I love the adults at Hope Street. But I love the kids so much more. Honestly, WAY MORE.
The kids are awesome. At first they are super shy, no matter the age. Some are very hesitant at first..not sure if I am a “safe” or “trusted” person. They smile behind their mom's legs. They pop their head into my door, or the doorway of another staff member. They smile..their eyes begging, “Are you safe?” Yes. Yes I am.
As time moves, kids become so, so, familiar. I know their smell. It’s good. Some smell like soap. Like a fresh bath. Like hair gel. Like laundry. I know the sound of their feet. I can tell the littlest to the biggest. I know their laugh. I know the sound their little poof ball thingy makes on their purse. I know the way they clear their throat. I know this the way that I know my own kids.
In times of sadness when I have to do the hard job of telling their parents that Hope Street is no longer the fit for them I’m asking the kids to leave too. Not to their face of course. One last hug. One last word of hope, “I love you so much.” One last sniff of their scent. One last touch of their hand. I want them to be my kids. “Leave them here, I will take them,” my heart begs.
This is the worst part, the saying goodbye. I hate it. Truly, truly I tell you: I hate it. Please protect the hearts and the minds of the kids that are caught in the grips of their parents messy mess. Blessed be your beloved little sons and daughters. I pray that as these precious kids have lived in our Greenhouse they have felt love. Your love, the only love that is lasting. I pray they do not fall into the same “struggle” their parents are in, that they somehow come through on the other side. It may be a miracle I am asking for, but I know those are your specialty. Please.