What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. (If you are new to this blog, regularly schedule programming will resume after the holidays, but you can check out the “Best Of” section in the meantime). If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. This guest post is by Britt.
I want you to know there is sometimes a gray area of adoption. It is not always just a rough life within a horrible situation (black) and then suddenly in a wonderful family that loves them (white). I want you know what its like in the gray area. The area in between. The area where I live. I work full-time / live on site in a child-caring agency (orphanage). We are what too often adoptive parents feel they have to 'rescue' their child from. (Please note.. I KNOW there are HELL HOLES of orphanages all around the world. I know there are places where unspeakable things happen to the children that are supposed to be protected.. I'm simply saying... I do not live and work for one of those.)
We rescue children and we take in the children that are abandoned, neglected, abused, dying, handicapped, etc. Basically... we take in the children that the society around us does not want. We take them in and we love them. These treasures have been through the unthinkable, each having their own versions of hell on earth.
My job, is to be what they have never had before, someone who loves them, cares for them, tells them how precious they are, dreams the big dreams for their lives with them, teaches them their ABC's, scoop them up when they fall and get hurt, correct them when I know they are misbehaving, teach them to obey, love them unconditionally as long as they are in my care... in other words.. I'm a temporary momma. I know they will not stay with me, that is not the goal. The goal is to love and care for them until they are matched with their forever family that is waiting to love them... but even with that goal in mind, it doesn't make my life any easier. For, the only way to truly do my job... I have to sacrifice that which costs most.
I have to sacrifice my heart and my emotions. I cannot truly show them how it feels to be loved, if I don't love them with every ounce of my heart... even though that means I'm heading to heartbreak at an unthinkable speed.
I see these children every day. I know their different voices, laughs. I know their different likes and dislikes. I know what time they wake up and what time and in what order they will fall asleep at night. I know their different styles and personalities. I know that when we have a brown out... R thinks it is fun and cool while J is panicking. I know in that moment, which bed I need to go to. I know that this shirt is pink and it should go to A because R doesn't like pink, that little one prefers orange. When I fold the laundry of my children at night, I know exactly which child everything goes to. I know the difference between each child's cry... 11 little ones that I work with daily and I know 11 angry cries, 11 ouch cries, 11 sad cries and 11 tired miserable fighting sleep cries... I know them. I know that A likes to climb, and hang, and be thrown into the air, but that that is the last thing that J likes. That one much prefers snuggling and reading books.
I know these children, I love them as my very own.
And I cannot convey to you, the feeling it is to hand them over to their forever families. It is an answer to prayer, that is certain. I pray for families for each child, that God would place each one in their own personal family that He has designed for them. But, this answer to prayer, while joyous, is also the hardest most painful thing I have ever had to do. I take a child that I have had, sometimes due to circumstances and paperwork, multiple years, that I have loved and cared for daily for multiple years, and I hand them over forever to a person I have never met before in my life, so that the child that I have cried for, prayed for, held, snuggled, stayed up all night with when they were sick, kissed, hugged, and helped to heal... can one day say 'I love you Mommy' to a complete and utter stranger to me.
I love and pour out everything I have to these children, only to have to let go in an instant.
It hurts. It is what I prayed for, a forever family for this child I love, but ... I want you to know it hurts.
And if the pain isn't deep enough, many times, there is surely a facebook post from my 'new friend' (whom I met while they were picking up their new adopted child), telling all of facebook of the failings and hardships of their new child’s life before...
What I want you to know is that sometimes, in the midst of your beautiful gotcha day, there might be someone in the background praising the Lord with you, with a shattered heart and tears streaming down her face... because you were not the first one to love that new little one.