It's been almost four weeks since our foster son, LH, returned home to his biological parents, after living with us for six months. After coming to us at three days old and winning us over with his tiny button nose and pointy elfin ears. And in these past four weeks without him, I've discovered with renewed certainty something I've long suspected: I am blessed beyond measure.
Before I elaborate on that, let me address the question everyone's either been asking or thinking: How are you holding up? The answer is: Fine. I'm just fine. Yes, I miss him and I was sad to let him go and I ache for him sometimes...but I'm fine. Yes, part of me was devastated when his mom brought him to see me the other day and he looked at me like "Who the heck are you?" But I'm going to be okay.
And here's why: I am blessed beyond measure.
I'm so blessed, in fact, that I probably can't even begin to explain to you how "lucky" I am. First of all, I have a driver's license and a vehicle that starts up 99 out of 100 times. Many people don't. LH's mom doesn't. I own a home and have a stable, supportive family. Can everyone say that? LH's mom can't.
I know how to balance a checkbook, make a grocery list, keep a budget, make meals from scratch, and open a savings account. People, do you realize these are not universal skills? Do you realize how lucky I am that I was taught how to do those things? And that I was raised to have the confidence to either ask for help or figure it out on my own if I don't know how to do something? And by lucky I mean "by the grace of God go I."
Have you ever thought about how intimidating it would be to go into a bank if you'd never done it before, never seen it done, never graduated high school, never written a check? Never had anything real with your name on it?
There are so many people out there who are in need. In need of help, or a friend. In need of teaching, or guidance, or financial resources, or all of the above. People who were too busy being abused or neglected growing up to learn basic life skills. And here I am, my life overflowing with blessing, and not even appreciating it.
At least, I wasn't before. Before my foster son. But ever since he came and went - every time I think of him - I can't help but think of how "lucky" I am.
Like I said, part of me really misses him. And another part feels guilty for maybe not missing him enough. For not crying myself to sleep every night. But does shrugging and saying "I'm doing okay without him" make me heartless? I don't believe so.
Every day I got to spend with LH was a gift, but I'm not heartless for moving on and wondering when we'll get a call to pick up another child. I'm not heartless for saying, "Go with God" to the little guy and preparing myself for the next kid. Because by God's grace I have blessings to spare in a world where love, security, and peace are in increasingly short supply. So I'm not going to apologize for giving all I could to him and then letting him go.
It doesn't mean I didn't love him. It doesn't mean I'm heartless. It means I am blessed beyond measure.