Grief can be OK

People often say that they could never foster or adopt from foster care because it would hurt too much if the children returned home.

Why are we so afraid of grief?

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Ok. I know what you’re thinking. Grief hurts. And you’re right. My 11-year-old and 9-year-old foster children have just left after living with us for 15 months. It hurts a lot.

If you look back in this blog, you’ll see that there were many times we thought we might be in a position to adopt these children.

Now they are gone.

My heart breaks when I look at Watchful’s favorite spot on our sofa and see an empty place.

I start bawling when I discover Joyful’s sock somehow mixed in with Sassy’s laundry, and remember how she had to have lace trimmed ankle socks that matched her dresses.

I choke back the tears when I walk into a restaurant and have to correct myself – sorry, we only need a table for four, not six.

But a lot of painful things in life are worth doing. And I bet you are willing to do many of them.

– To give life, we go through the pain of child birth.
– To return to good health, we go through the pain of surgery when ill or injured.
– To parent our children, we agree to suffer loss when they go to college or move out.
– To enjoy love and companionship, we risk the pain of break-ups and death of loved ones.

Isn’t keeping a child safe worth some pain? Isn’t helping their family fix what’s wrong worth some suffering? Isn’t the possibility of a permanent family member worth the risk?

Along the way there is so much joy and beauty. Playing tooth fairy when Watchful lost all those teeth. Teaching Joyful how to bake chocolate chip cookies. Watching our (permanent) children and our (foster) children squeal as they lob water balloons at each other.

And it is absolutely amazing to see Joyful and Watchful transform from children struggling with trauma to children enjoying their childhoods.

So yes. I am incredibly sad. And it will hurt for some time to come. But it won’t be forever. Forever is our love. Forever is the difference made in Joyful and Watchful’s lives.