I have never been good at goodbyes.
I don't like them.
They are awkward.
I never know when enough is enough or the time should be up.
I really need a lot of time to say goodbye.
I prefer them to be long and drawn out, rather than quick and abrupt. I need closure. (Whatever that really is) When you say goodbye to someone what should you say? I like people to know how much they mean to me or have meant to me. I want people to know that our time together is appreciated & valued. That I cherish them. That I cherish the moments. That letting go is hard. Especially when you know it's a true goodbye, not a 'see you soon' or 'see ya later', but an actual, 'I will probably never see you again (not by my choice) goodbye'.
The anticipation of a goodbye feels like a dark cloud hanging over my head.
This past week we said goodbye to 3 precious children whom we didn't have to grow to love but loved the moment we knew they would be coming. Because love is a choice. It's a decision you make. Love is an action and we chose to love these 3 adorable little ones. An action that came so natural for all of us. These kids just molded right into our home and family as if they have been a part from the start. There wasn't a real adjustment part on their end. They really just melted our hearts immediately and seemed to feel so comfortable here from the start. They called us mommy & daddy, not because we told them to (because we didn't), but because that's what they heard our older kids call us. And to them, we were mommy & daddy. We loved them as our own, treated them as our own, embraced them as our own.
Our families, friends, church & entire community embraced these kids. So naturally. Seemingly effortlessly. Our little ones had friends, family, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, teachers that have all felt the loss as we have.
How do you say goodbye to a child?
How do you explain why they cannot live with you anymore while hoping they do not feel rejected by you?
How can you give a child the most consistency & stability they have ever had and then just say goodbye?
What do you say to the sweet little boy that says "No, I not going, I stay here, this is my house"?
I say we love you so much. We will always love you. I would love for you to stay here and be my little boy. But you have a daddy who loves you SOOOO much and he wants you so bad. And you are SO lucky you GET to live with him. And I do truly rejoice in a family reunited. A family made whole again. I know there is a bond there and I know their daddy will take good care of them.
I know I am not their mommy and that I was just "playing mommy" for only but a moment.
But they don't understand that. They call me mommy.
How do you explain that to a child so young, so impressionable, so sensitive, & so innocent that when their aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, & grandparents come for that final goodbye that 'this is it', they aren't going to see them again, this is their goodbye?
How do you say goodbye to the children you have loved as your own for the past year? How do you have a baby from day 2 of his life and say goodbye at 7 mos? When you are the only mommy he knows? When he looks for you? When you are the one whom he feels the separation anxiety from?
How do you explain that this is a good thing to your older children who feel like their siblings are being taken away?
How do you not cry while your daughter plays the piano and sings a song about the siblings she loves and how she knows they love her but they were "tooken away"?
I have empathized with all parties involved this entire time. I feel for the family who couldn't be with these kids while we took care of them this past year. I can only imagine the pain and loss they felt. I have never not been sympathetic to their hearts, feelings, or emotions.
I truly do rejoice in a reunification. I mean that wholeheartedly.
But I mourn for the cheeks I cannot kiss. The tears I will no longer wipe away. The encouragement I cannot give. The laughter I will not hear. The dance parties that will no longer be. The soft kisses they give my cheeks from their little mouths. The extra noise in our house. The messes. The chaos that is no longer. The boo boos I have kissed and made better. The sicknesses I will not hold them and comfort them through. The safety I can no longer promise and ensure under my roof. The songs they sing that I have taught them. The prayers they pray that bless my heart. The I love yous out of the blue. The "let me give you a big squeeze" daddy. The relentless chasing when it is nap time. The exhaustion at the end of my day. The joy & happiness I see in their eyes. Their smiles that light up a room. Their running to me with a 'MOMMY!!!!' & a great big hug when I get home from being gone somewhere. I mourn for the abruptness of this transition and my not being able to better prepare all 6 of our kids.
I weep for the insensitivity of others. I am frustrated at the lack of compassion and understanding from some involved parties. I am saddened by the strong bonds that have been broken too abruptly by the powers that be.
Our hearts and fight has only ever been for the best interest of these children, and I am saddened when I don't feel that has truly been grasped. Time can heal our wounds. Time may be what it takes. Time can help them adjust. However, when things happen so abruptly no one is allowed that time. Especially these precious little ones.
The outcome is what it is. It has always been the goal. One that we are on board with and have always been on board with. We have understood the goal. But the lack of adequate time allowed to best prepare these children & build ties, bridges, & bonds with biological family members I am saddened by. To be seemingly cut off just hurts.
We all must move on.
We will all be okay. Our prayers will sustain us all.
We know the joy we brought to each other and we know the love that we all feel. We know the truths. We know the wonderful times we have had. We know that we have known these children better than anyone this past year. No one can ever take that away. No one can take away the good memories we have made or the impact we have forever made on one another. These children have left their footprints forever in our hearts. Their memory lives on in our homes. Their sweet, silly, yet sometimes sassy spirits will always be missed & cherished.
"Memories are a key not to the past, but to the future" -Corrie Ten Boom
You sweet babies will always be in our hearts, thoughts, prayers, & memories. We would never reject you. We will always want you. We will always love you.
Follow up 7/23/14