Of lost doors


I dreamed I saw her again

Her sweet little grin

Her sister hung back and wouldn’t touch me

But she came to my arms

And snuggled

And smiled

I held her

And when I woke there was a pit of darkness in my heart

That will not go away, still

And no matter what I am doing

There is crying in my heart

That does not show.

I am dying


I hate writing of loss

Because the tamest and wildest descriptions

Are equally true and equally ridiculous


There is a house near mine

Stately and serene

It had a pale blue chipped door

Like the blush of morning

And the soft, soft skin of an old woman’s hand

And the tender ageless hope of a robin’s egg.

I have loved it for years

Looked and longed and loved

The owners are renovating the house to sell

And one day they got out their paints

Their pretty, tasteful paints and made the door


Red. It is not chipped anymore, and it needed to be

Chipped and crackling and the palest blue


Why did I not think to photograph it while I could?

An old door on an old house is an unspeakably beautiful thing and

It is gone clean out of the world


On their birthday I obsess, full of regret and fear

Because we loved them, we loved them

But we could not keep them

We said we could not adopt them

Because of what it was doing to our family

Because the needs

Never ended

And we were never enough

And all six children deserved more of us

The twins deserved a home with less, and more

We stayed in the story and helped bond them with amazing pre-adoptive parents

Some days I know we did right

And some days the guilt and fear choke me


On their birthday

I want to bake their cake, want to see their morning faces bright and new

Want to make the homemade soup they loved

And suddenly I find myself sobbing because of the thing that hurts the most

I cannot remember how Twin B said soup


I am foolish, sobbing over a silly little bit

But that is the thing about


You do not lose once and then remember losing

You lose and lose, and go on losing

You lose the first birthday and the first Christmas and the first memory you cannot pull back

And maybe if you forget too much it will be like

They were never



Several hours later, I hear it in my mind

She said zthoop—a perfectly irresistible lisp that made me fill her bowl again.

I laugh in the middle of my crying and am grateful for this memory

For a photograph of what is gone



The girls are gone and the door is gone and sometimes we cry


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7 years ago

I love you.

7 years ago

Heartbreaking! I’m sorry.

7 years ago

Oh how it hurts to love sometimes! But it is always so worth it!!! Even though sometimes we wonder… But I know your one year with them has made a difference! Those twins were so loved even by some they hardly knew! Blessings as you continue raising your other littles!

7 years ago

We have three beautiful biological children, one of which is in heaven. We are foster parents too, one we’ve had for about a year and one that came within the last week. Both have had their own unique challenges and monumental joys. Thank you for your honesty and the beautiful ways you share the love, pain, joys, and struggles. I should be sleeping since they are all in dreamland, but when I see your email in my inbox I can’t help but open and read. Your writing touches me every time. God’s blessings to you and yours and in regards to the twins, may the love be what you remember most… Hugs from a mother who has also known loss.

Joanna Yoder
7 years ago

Tears for you.
I can’t quite imagine the pain.

I didn’t even think to mourn for the chipped blue door…I’ve loved that house ever since we moved here, and longed for someone to care for it. I was so thrilled to see it cleaned up and painted!

7 years ago

My heart goes out to you. We had a placement of three precious boys for three months & well after they were gone I missed them. There was no way we could keep them and they went to a really great home, but it didn’t remove the ache. Pain & our new (8 months now) long term placement certainly helped me move on, but I still think of them regularly & our bio children still talk about them. I’d love to see how they are going now.
May God hold you close & please know that it does get easier over time.

Mom Coblentz
7 years ago

You hurt now because your heart was so big and you loved so well!

Linda Stoltzfus
7 years ago

Tears. Your love is outrageously beautiful.

7 years ago

You do love so well.

I awoke with the twins on my mind and prayed for them. Then I see this piece of your heart. The Lord is going to do amazing things in and through them.

7 years ago

Oh. The heights and depths of love……….such beauty and fullness mixed with pain and loss.

You challenge me to love more fully today the people in my life!!!

And the twins…I miss them myself and only can imagine how MUCH you must miss them……

7 years ago

Eighteen years later, your words bring back the loss, the ache, the beauty and the honesty and the pain in that little face. Sister, please delete this concern from your list: “maybe if you forget too much it will be like they will never have been here.” Twenty years later, you will remember, you will pray for them, and they will still be in your heart. Don’t forget that “their angels do always behold the face of the Father in heaven.”
There are many of us with that same ache of loss in our hearts, and you have spoken beautifully and well for all of us.

7 years ago

‘You lose and lose, and keep on losing’ is the heartbreaking reality of loss. That resonates with me in a very different kind of loss. God be with you!

7 years ago

Reminds me of the quote “Grief is the price we pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” Loss is excruciating and never ending but we will never regret loving well.

7 years ago

I am so sorry

7 years ago

Thank you for this.

7 years ago

Ah, this is beautiful! You said what is so often in my heart when I remember my little one with Jesus. The fear of forgetting, the loss that comes because of loss, and yet the realization that my heart will never forget. Even when I forget some of the things I loved best about her my heart knows something very loved and beautiful has gone and there will always be an emptiness there. God bless you for loving, for caring for the little ones and making the hard decisions.

7 years ago

I’m so sorry for your loss. But so grateful that you are showing us how to open our hearts up, pain and all, to show love.

Thank you.

Ruth Anna
7 years ago

I’m sorry…..

7 years ago


7 years ago

I want you to know what you are sharing about this touches me. I feel deeply, but the words are hard to find. I am a foster mom who has said goodbye. I understand why people say they couldn’t do it. I can’t either without dying. I feel the dying and wonder how much I can die and still have a heart alive with Jesus’ love. Then I remember His words “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”. I cry then, as I remember my prayer that He would make my life fruitful and I choose to embrace dying as an offering to Him. Thank you for the many times you have shared your heart to point us to our Creator and Redeemer. God bless you!

7 years ago

I can’t imagine what an extremely difficult decision that must have been, losing a young brother to death I can feel your pain somewhat and all there is to say is nothing. Many hugs to you though!

7 years ago

Over here in my little corner weeping with you, toward the end of a hard, long day, when I didn’t even realize how much I needed a good cry. I needed the reminder in the middle of caring for one not born to me…to count each precious, crazy moment, and hold it close. And I needed to sit and remember the ones I’ve said goodbye to…you’ve described it well. I’m sending air hugs!!

7 years ago

Sending love and hugs. You have expressed it so well.

7 years ago

Oh my Shari…I just read this tonight…and my heart is tugged in so many ways…..

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