Dear foster and adoptive clients and friends: In a plastic and often hollow world, you are the real people. You are doing it, giving without recompense. Lovers in a me-first world. Like Pinocchio and the weathered and worn Velveteen Rabbit, it is your loving that makes you real. True love does not just happen. Involved is much more than providing room and board, nursing bruises, and helping with homework. More even than suffering their ingratitude and occasional defiance without striking back. Love involves seeing them as they are, letting go of yourself, and falling in love. Love involves hanging tough and committed through hard times. True love is incomplete without the cost. No one describes this complex dance more beautifully than Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet. ….When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you, yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you, believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. ….Love has no other desires but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. But most of you are not poets. You are action people. And in your love, you go a step beyond my poet. Despite the cost, many of you make your connection to the child permanent. With a promise that is more honored today than marriage, you file to adopt.