It was a wonderful treat, this conversation. It immediately blessed me. We talked for a little less than a half hour. There were lots of questions about what is going on in life today but there was lots of reminiscing about the past. "Do you remember when...?" "Oh, and we..."
When The Prairie Daddy and I were newly married we met the foster care coordinator in our county through ministry. And I can't even remember the process or the decision being made because it was such a natural call on our lives but we enrolled in the foster parenting classes and became certified. Our first experience was intense and short lived. We wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into after the 3 exhausting, confusing weeks with a 10 year old boy who needed much more than we could offer him in his brokenness. The "system" immediately asked us if we were willing to try again. This time they asked us if we would take a teenage boy. I was only 24. How could I become the MOM to a kid only 9 years younger than me? They said I could view myself more as a mentor.
I immediately fell in love with the young man the first time I met him. I took him out to lunch to Taco John's (I let him choose) and we hit it off. He came for a weekend and then moved in. We spent just short of a year together before he was moved. We had some really good times and some pretty rough times. But I gave this kid a piece of my heart and to this day he still has it.
I missed him. We've had other kids live with us since then. Every one of them was different. I remember how in the beginning they told me I would "toughen up" and wouldn't get as attached. I didn't believe them but they were right. I think this first long-term kid got the biggest piece of my heart.
And he called.
As we talked he said things like "we need to have dinner together" and "maybe I could go to church with you sometime." And we both agreed that we wished he would have stayed with us through high school. It was amazing for me to hear him say that. We never wanted him to leave and we were committed to helping him finish out his youth but we didn't have that choice. I was beaming. I told him that after Thanksgiving we would definitely get a hold of him and get together. I am excited already.
I have always known in my heart that even though these kids would leave and they might not stay connected and they might mess up, get into trouble, have their caregivers drop the ball on them, drop out of school, end up in jail, etc, no one could ever take away the love that they got while in our home. And I knew sometime, years later, we might get to reconnect and find out that it is true...no one could ever take away from them what God gave them through us. It makes it all worth it.