Needless to say, these past few weeks have been a struggle.
I've often been asked how I deal with the amount of trauma and abuse that I see every single day. Honestly the answer is simply that sometimes I don't. Sometimes it gets the better of me and I lose hope. Sometimes I fall into a heap.
I've realised that there is a very fine line between healthily distancing myself from a case and being totally numb to it all. I am not a robot. Sometimes that would probably be easier, but then I wouldn't be able to feel the joy either.
I've also been learning a lot about parenting. That it's an intricate mix of incredible joy and heart-wrenching pain. It has made me realise how much heartbreak I've put my parents through over the years.
But somehow I take that all and keep going. Sometimes what it takes is just going and spending time with the beautiful girls in our home - not seeing them as their past, but watching them as they laugh and play and be kids. Sometimes just one girl walking up to me and saying "I love you like a sister" is all I need to gain perspective again. Sometimes I just need to step back and look at the big picture and see their lives as a whole - with experiences of trauma and abuse, but also filled with love and joy and now, safety.
They are survivors. And sometimes that fight to survive is an absolute struggle, but that is what they are. And I have the privilege of watching them thrive and grow and overcome. There is no greater privilege. In the end, wading through the mess with them is totally worth it.