Monday, November 5, 2012

Love Wins!

"What?!! She's bringing her foster baby??  You're kidding!"  Not what I wanted to hear.  How could she ruin our coveted annual girl's weekend?  Babies and bed and breakfasts don't mix.  Why would she do that?  Karen says because the baby won't let anyone else comfort her.  In her short two years of life, she's had both arms broken and her bottom badly burned by the man called to cherish her.  My friend's introduction to her occurred in the crowded halls of Parkland's burn unit.  Doctors called the scalding pattern, "classic."  Others refused to foster her.  Her blisters repelled them.  Her wounds too deep.  Her skin too dark.  But my friend said,"Yes."  Yes to tears.  Yes to stares.  Yes to love.

When they arrived at the house, the baby seemed overwhelmed.  Too many new faces.  She clung to the folds of my friend's shirt.  Wide eyed--beautiful eyes--but tinged with terror.  Slowly her soul began to thaw, and she relaxed.  A smile escaped.  Did I catch a sparkle in her eyes?  And then this lost and rejected toddler said one word that tore through my mind like a knife-- "mama, mama--please, mama." 

"What?!!  She's not your mother, don't you know that?  You shouldn't call her that!  Can't you see she's one color, you're another?  Don't you know you don't carry her name?  You're only a foster child.  You don't belong--" came spilling out like blocks falling down onto the floor of my mind.  What is this about? I ached.  Why do rights, fairness and truth rise up in me?  Why do I feel that baby needs to know she's not home?

I think I hear loud echoes that whispered, "don't trust baby--it's not real.  It won't last.  You're fooled.  Keep your guard up.  You're not safe!"  Yet with every smile between them, every tickle, every laugh that escaped, the two of them shouted back, "She is mine and I am her's!  No scars, no wound, no color, no different origin can keep us away from each other."  What was so profoundly between them was bigger than anything that had gone on before them.  The baby's need to connect consumed her fears, her position, her memories of her own mother.  I rried to imagine this sweet toddler pointing to her dark skin, her ugly keloid scars proclaiming, "can't you see them?  This is what's most true about me.  Hold me at arm's length.  I don't get to call you mama.  I haven't earned the right."

That weekend I witnessed a miracle.  Love wins.  Love triumphs.  Pains and past recede.  She GETS to.  She gets to call her "mama."  She CAN relax.  She doesn't have to heal herself first.  She doesn't wear the label of "foster."  She doesn't carry any of the shame.  None.  She is her mama's daughter.  As light danced between them, my wounded soul gently warmed.  Thank you beautiful baby for giving me the gift of belief.  Belief that in my Father's arms, I truly am home.  Love really is bigger--what's between us overwhelms what went before us.  I can relax.  I am very much loved.  I am fathered.  I can leave behind what failed before.  I CAN live my rescue.  I get to!  And so do you.