as we say goodbye to our son; the most beautiful boy who made us parents. Yes, bittersweet. As is everything with foster care and adoption. “Grief is appropriate”, Jabez always says. Bear changed our lives in the most unexpected and beautiful ways, of course we’re going to feel his absence. I find comfort in knowing that God knows the pain of giving up a child. And Jesus was moved so deeply by the grief over losing someone that he wept openly. So will we. God is close to the broken hearted, and more than ever before, He is close to us now. In the meanwhile, we will hold on to each other and the most profound life lesson we’ve learned from our kids: We can do hard things!
And as for our pray over little Bear:
“May His favor be upon you and a thousand generations, and your family and your children, and their children, and their children. May His presence go before you and behind you, and beside you. All around you, and within you, He is with you. In the morning, in the evening, in your coming, and your going. In your weeping, and rejoicing, He is for you.”
Loving will, most definitely, hurt. Love, anyway.