Beyond Mountains: Our foster care journey begins 


“Beyond mountains there are mountains,” a Haitian proverb that has had a pulsating presence in my soul over the past several weeks. It makes me feel expansive, hopeful. The words take me back to Alaska. A place of endless mountains, of feeling small. Feeling so wonderfully small. 

Maybe I’ve clung to that proverb because that’s what I need most lately. To feel small again. But after our long awaited foster care certification, there naturally came a child. And naturally the child came with little possessions but big baggage, a big past and was in need of very big support. 

And suddenly with it all, I had to be big too. Big enough to remember all the paperwork, the appointments, the acronyms, the workers. Big enough to make big decisions for another human being I didn’t even know existed weeks ago. 

I have to be big enough to hold, big enough to give, big enough to set limits, and big enough to forgive. I have to be big enough to wipe faces and wipe tears. Big enough to pour out all I have and big enough to hold the pain and trauma as more comes spilling out every day. I have to be big enough to be safe. Big enough to be whatever I need to be. 

But being big makes you tired. Being big makes you dream of being small again. And being big makes me long for mountains. 
Even the thought of endless snow covered caps sends a chill of hope down my spine and a weight lifts from my chest. A place for my soul to stretch out. A place to feel small. 
Beyond mountains there are mountains, I whisper to myself during the screaming rage. Beyond mountains there are mountains I think to myself as I mend the scraped knee after an intense bout of basketball. Beyond mountains there are mountains, I say to myself as I rock and reassure during the thunder storm. Beyond mountains there are mountains, I remember with goodnight hugs and best attempts to answer tough questions, questions that no child should ever have to ask. 

And when I curl up in my own bed at the end of a long day, I make myself small. I make myself so small. I listen to my heart beat, a steady pulsating sound in the night. Tomorrow I will be big again. I will do all I need to do again, hopefully a little better than I did it today. 
And as I lie there I remember that beyond mountains there are mountains. 

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