It never gets easier.
Even after three times, the weight of putting a child you love, a child who will return to her home country, on an airplane at the end of a hosting period is so heavy on my heart that it feels like that very heart might fall clear out of my chest.
I spent the morning tending to our second host daughter's heart after spending a month coming to know and love her, all while knowing that I would need God to tend to mine after her plane departed. I spent the morning softly stroking her hair as she leaned against during the car ride to the airport. I spent it silently praying to be reunited ... someday. Sooner? Later? Never? It's not in my hands. Governments and courts and also she will make decisions now for the rest of her life, and I quietly entrusted this child, this daughter of my heart but not my womb, to the only Father who will never let her go.
It's not easy, this whole hosting thing.
But I love her.
She stops before she boards the plane and turns to look at us again. I can't not go to her; tears in my eyes, I hug her again before she disappears from my sight.
She boards, and my heart breaks under the heavy.
I cry long and hard into my scarf, shoulder shaking just a few feet away from the boarding walk.
Still, even amidst the heartache, I wouldn't change anything.
I would do it all again, time after time after time. I would cry all of the tears, feel the heavy ache of departure time and again because I know one thing is true: we never lose deposits of love.
No matter how hard the separation, the trials, the pain of goodbye, the hardship of living with distance in between, the love remains.
It remains when it isn't readily accepted.
It remains when arms cannot hold.
It remains when hearts hurt
and when hearts turn away
and when miles spread out thick in between.
Before I held our girls in our arms, they were only those whom I'd read about in articles regarding the orphan crisis. Before I held our girls in our arms, I was certain that I could never host a child or foster a child because how would I ever go on after these children left my home?
I now wonder at how much richer my life is, how much deeper our family runs for having known and having loved these girls. I now wonder at how much bigger God is and how terribly small my own little understanding of what loving the least of these actually meant ... and there's nothing easy about it.
There's nothing easy about entering into the distress of the fatherless and coming alongside people who have suffered great brokenness. To be clear, many of the kids are so lovable, our girls both have are so lovable, but their stories are heartbreaking. And there's nothing easy about being even a small part of binding up bits of brokenness ... but love prevails.
Love, the hard, messy, kind of I-choose-to-love-you love, remains.
It stands strong in all of the pain, and each deposit made in love is secure.
So, no ... this never gets easier.
But I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that I don't want to live an easy life; I want to live a rich one, deposits of love securely made and stored safely in our hearts.