Monday, February 9, 2009
When loving someone breaks your heart...
I have a friend that I love very much. We have been friends since we were teenagers; she was my Maid of Honor. She is one of those people that has ventured out and done things that many of us would not try. She has been a nanny, a teacher in Seattle, a certified EMT, and many more things. In the past year, she has become a foster mom to a little boy in need of love. In January 2008, two days after he was born, she picked him up from the hospital, as his mother returned to serve a prison sentence. My friend had no idea what was before her, but she did it with God’s love.
The challenges of being a single mother are many and varied. My friend is a teacher, so she had to find child care right away. God blessed her with a Christian lady who took the little boy into her home. She had to find special doctors that attend to foster children. She had to get all of the products needed for an infant, including a crib, car seat, diapers, wipes, sleepers, and all of the clothing. God blessed her again with many gifts and donations from others. Sleepless nights, baby bottles, dirty diapers--her entire life was changed by this little angel she brought in to her home and her heart.
As the days, weeks, and months passed by, she loved him unconditionally, spoke to him softly, kissed his little head, laughed, cried, and watched as he began passing the milestones that infants go through. She fed him, bathed him, dressed him, and took him to church. She brought him by from time to time to introduce him to friends and family. We all fell in love with him as well. Some challenging health issues arose, and she lovingly tended to him, trying to keep him as healthy as he could be. His sweet little personality began to shine, and the two of them enjoyed as much time together as possible.
While imprisoned, the birth mother decided she wanted to retain custody when she got out. Communication and visitation began with her extended family until she was released. Through the case worker, my friend was updated on all that the mother would need to do if she really did want custody. It was a long list, to be obtained in sequential steps. We began to pray that the mother would either complete everything and stay clean, or make the bad choices before she was given custody of her son.
The year continued and he cut teeth, began to crawl, walk and run! The health challenges continued, but my friend made sure he had proper medical care, therapy, medicine, and plenty of love. By Christmas, she had celebrated every holiday in the year with him, and began to realize that there might only be a few more in the future. At the end of January, she celebrated his one year birthday with him! She could reflect on all of the ups, downs, and craziness of the year they had shared. She loved him with all of her heart, and sadly, she would soon have to give him up.
The over night visitations every weekend have begun. She can no longer be in denial that it will happen. It is breaking her heart! As a mom and her friend, it is breaking my heart too! God has given her such a special gift to love children that need love in a crisis. That love will attach him to her forever, even if they never see each other again. It is up to the birth mom to tell him about his first year, and I wonder what she will tell him? Will she explain that she made a big mistake and had to go away for awhile, so my friend took him in and cared for him? Will she even talk about my friend? My prayer is that somewhere in her heart, she will realize just how special my friend is, and that she has bestowed a priceless gift on both of them. I also pray that the birth mom will share updates with my friend as he grows, so that big hole in her heart does not hurt quite as much.
Some people might ask if the pain is worth it? My friend and I would say, "Absolutely." We can say that because we know that we are to share the love that God has given us for others. In this case, the journey of love matters more than the eventual ending.
Thought for the day: "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." Mark 9:37