How will you leave them? That’s a question I’ve gotten a lot over the past couple of months after my announcement that I will be transitioning out of fostering in March to go to graduate school. How will I leave the kids I’ve poured into for 2 years? How will I be able to leave the place that I’ve made home? At some point India became my home and how can I walk away from everything here? These questions rattle around my brain whenever I look ahead to 8 months from now. How will I leave them? To be honest I have no idea.
This morning I was listening to podcast on this Sunday’s gospel about the parable of the weeds in the field. One sentiment stuck out to me as I listened- that we have to be faithful to God and sow the seeds he asks us to sow and leave the harvest up to him. I’ve been struggling with feeling that I haven’t done enough. The nature of working with these kids is that I will always feel like I haven’t done enough. Haven’t done enough therapy activities with the kids, haven’t advocated for them to get everything they need, doctors appointments left undone, and do-lists that are unfinished. With 11 kids with high needs it is hard to meet everyone’s needs. The reality is when I leave there will be things that I’ve left undone and I’m learning to be okay with that. Ultimately these kids don’t belong to me- they belong to God. And he has a plan for them that is beyond any of my therapy plans for them. I just need to plant the seeds that I can and leave the harvest up to him.
Although I’m preparing my heart to leave I know I still have 8 more amazing months with these kids and other people I love here. 8 more months of birthdays, holidays, preschool, and every small moment in between. More time to be present and pour into the kids as much as I can. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking ahead but I’m not allowing my mind to go there often just yet. I’m focusing on being present as much as possible and just enjoying life here. It would be unfair for me to focus too much on what lies ahead and not just be present in everything going on right now.
So to answer the question of how will I leave the truthful answer is I don’t know but God does. So I will focus on the next 8 months being present in my life here and working on preparing my heart to leave. He has a plan greater then my own and I know that he always guides my path as he lead me here and will lead me back.
Sorry that my blog has been so quiet. I’ve been home for the past couple of weeks and since the kids are the real stars of this blog there hasn’t been much to write about!
Being home has been a mixture of feelings. On one hand I have slipped right back into life in the States. I’ve been wearing shorts, driving my car on the right side of the road, eating hamburgers, drinking Dr. Pepper, and sleeping through the night with no babies to wake me up. But a big part of my heart and mind is still in India. I worry and think about the kids everyday. The other day I was helping at the special needs class at VBS and I started talking to one of the little kids in Telugu. He reminded me so much of Julie that I slipped right back into giving commands in Telugu. Whenever I go shopping I find myself looking at all the kids clothes, picking out something to bring back with me. I still bobble my head and find myself eating with my hands sometimes.
In so many ways my heart is split in two. Life in the States is easy. I don’t have to worry about cross-cultural issues, language barriers, and have access to pretty much whatever I need. But in many ways I’m not the same person who left last May. I’ve changed and so have others. Conversations that once flowed now take more effort. Friendships have changed and shifted, relationships have moved on, and people have changed all while I was away. This article that I read before I left about being a triangle resounds even more after spending a year away. I’ve often wondered if I ever could go back to living a normal life in the States after seeing and experiencing what I have. And more importantly if I even want to. My heart and mind have changed so much I’m not even sure it’s possible anymore.
Being away from the kids has been harder then I thought it was. When I left I was completely worn out. Part of it was my fault, I had been bad about keeping boundaries and taking a sabbath. The other part was that it had been a rough couple of months with almost constant illness in my house and lots of transitions with new caregivers and kids. I was exhausted and running on fumes. Everything was getting on my nerves and I snapped much easier then I ever had in the past. (Funny side story on the way to the airport my Uber car broke down. And I got way madder then I needed to and had no less then 30 people watching me and the driver debate. Luckily another cab pulled up and I jumped in and made my flight but it was quite the dramatic exit!) But after being home for 2 weeks I started missing the kids like crazy. On a rational level I know they are being taken care of but it still doesn’t stop me from worrying about them. But they have such a big chunk of my heart that even 5 weeks away feels like way too much. I know these children are only mine for this season and they ultimately belong to God but I have decided to fiercely love them while I can, even at the expense of my own pain and hurt.
This in between time, when I’m getting excited to go back but dreading all the goodbyes, is the worst. I love so many people here but I love so many people in India too. There’s no way to soften the goodbyes on either end. The only thing I know is that no matter how bittersweet the goodbyes are on this side there are wonderful hellos waiting for me on the other side.
So this is where I stand right now with my heart in two places. Transition is rough and my thoughts are jumbled but I know this- God has called me to India in this season and called me to love as fiercely as possible during this time. Even when it hurts people on both sides. Because like Winne the Pooh said “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”