It’s been more than a decade since we said goodbye to him, yet I remember it like it was yesterday. We met in the parking lot of the CPS office. We’d known the day was coming for weeks, yet we didn’t want to believe it.
When they placed him in our home they asked if we wanted to adopt. Strangely we had entered this new season of foster care where we were really just wanting to foster, yet the minute they asked the question we said yes. We knew that when he came in our home we wouldn’t want to say goodbye. Yet, here we were.
She had been there all along. Braiding his hair at visits. Bringing him toys and snacks. She showed up to each court hearing hoping to take him home. Yet everyone kept saying her home wasn’t a good place. She didn’t have the space. It was too messy. She wasn’t young enough to care for a baby. But she kept showing up.
The judge ordered weekend visits and a transition to her home. He’d be home for Christmas. We’d be without him for Christmas. We were devastated. We knew it would be hard, but no one can prepare you for HOW hard.
As I packed up his tiny little clothes, and much loved toys, I tucked in a note for her. I wrote down the things he loved, like listening to lullabies and being rocked to sleep. I penciled down his nap schedule and his favorite foods. And I sobbed. Thinking about how scared he would be. How confused.
When the caseworker took him from my arms for the last time I sobbed. He cried and reached out his arms for me. He didn’t understand. He wanted to stay. And yet…this was what foster care was meant to be. He was going home to family.
We were only supposed to be a temporary home. A home where he knew he was loved. Where he knew he was cherished. We did that. We loved him fully. We gave him our heart and he took a little piece with him. The goodbye was heart-wrenching, and yet we did it again.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month. Not everyone can be a foster parent, but we can all do our part to care for our communities most vulnerable children. What part will YOU play?
This blog post was originally posted on One Big Happy Home.