We love your children. When they first arrive, looking wounded, bewildered and scared, and struggling to look us in the eye, we love them. Our hearts break for whatever heartbreak they have experienced. Not all of us are social workers, so most of us will never know who or what put that shell-shocked look in their eyes. We feel the righteous anger at the beginning and no matter how long we have been here and how many children we have seen, our hearts break all over again with each new child who walks through these doors. We vow there and then that we will love that child and that look away from their eyes.
When they show us defiance, when we see the battle that is to come in their eyes long before it reaches their mouths, we love them. We love that spark of fire and life. That light that shows us that though they might be beaten, they are not defeated. They are survivors. We love it. We love them. We love getting the opportunity to show them that not all of life is a battle, that sometimes they don’t have to strive to survive, that they never have to fight alone ever again, because in us, they have gained a lifetime ally.
That first glimpse of mischief. Wondering what on earth has been done now and how you are going to deal with it when you find it. Biting your lips and pinching your own cheeks not to laugh at what is obviously not good behaviour. We love the knowledge that these first attempts at mischief let us know that now a new level of comfort has been reached. That they now trust us not to harm them but to love them. That they now consider us home away from home.
Watching them play and be. Watching little personalities emerge. Getting to know their own personal quirks and oddities. We love hearing them laugh, scream and shout with joy. Tackle us to the ground. We love getting to be a part of their transformation. They really do give the best and warmest hugs.
We love your children because they give us no other choice. They come here, reach into us and grab hold of our hearts. They never let go you see, our hearts just get bigger to accommodate more of these heart thieves.
We love your children knowing full well they are going to leave us. That they are going to take our hearts and one day walk away with them still gripped tightly in their small hands. We give ourselves over and over to the joy of falling in love with them and the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye. And although we know that a family and a home are exactly what the ‘life doctor’ prescribed, please know it does hurt to say goodbye. Not knowing if we will ever see them again. Knowing that the young ones will probably forget about us. Knowing we will never see them grow. It also brings us joy, to know that no matter who they grow up to be, God blessed us with the opportunity to input into their lives.
We pray for them. We make wishes for them. We give our hearts over and over again, knowing we will never take your place and not even wishing to because we love your children for you.
Written by: A GCF employee