Part of what I’m learning as a substitute mama in this residential child care ministry is the necessity to bear a stoic willingness to have your heart broken, again and again and again. And perhaps worse than the breaking itself is the anticipatory waiting… the knowing and the falling in love with these children all the same.
Blonde Boy has wrapped me all up in his smiles and he is tangled around my heart.
The indication is that he will not be here much longer – that he will be sent out into the world to be adopted quickly, and I find myself counting the moments I have with him frantically. There is a desperate sadness that ripples within me at the very notion that he be anywhere but right here where I can see him. I feel deeply that he belongs here, under our wing. I ache for him, with him, and about all that he’s gone through in his fragile young life.
“What am I?” He asks.
“You are my boy.”
“But… what am I?”
What he’s really asking is “Whose am I? To whom do I belong?”
He wants to know if he’s an orphan.
And the answer to this is tricky, on so many levels. Tricky because he’s caught in the system and torn between our care facility and the state and the entanglement of his recently-deceased mother and the named “godparents” who don’t want that responsibility, after all…and the depths of my heart, where I can’t bear to imagine letting him go. Tricky because technically speaking, there is no answer to that question, right now. There is only confusion and uncertainty, and my insides rip and split because I can’t imagine the pain this must cause, and the expectations that heap upon him to just keep carrying on with life as usual.
He wonders who will want him, and who will watch out for him, and who will care. And I don’t know how to reassure him. But I look at him long and deep and I hope he can see truth in my eyes.
“You are a wonderful, beautiful child of God. You are an Heir of the King.”
He looks back into me, twice as long and twice as deep, and I fight not to break open and puddle into a helpless heap on the floor in front of him. I fight the urge to cry out to God how cruel and unfair this all is, and hasn’t he had his fair share of pain already and how do you expect him to bear this, and what am I supposed to do to heal all this?
And I remember. He heals, and I am merely a vessel.
He orchestrates this beautiful, messy life for His glory and that someday, some day that I can’t even begin to imagine, this child’s mess will be his message. This painful story will bridge the gap for someone else’s pain, for the glory of the One that heals and rewrites history. The heart breaks open so the comfort of Christ can climb inside and we can connect, intimately, with the Creator King, who knows pain even greater than ours and who lays down His whole beautiful inheritance for a blonde orphan boy with a broken past and a bleak future.
By Cara Sexton at WhimsySmitten