Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tuesday Morning

People often say to me, “I dont know how you do it, I could never let them go.”

The truth is...I don’t ever want to.

These past four years and several hellos and goodbyes have taught me that nothing ever prepares you. You must walk the hard journey of letting go, foster care refines in you the art of letting go. There is not magic word or potion that makes it easier, you must walk every step of the process and in a way every tear I cry and ache I feel seems to validate this whole journey. It’s as if the art of letting go is teaching me the art of love, to have and to lose.

Tuesday we woke up working about our normal routine, getting everyone to school. The babies and I came back home after drop off to do laundry, play and take naps. Moments into our morning together I received an email 3 sentences long.

The email in three sentences began the unravel of 10 months of life together. It was over and he was leaving, we had 4 days to untangle 10 months of life lived. Our home is changing rapidly, in the last month we said goodbye to our Bear Cub #17months, hello to our Sweet Girl #2months and NOW goodbye to my Little Man #3.

You are never prepared for these moments, goodbye is counter intuitive to a Mama heart. I wept, those three sentences changed the course of our day, our week and our life. I ugly cried over the inevitable goodbye. He was leaving, three hours away and this was it for us. If Mom is to relapse he would likely go into a different community’s system so this is where our story ends.

If you are one of our local friends, you will say you have never seen a transformation like his. His hollow eyes and heavy heart came to us burdened, barely able to speak or sleep. His eyes now sparkle when you talk, he speaks in sentences and processes aloud. He smiles, loves and spreads joy wherever he goes. His presence in our home has been life changing, he came in and changed us.

The ache of my heart knowing this secret seems too much to bear at times. The hard part of this journey is not my loss alone to carry, how do I tell them?

I think of My Beauty Kennedy who adores him, she creates make believe games for them to play. She waits for him each morning and cheers when he gets into the car after preschool. I think of Daniel, who sometimes finds him annoying but delights in finally having his bottom bunk filled. I think of Charlotte who lovingly cares for him helping him tie shoes and pour breakfast. I think of Little One who delights in him and spends the entire weekend with her best bud. I think of the babies who will forget him quickly but who benefit from his big brother heart. I hate this. I want to delete the email and pretend that this is not our story. I want to close my eyes to the reality of this world. I want to say, “no thank you.”

I sat them down and shared with them that I got an email. That It was time for him to go back to his mom, that she was making good choices and was ready for him. I told him we would never see him again because I needed him to understand that this isn’t a visit with Mom, this is forever. Our story was ending but we would all keep growing and loving the world around us. I showed them all the emotions as I choked over the words and cried into our embrace. My promise is that each child who enters our home would know love. That we would embrace the process and the grief of it all and that we would not shy away.

My Mama heart was heavy but his three year old heart was delighted to hear he would get to live with his Mom again. We celebrated that fact through our tears and I tried to make sure he knew what I was saying, that he understood.

In that moment around our table, I fell a little bit deeper in love with them all. They all began to process and grieve and it manifested in so many different ways. One channeled her grief into the design and creation of a cake. Another went to the art table to make cards and pictures and My Big Kind Hearted Boy found a bag and began packing presents, to remember us by. They love well and each day they teach me how to do it.

Him in his little three year old brain started to “run” from it all, one moment elation and joy followed by pure sadness. One moment saying, “I won’t miss you” and the next crumpling into a pile of tears on my lap, whispering “I don’t want to not see you.” We measured our time out in sleeps, 4 sleeps, 3 sleeps, 2 sleeps and talked through his farewell party and our plans to say goodbye to his friends at school. He has been planning for months his birthday party which is a month away so we are pulling it all together and throwing him one on Friday, he wants a big big big Paw Patrol cake so we are making that happen. Our community is coming over to celebrate him and love him well.

These past nights I have found him in my bed, sleeping softly beside me. I have been unaware of when he came in, much like he did in the first several months. When he needed the security of me and the desire to be loved.

His heart is heavy, I can see it in his eyes, the hollow dark is beginning to creep in. He feels all the feels and we are riding each one with him. The up and down of the roller coaster, the cycle of grief. Does he understand? Can he possibly? At three how do you process the ache of foster care, the process of hellos and goodbyes.

For those who say they can’t handle the goodbyes, we are adults with coping skills, so we can. If they can, then we can. The loss and grief I feel is nothing compared to the love and joy he has felt these last 10 months. To pretend that these goodbyes don’t hurt like hell, would be a lie. In all the goodbyes I have done it never gets easier. Loving him These last 300 days was worth every ache now. To love and be loved is what changes us, to lose love makes us aware of it and to seek love is what heals us.

So Friday we celebrate him hard, we cheer and love him with every ounce inside of us knowing that this all matters. This time, this place and this Love. And Saturday we pack him up and say our goodbyes and we cry. 

Here is to my Sweet, Kind, Charming #3, all of the love, all of the wishes and all of the joy for you from here on out.


Sunday, February 18, 2018


In the depth and cold of winter, sweet new life took a breath as a baby girl entered into the world. Hours before a new day sprung, she entered in, showing the world who she was, from her first cries, she has been declaring the world to see her. She is joy. She is grace. She is peace. She is beauty, this little soul has embodied these things. 

Our family has grown yet again, I have rearranged rooms, washed and folded tiny sleepers and dusted off the baby gear. This month we have welcomed one more, a sweet Little Soul into our home. She shares a biological mom with my (14 month old) Little Man, she entered into the world just five days before he brother turned one.

We knew about her coming, thanks to social media. The timelines did not perfectly line up, my home was at capacity, so at birth I was not able to take her home. A dear fostering friend of mine stepped up and stepped in, providing a home and lots of love for our Sweet Girl in the first several weeks of her life.

Unsure of how these cases will ever turn out with reunification always being the goal and the balance of biological connections, I advocated and partnered with my friend to ensure that we could have a bond with this Sweet Girl. I was able to take maternity leave and spend my days with her the first several weeks of her life.

These last few weeks I have been back in the newborn rhythm of life. Our hearts are full and at rest as we soak in this little joy. Having a newborn as kiddo number 7, makes me laugh at the age old advice to “sleep when they sleep…” 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Transitions!


Our home has gone through another change, we have said goodbye to our Little Bear Cub. It was an honor to be his Mama these past seven months. People always ask me how I let them go, some “goodbyes” are easier than others.

This time we got to transition him from our home to his Aunt’s home. The woman who raised him the first nine months of his life, the one he first knew as Mama. The past seven months she was still a huge part of his life and we fought to keep their relationship strong.

She is his anchor, he is at peace and settled when he is with her. He is joyful and giggly. He adores her and she him.

He taught me a lot, our home is a sanctuary for many but I have learned it is not always the best home or the forever home. Our home was a home, he had a family and a Mama who loves him but now it is time for us to say so long and send him to the home where he can have permanency and doesn’t have to share so much attention a home where he has a future.

Much Love to our Bear Cub, we are excited to watch you grow. The picture of you at Halloween in your alligator costume hangs on the wall and makes us smile. Tonight we talked about you at dinner and how we miss your laugh and those cheeks! We love you!!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

One.


What my one year (14 months) old is teaching me...

To be free. We can be anywhere in the car, at the store, or at home having an all out dance party the moment he hears music, he dances. Freely, unconcerned of who is watching or where he is, he just lets it go.

Things you believe in are always worth fighting for. He is determined, each and every diaper change becomes a battle of distraction and redirection. He fights me with all of his might the moment I lay him down, diaper changes are wrestling matches in this season.

To smile at strangers. He is adorable, I mean off the charts cute (can’t wait to blow up the Internet with his face post adoption….COMING SOON)! Any time we go anywhere he sits backwards in the cart and just grins, ear to ear as we pass people. He does not discriminate, he does not care who you are, if he sees you...it is dimples out. He smiles at grumpy old men, peers, and people with cool hair. I watch as hurried people slow down and engage us, I am reminded that we all need and desire connection with others.

To see the world. His new phrase is “what’s that.” Each morning after I scoop him out of bed we walk to the window where we play the “what’s that” game. He points, asks and I tell him. He sees it all, soaking it in.

That each day is a gift that should be celebrated. I listen outside of his door for the squeals of delight as a new day dawns. I love to watch his expression as I enter his room, grin ear to ear as his dimples ripple across his face. He awakes with such innocence, unphased by the ache of life, he sees only hope in the rise of the sun.