Its how I know he loves me

I knew I’d be kicking myself for this post

Mom was a no-show (again) for her visit with the kids early this week and it threw Sprout into a tailspin.  Sad. Angry. Acting out. Testing. Testing. Testing.   And he’s having accidents at school.  A classic reaction for a little boy whose control over this world is slipping rapidly through his fingers.

Of course we’ve dealt with the tantrums before. And the talking back, and the not listening.  But this week has been especially exhausting because now these behaviors are directed and they are personal.  Specifically orchestrated and aimed at me.   And what exceptional aim he has. 

Did I mention I’m exhausted?  He might only be 3 years old and 34 lbs, but he is smart.  So smart and brave and tough that I often forget how young he is – I think that’s a common case with foster children.  They’ve just lived a life so much bigger than their years.  But man, when that child goes to battle he really knows how to bring it, regardless of how misguided his target it. 

It’s okay, though.  When I find myself at the wrong end of his firing range, I just have to remind myself why I’m there.  It’s because I’m safe.  It’s because I can take it. And it’s because I show up, and will every time.  During a rage this morning he screamed at me in his angriest voice: “I LOVE YOU”.  Sprout is a very honest little guy.  He is mad that he loves me.  He doesn’t want to have foster moms.  He doesn’t want to continually fall in love with caregivers just to be ripped away (remember, he came to us via disruption).  He wants to love his mom and have her love him back. 

I get it buddy, I really do.  So tonight before I pick you and your sister from daycare I’ll say a little prayer for the strength to be the soft place for you to land – regardless of the bruises I pick up along the way. 

I’ll also thank God for good wine.  I’m flying solo tonight while the wife visits with some friends and goodness knows – if I survive – I’ll be needing a glass!

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3 Responses to “Its how I know he loves me”

  1. this made me tear up. You guys are doing an amazing job. hang in there. 🙂

  2. What a good mama heart you have!

    Leo and I were at a conference a couple of years ago and Robert Gelinas, a pastor from Colorado, spoke on living the life of the cross. The one lesson he gave that impacted me more deeply than the rest was when he spoke of being an adoptive parent. The premise is that Jesus accomplished certain things on the cross. For us to be people of the cross we need to do those things on behalf of others. One of the things Jesus did was to absorb the pain that was meant for us.

    As foster parents we get to do that daily. Our children are wounded and hurting. Their spirits, egos and hearts are bruised and they are sad and angry. Often, before they even know they possess it, they’ve lost their dignity. Like you said, they need to be angry at someone and it’s difficult, impossible, perhaps even more painful to be angry at their parents. Parents are people they should love and are designed to love near unconditionally. Our job is to stand in place for their parents. To be there to take their anger and sadness and help them work it out, and release it for them. We give them a chance to be free of the burdens they carry, if only for a time.

    To be people of the cross, people who embody the love of Christ, we have the oppotunity and honor to withstand the pain the children carry and need to relase, and to sheild their parents (especially when they don’t deserve it) from that pain.

    It’s exhausting. It’s painful. It’s infuriating. But we are renewed each day. We have someone who can absorb our pain, who can offer us freely and who fills us with an endless (though it always seems in short supply) of love.

    Every time Sprout spews pain, anger, or sadness you are, for him, the love of Christ. That is the greatest gift one can give.

    He can’t yet know to say it, so I’ll say it for him: Thank you.

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