This phrase started as a “filler phrase” at bedtime – after the nightly hug and goodnight kiss. Filling up the spot of “I love you.” I said it to the boys we had this summer and I say it to E & J.
Immediately after I say it each time, there’s a great sadness. “I’m happy you are here.” It’s true, I am happy that they are here, and I was happy to have the boys here this summer as well.
But they are here because of brokenness. And that statement is a constant reminder. They are probably thinking “How could you be happy I’m here? I’m here because something went wrong, and you’re happy?!” Or perhaps they’ve never been told that they make someone happy.
Children enter foster care because of domestic violence, physical abuse, parental drug abuse, neglect, and many other reasons. The wounds they bare are often times hidden.
J makes his scars shown thru challenging behaviors. E is much “better” at hiding hers. In fact, she is often described as “bubbly and always smiling”, but what those people don’t know is that she is hiding behind that smile.
Through the months, I no longer need a “filler phrase”, these kiddos have my heart and “I love you” feels right. But I still add in that I’m happy to have them here. Somehow it feels right in a sad kind of way.