Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I remember as a young college student, I once was working at an internship in an elementary school. Amazingly, the Lord placed me with two wonderful mentors. An older Occupational Therapist with years of experience and wisdom. The other was a middle aged COTA/L (Occupational therapy assistant). After settling in, I found that they were both very strong christian women, who even invited me to their morning Bible study they would have at the school before school started. I became very close with these two ladies...and could see how God's hand was in my being placed on this particular assignment. I was so blessed by their kindness and guidance. A few weeks later, they shared with me that the older woman's daughter had been killed in a car accident. I looked at her with concern on my face, and to this day, I still remember her words. "Life is so painful at times". This really hit me like a ton of bricks, because up until that moment, life had been great for me. I had never encountered a death of a relative or friend, I had a fairly normal childhood, graduated high school and got married, and was now on to my dream career. Painful? I hadn't really realized that life could be that hard, or full of pain until I looked into the eyes of this sweet older woman, and realized this. She had also adopted a boy from Korea who was 8 at the time of adoption. He was grown by then, and not quite doing so well. In fact, he had never really done that well, as his childhood was so traumatic, being adopted and brought to America can't really fix the pain he endured as a child.

And then, all of us, being in the field of Occupational therapy, we are fixers and caretakers, and people that just want to ease the pain of those around us. Since graduating and entering this career path, I see pain all the time. Working in pediatrics, I often encountered people who were in serious denial of their child's medical condition. This was their way of somehow guarding their hearts so as not to fully experience the pain and reality of accepting what was happening with their child.

For the last couple years I have been working on call at a rehab nursing home facility. The pain of the people living in these facilities is devastating. Many have just given up. Some are young, dealing with disabling diagnoses, and others are older dealing with a multitude of problems physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. It's hard to watch. I am amazed at the amount of people that really are alone. There are so many middle aged and older people out there that never got married and have no children. This has surprised me. These people are not only in physical pain, but they are suffering in isolation and loneliness, often neglected by the staff that are there to minimally care for them. Pain. I see it everywhere now. My eyes are open now...there truly is a lot of pain in this world.

And now, this little boy who has been in my home only a few days...the emotional pain I see him dealing with is excrutiating to watch. I try to ease the pain, but I can't. Trauma from a broken attachment to someone he wasn't even supposed to be around. The grief he is trying to somehow work through is so painful to see in someone so small. Foster care, up until this point has been a beautiful thing in my eyes. We have been blessed beyond anything we could have expected on our own. We chose to take babies...for the simple reason that the trauma wouldn't be so severe. And now, this little boy...who we never thought would need a home, is here. He needs the one he is attached to...but that can never be. It is painful to even think about that, knowing the one person he wants me to bring to him is someone I cannot provide for him. And for the first time, I am angry. Angry that she couldn't do what she needed to do for this little guy who needed her most. And then I realize that she probably was never able to. And so this is why foster care exists...those of us that choose this path, or maybe, those of us that follow God's will...we open our homes, and our hearts to the hurting child, or the homeless child who needs a safe and warm home full of love and limits, grace and boundaries. We attempt to fix their wounds, but realize that really, only the Lord can...and we lean on HIM more, and give the situation to HIM, knowing that it is all in HIS hands anyway.

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