Where did the time go?
I had anticipated writing a lot more about this journey as we went along, but four children, two pets, a large house, one handsome husband, and the short, busy days do not give me much time off. We have been battling illness to boot – for weeks it seems; I’ve missed these keys.
Baby Bear is now in his 5th month! He has two bottom teeth, really loves to sit up and take in the world, and he sure does love to be held. The way he curls into John’s chest and rests his head on his heart, well, it melts me every time. You can sense the safety he feels there, and it truly is a sight to behold; a boy and his daddy.
The one thing I have noticed that has been different about this experience than having my girls is that I pay a lot more attention now. I am certain when my babies were little I gave it thought and tried to stay present, but it just feels different now…
Perhaps it is because I know his story is not under my control, and every day is precious, because we ultimately have no say whether he remains with us or gets reunified with family. I’ve never been faced with the notion that my child could leave and I will never get them back… it feels like waiting for mourning great loss; all we do is wait and see, and love him exceptionally well while he is ours. Quite the strange limbo, but foster parenting is loving in limbo… its knowing the brokenness that came upon the most helpless of us, and stepping into the void where family is wrecked – becoming family temporarily so that the child knows love, and God, and goodness – until love and goodness can be restored.
There was a period of time a few weeks back when it weighed very heavily on me – that he could leave. I was in the thick of new motherhood to a newborn baby; no sleep, no sense of normalcy had set back in yet, and a circumstance arose in his case that gave me reason to believe he may not stay. I remember hearing of this for the first time, knowing from training and other foster parents that this day was inevitable, and I walked away from that meeting feeling numb. Feeling immediately knocked off kilter, I began to imagine his departure. I began to see the day I would hand him over and probably never see him again. It hit me, hard.
Because this little baby – this brand new life – had become my son. He had become a part of our lives and we had all gotten attached to our baby bear. It felt like waiting for the end of a chapter we were not ready to close.
In the midst of waiting for news, I did feel peace eventually. Peace because I knew signing up for this that it was not mine to control. I knew that God ultimately has His hand in all of our lives, and a big thing like this – where this precious child belongs for the rest of his life – was never up to me to decide. I felt peace from God in the thick of my sadness at the notion of letting him go, and I remember telling my neighbor that I knew it would be ok. I knew that if he left, there is a reason for that, and I will trust it even when it hurts.
She could not imagine the position we were in, and how we could have peace though we await such a sadness as letting him go, and the truth of that is a sacred one for me now; foster parenting is unlike any other avenue I’ve taken in life, and the risk of giving such devotion, love, and care to a child or children knowing that they will eventually leave – well, you cannot really know what that is until you stand here.
I’ve been marveling at this journey now.
As the days pass, he is just more deeply laid into our hearts. He is baby brother. He is our son. We would love forever with him – absolutely – yet we know that every day he is here is a gift, and we embrace whatever comes while having hope in bigger plans than ours.
He looks at me like I am his Mama. The sadness of that is not lost on my mother heart… and I grieve for his mom and dad, especially because they just missed his first Thanksgiving. They will miss so much – all the while we pray that they can rise above this and do their best for their son. If that can happen it would be a victory I could only ever celebrate, and so I pray for them every single day… I talk to our little guy about them, and I tell him how much they love him. And I will always do that – they are merely broken souls, so too am I, but it was their brokenness that brought me my son, and I could only ever thank God for that – though in my gratitude I am shattered because for him to be mine, he will not be theirs.
I pray. And I give my love to this baby. This precious, happy, peaceful, and cuddly little guy. My lovely boy. My son.
No matter what… I am so grateful we said yes.