Hearts touch through this work

It’s been a dizzying month of getting affairs in order. I’m joyfully relieved that my recent life’s myriad dissonance may be resolving, and am hopeful that this caesura may last at least long enough for me to catch my breath. If I’m lucky, maybe catch a few more consecutive hours of sleep, too.

Some of my life’s (com)motion has related to the acceptance of a story pitch I made about the amazing social worker who trained my husband and me to be foster parents three summers ago. Around the time the editor emailed his response to my pitch, I was so overwhelmed with various other moving life parts I was reluctant to open and read what he had to say. But eventually I did, and quickly thrilled to his acceptance of the piece. I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity and responsibility of telling this story. And, damn, I hope I get it right.

The most amazing part of this particular storytelling process—and, really, about every time I write about my relatively limited experience as a foster parent—is the way it makes me want to get back in the game. Our trainer, whose compassion, care and calling to this work are beyond human, is in no small part responsible. But so are the foster parents I’ve interviewed who she’s trained in the 34 years of her career; the social workers she works with who choose every day to be paid so laughably little to do such necessary and important work; and the kids she’s cared for who somehow spring back to life after surviving horrific abuse and neglect.

“Don’t hearts touch through our work?” our trainer wrote to me once.

Tonight, my husband and I’ll discuss the logistics of how to pull off 15 hours of foster care training next month on parenting kids who’ve survived trauma. That’s training for three hours for three weeks on Tuesday and Thursday nights with our 10-month-old son in tow. Did I mention we both work full-time? I’m anxious about logistics for obvious reasons. But the more I work on this piece, the more convinced I am that this is something we need to do now.

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