How Do You Give Them Back??

For the past three and a half weeks, we have had a thirteen month old boy in our home through Safe Families for Children.  He left yesterday.  I picked him up at 10:30pm in the parking lot of a Greek Restaurant after answering an after-hours emergency text, and brought him into our home.  Honestly, it felt a little sketchy, but it made it more adventurous.  Often times, big things come with risks and sacrifices, and this was one of those big things.

I will not miss

  • the Raffi, Justin Roberts, and Cedarmount Kids CDs we had to listen to in the car in order to get a little peace and quiet
  • the balls thrown all over the house or legos all over my bedroom floor 
  • all of the extra yogurts, cheeses, grapes, bananas, watermelon and juice we had to buy for this very hungry and growing little boy
  • all of the diapers we had to change when we realized whole milk and soy milk did not agree with his system
  • holding with one, and cooking with one hand while hurdling plastic bowls (and large dog) dispersed all over the kitchen floor
  • driving with one hand in order to pass back snacks with the other
  • having to do my schoolwork at the YMCA for a couple hours each day while he played
  • the family dinners that get interrupted by having to take care of a screaming child
  • having to constantly run over to make sure no one was climbing up or going down the stairs

Everyone always asks how we can give these kids back after bonding with them and loving on them, and when I think about the above things that I will not miss that's one of the ways I would reply.

But I would not trade it for...

  • the patience and love that grows in me from these experiences
  • seeing my daughters invest in someone even when they are fussy
  • the extra purpose it gives me while my girls are in school
  • watching my daughters learn how to change a diaper, feed a moving target, bathe, tickle, look out for, soothe, and dress a toddler
  • teaching each of us how to give of ourselves for another
  • my daughters learning to pray for someone they may never see again
  • the smile I see on all of their faces when they see each other after school
  • the lesson my older one is learning on how to avoid having one of her own (if this is all she learns, I'm okay with that)
  • the longing we have for only each other and bonding we have as a family that we would not have been able to experience had we not gone through this experience
  • the rest we have been able to give to a mom in order for her to become a better one
  • the racial boundary walls that are being knocked down in our home because of these relationships
  • the ease and joy I have in parenting my own children afterwards

So, I think it’s one of those decisions, like most, where we just have to weigh the positives and the negatives.  When we do that, there’s no question that the work is worth the result.  And as we enjoy this family re-charge season, we will soon long to be messed up again, because "struggle is the chief architect of character" (A. Lubrano).