Our Girl Has Come Home
Today, I was allowed to be a part of a situation that highlighted the immense value of the five years I have worked at Amarillo Children’s Home. Today, Dalia* came home.
Dalia chose several months ago to leave ACH. She no longer desired to live within our expectations and care – she was making the decision to navigate her life without us. We sadly wished her well, told her we loved her and continued to pray for her.
Today, she chose to come home to us.
As I happened to walk through the meeting room, I caught her eyes as she sat around our boardroom table surrounded by the adults who will rebuild relationship with her as she returns into “our care”. Immediately she jumped to her feet, and I yelled at her in excitement. She ran and gave me a hug that began as a hello and ended as an embrace.
She is home, back among family. I told her I had missed her and asked how she was. She replied she was nervous, and I immediately knew what she meant.
I have known Dalia since coming to ACH. Dalia is not soft. I feel confident I would cry “uncle” in most situations before she would even think of quieting. Dalia is tough. She has had to be. Dalia does not easily rely on others.
But today, Dalia is nervous.
She is nervous because allowing others to love you and trusting others when you have depended only on yourself is hard. Dalia has relied on herself for too long.
Coming back to ACH is a declaration that she needs others, and being vulnerable makes her uneasy. Of course she is nervous.
I looked her in the eye and told her she didn’t need to be nervous, that we are glad she is back.
It’s hard to receive forgiveness – Dalia tried to burn bridges when she left.
It’s hard to trust others.
I left the building and went to my car, heading to my next meeting, when I realized Dalia’s biological sister and brother (forming of a group of 5 siblings who live here at ACH) were standing outside in front of their homes staring at the building.
I called them over and asked if they had seen Dalia yet. They hadn’t, but they knew she was inside.
Just then Dalia came out and they spotted each other. They ran at each other like a head on collision.
They embraced… they didn’t say a word… it was holy ground.
It wasn’t what it will be like to see those who have gone to be with Christ before us in heaven… it wasn’t what it will be like when we come into the presence of the saints in heaven when we pass and enter the presence of Christ… but it was as close to that as I have ever experienced this side of eternity.
Every day, every joy, every struggle for the past 5 years and for the next 5 is incredibly worth it.
These aren’t mere kids: they are image bearers of Christ. Their identity is being restored, they are finding their great value and they are becoming a blessing to others. These are not foster kids: they are valuable creations of God meant to experience, model, and reflect His glory. I am blessed to be around them. They have much to teach me; I can’t wait for the next 5 years!
Welcome home, Dalia,