Compassion Exhaustion

4yo Boy Coloring

This is A4 and he’s occupying himself during Katie and Millie’s afternoon choir concert (on March 9…)

A4 and R3 are equal parts crazy and cute.

I really enjoy having these little guys around.

We’ve had one night since January 3 in which we didn’t have an extra kid of some sort sharing our lives with us.

I’m exhausted.

I had a little breakdown two nights ago.

I sobbed on my 14yo’s shoulder.

It had nothing to do with the boys.

It had everything to do with the boys. And the girls before them. And the baby before them. And the boy during that. And the boy that began it all.

I just emailed my case worker and told her that the boys were welcome here as long as they needed to be, but that when the time comes for them to leave, I really need a couple of weeks off.

My friend Amy told me today I needed three weeks off.

She has experience. I believe her.

She called it compassion exhaustion and said the constant in and out and forming attachments and letting go can really take it out of us.

Boy, can it.

And I feel guilty for saying I need a little break.

But I do.

So I put in my request.

And now we continue to love on these little guys and we wait.



3 thoughts on “Compassion Exhaustion

  1. Jawan says:

    We are waiting on a phone call any day now for a new placement but we are thankful for the short rest. I agree with you completely….guilt laden, exhausted, and thankful. Your girls probably need a break, too….reconnect and rest!


  2. nick says:

    Megan, God bless you guys! I know your feelings well. Even though we’ve only ever had long-term placements, we’ve had our hearts broken at least once with each kid we’ve parented. And even when there have been “happy endings,” the mending of our hearts hasn’t necessarily been complete, and probably won’t be until the final Happy Ending.

    A couple of thoughts (that you probably already know):

    First, ministry (or, anything really, but especially ministry) carried on out of guilt will only damage you in the long term. And likely, it will damage those you minister to–and with–as well.

    Second, you can’t solve the orphan problem. Only Jesus can (and will) do that. And you’re not him.

    I hope those comments don’t sound flippant. I mean them only with respect and compassion. Take your break–freely and joyfully. Honestly, three weeks sounds short to me. Take the time you (and I mean, y’all) need to be loved, cared for, and supported.


    • Megan says:

      Good words, Nick, and I so appreciate hearing them this morning. I can say I do feel like we’re called to this ministry, but I also know that I’m called to my own family as well and the lines blur quickly in this particular ministry.

      I know our one family isn’t going to solve every issue and I’ve quickly learned we’re not going to solve ANY issues as these little ones are with us such a short time and then get placed into other homes over which we have no control as well.

      I think the hardest part is simply trusting that God really does care for these kids because the stories of redemption are not visible on this end, only the stories of hell. And for some of these kids, even ones who have spent time with us for a short season, will wind up perpetuating their family sin-cycle well into adulthood and that breaks me even now, even before it happens, even without knowing.

      I want to believe God cares and yet sometimes I wonder.

      More confessions here.


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