I’ve learned a lot in my 25 years of life. Perhaps more than I care to know but prayerfully it is useful for someone out there…maybe myself one day.
After foster care, your troubles do not end. Don’t be surprised; I know some of you are hearing this for the first time. When I was a ward of the state I just knew the day I no longer was a “foster kid” I would be free. I was not prepared for the term “orphan” that sticks like glue no matter where I go. Once your married, repair relationships with family…no matter what where you have come from will ALWAYS be apart of you, of us. It does not have to dictate who you become but to presume that our past will not somehow shape how we approach life is actually naive. The feelings of hopelessness, aloneness, abandonment, and rejection will always be there. When someone tells you that you don’t have to be alone anymore, you try to believe them. For a while you might. Then you find just like those foster homes that love is not unconditional. After that comes the disappointment. So you build an exterior that prevents one from actually hurting you. You figure that if you can obtain this barrier that you can reduce the pain. It works for some time but then you sell yourself short by not allowing yourself to truly connect. To learn to love and be loved. So you start from where you stand and work your way backwards. You try to learn what loving others is about, then you try to implement that and love. But then we love too hard, give too much, and get too little. Because the world doesn’t see how empty the cup was. They do not see that you are walking around with a negative infinity when it comes to love. God says HE is infinity, omniscient, and omnipotent. That is only God. What about your spouse, your siblings, what about your friends? Is it their duty to try to fill this cup that you were born with? Everyone has an emotional bank and we have been going for so long with so little that when someone comes along to give all that we need. When they say, “you don’t have to be an island” we proceed with caution. They do not really know how much we need. They do not know how much I need. It takes time, devotion, and love. Unconditional amounts to keep that cup full. One action of neglect, one action of rejection could send that emotional bank back down to the negative. Unlike a bank account or much like a bank account there seems to be a credit history. The three C’s that are so common in credit that builds your ability to get more from the lender. When the three C’s are damaged it takes years to build that report
Nonetheless, I say all this to say. It doesn’t end after foster care.
So how do I get the love back when it’s gone. One thing about foster care, it was the best emotional boot camp I ever endured. I learned to pick myself up because 9 times out of 10, the people you think love you will be the first to turn their backs. Then you will be left with yourself. Why do we let those barriers fall that we took years to build to protect ourselves? Because we did not want to become another statistic on top of a statistic. We did not want to become like our mother or father so we tried to learn from their mistakes. I think I learned a lot in my 25 years. Perhaps more than what I bargained for. Never stop loving. It is the greatest gift you can give someone. Which is why it is a gift. They do nothing to deserve it. There is no credit when it comes to love. You either give it or you don’t. Whatever you do, do not give it when they do something deserving and take it away when they do not fit your bill of perfection.
I do not mind loving hard even if it leaves me feeling alone. I cannot give my love because I feel like I need to get something back. I give it because I know what its like to not be loved by people who should love you. For that, I will keep on giving the gift that keeps on giving. Even if no one ever gives it back.
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