May 19, 2014

But They Call Me Mommy...

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
Letting Go


Jolene Underwood said...

Oh how I know this! The five we cared for for 15 months had to move to another home and apparently they are back with mom and I was refused the chance to say good-bye, to remind them they are loved, to stay in contact with children who called me mom for so long and who learned joy, love & Jesus. It's so hard. It's so worth it but dang it's hard!
I just joined an online community group that will be starting via inCourage for foster moms. I don't know that we will be able to foster again, but my heart is so there. WITH YOU DEAR LAURA!
I wrote about this a few times on my blog.
Dreaming of Hugs & Love
When you have to let go
So much emotion So much love. So much more of the Father to be seen & realized in this process! BLESSINGS TO YOU LAURA!

Jolene Underwood (@faith_eyes)

I'd love to connect more some day. Hoping to be in MN in July in case you are visiting. :)

Jamie Hansen said...

Laura,this is so beautiful, heartfelt, and heartbreaking. I only met those precious kiddos a few times but I know how much they were loved and still are! Your family has such a big welcome and love those sweeties knowing this day would come. I am praying for you all. Praying for the kids as they transition to a new life with their dad. Praying for you and your family because I can't begin to imagine how much you miss them. Thank you for being such a good model of God's love at work.

Julie said...

My heart is breaking for you dear friend. I can't imagine how much this must hurt. (Well maybe I can... but time will heal this wound) Don't for a minute every forget the impact you had on these precious souls. Even if only for a time, it is the seed of love, God, compassion, family, that will go with them.

Anonymous said...

My heart aches reading this. This is coming for my boys too, I struggle living day to day with this looming ahead. I pray for you and healing. Natasha natashasparkman@yahoo

RichRoamer said...

I was already crying because court is Monday and then trial reunification starts. We have had our fd for 13 months. I am so happy for her mama and we have bridged so well that I think FD will be fine. It just hit me today that my goodbye is coming very soon. However mom promises to keep us involved. I hope she does for all of our sakes. I didn't think it would hit be so hard, but it just kind of knocked the wind out of my sail today.