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Saturday, July 12, 2008

One Giant Leap

I'm counting down the hours until I take the biggest leap I've ever taken in my life. Tomorrow afternoon, I'm leaving with a group of people to be a "camper buddy" to a group of foster children. This is not the first time I've attended this camp. Instead, this is the hardest "see you in a week" I've ever said.

The camp is dedicated to children who are wards of the court. Essentially, this means that their parents were found to be unfit which resulted in each child being removed from their home and thrust into the foster system. The stories I've heard as a camper buddy are enough to bring nightmares. Each child has a different story and each story is awful. For example, my Dad (a 6 year volunteer to the camp so far) has(this year) been assigned a little boy who is 6 years old and has already been in 5 different foster homes. Two years ago, the boy assigned to him was abandoned by his mom and left in a crack house. If you could have seen his appearance, you wouldn't forget him either. His face is forever burned in my mind.

Notice, the 2 children I chose to mention were not assigned to me. The girls I've had assigned to me have left such an impression on my heart, I still can't shake them from my dreams. I see their face as if it were only yesterday I said goodbye to them. I always remember to say a prayer with each thought of them. To say any more about these girls is just too hard for me. Even now, I'm choking back tears.

As I put things together to return to camp this year, my heart strings are being tugged in a whole new way. I'm leaving my little boy behind to go spend time with one of these children. I know he'll be fine. I know he's in great hands with his Dad and his Grandparents. I guess what wrenches my heart is the thought that someone needs me more than my own son.

My first thought of going back to camp was of knowing that Alex has a great family and a promising future. That's what made my decision so easy to return to camp. The children there don't know love like my son does. It just breaks my heart to know that those children have gone through things most adults can't stomach.

To obey is better than sacrifice.

God put this camp on my heart years ago. I often joke with Mike that one year I'll come home with a daughter...or at least the paper work involved in adopting her. I know that I'm supposed to go and ooze God's unconditional love into one little girl's heart. Yes, I know these things. I understand the call and the direction. I just pray God keeps me strong while I'm away from my son.

Please keep me in your thoughts this week.


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