Presently Missing You

As months and years pass, I’m constantly reminded of the cycle of life. I’m reminded that at any given moment, things can change.

Close friends get married. Loved ones pass away. Co-workers change careers. Foster children leave our home to go to their adoptive one.

Sometimes I feel as though I’m in a perpetual state of missing. Regardless of where I go, I’ll always miss someone or something. We are always changing, always growing, always experiencing new things – and yet, we can’t help but look back on the “good old days.” Even when our current situation is better than anything we’ve ever experienced, there’s still part of us that misses. And if we’re not missing the past, we’re wishing that certain people were there to celebrate with us.

I still have dreams of our first two foster children, who I had a relationship with prior to them coming to live with us. I still hope that someday I’ll see them again, and I believe I will, but the waiting can be so hard. Most days, I can’t help but feel as though I’m missing out on their lives. Someday, I’ll be sitting with Little (who won’t be so little when we meet again) over a cup of coffee, asking her to tell me the details of her life. We’ll cry together, as I tell her I so desperately wanted to be a part of it and she’ll hug me and tell me she knows how much I did, because she wanted me there too.

But in that moment of tears and hugs, the waiting and missing will be over. It’s just getting to that place that can feel unbearable at times.

Driving to work this morning, it hit me hard that someday, our precious little A will be leaving us. A, as I’m nicknaming her on this blog, came to us at only 6 days old. She quickly grabbed a hold of my heart and while I knew letting her go would be difficult, the reality of it didn’t hit until this morning. There’s just something about precious A that has my heart differently than our other foster children. Being exposed to opiates in the womb meant that she had some withdrawal symptoms still when she came to us. My parents had many sleepless nights with her, working through some of that withdrawal with her. Knowing how much this little one had been exposed to before she even entered the world made me love her in a deeper and different way than I’ve had happen previously.

When she first came to us, I’d hold her close and whisper, “You’re okay now. You made it.” She’s a strong little one, but my heart aches knowing the day will come when I’ll need to say goodbye.

As someone who loves deeply, I’ll be the first to say fostering isn’t easy. It’s easy to love, but quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is say goodbye to these little ones. But it’s oh so worth it to know they’re safe and experiencing genuine love when they’re with us.

Fostering has taught me that not only is it okay to miss people, but it’s necessary. The unfortunate reality is that life is not static. It’s constantly changing, and the quicker we learn to adapt to that, the more we’ll be able to embrace and enjoy life. We’ve had 9 children come through our home in the last 3 years, and I miss them all in different ways.

I used to beat myself up for having days where I’m missing people, but then I realized, it’s part of life. It’s part of the process and as long as we don’t stay stuck there, I believe it’s healthy. It reminds you that the moments you have are precious and you should embrace them all because you don’t know when they’ll be gone.

I look back and wish I had been more present or fully embraced certain moments, and maybe I would have had I known they’d be the last moments I’d have.

So reader, here are my words of advice for you…

Love deeply, be present, and enjoy each moment to the fullest.

It sounds simple, yet it’s so hard to put into practice. Oh! And when the moments come that you need to sit quietly and remember the “good old times”, take the moment you need to do that. But at the end, remember the “good present times” and say a quiet thank you that you have those moments to enjoy and experience, too.

Love,

Manda

8 Responses
  • Candy
    April 22, 2018

    I commend you for fostering. Hard to love and give so much to have them leave. Remember you are doing great work and changing children’s lives.

    • Manda Joy
      April 22, 2018

      Thank you so much! That means a lot. 🙂

  • Claudia Blanton
    April 22, 2018

    I could not foster – as much as I would love to – because the grief of letting them go, would be just too much. I get attached – as it is evident of the spoiled zoo I have running around me – so I would not be in the state of missing, but in the constant state of grief.

    I applaud you for doing so, though – it takes a special person to open their home to a child in need.

    Blessings!

    • Manda Joy
      April 22, 2018

      That’s sweet of you to say. Honestly, there is a tremendous amount of grief that goes along with fostering, but it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. If you were called to be in that situation, you would also have the grace to handle it. It’s amazing the grace that covers us when we’re called to be in certain situations. There are also other ways to get involved if you don’t feel fostering is for you, but if you’d still like to help in that area. If you ever want to know more, just contact me through my Contact Me page and I’d love to share more.

  • Kyla Matton Osborne | 24 Carrot Diet
    April 22, 2018

    I can’t imagine how I’d cope with getting attached to a child, and then having that child moved to a different home. I think it’s right that you miss these children. They are far better off living with people who are willing to risk that pain, than with someone who will hold them at arm’s length.

    • Manda Joy
      April 22, 2018

      I love how you worded that. “They are far better off living with people who are willing to risk that pain, than with someone who will hold them at arm’s length.”. Wow. I think that beautifully sums up why we foster. Thanks for sharing!

  • Elizabeth O
    April 22, 2018

    Fostering is such a selfless act I am sure you are a wonderful comfort to many children. The grief when they leave must be so hard to deal with, I am not sure I could do it so I totally applaud your strength.

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