Many of you know that we have had children come and go from our home over the last few years! While every single child that leaves our home brings heartbreak, we had one child in our home for almost 2 years, and him leaving hurt more than any of the others! He came into our home at just 5 months old. I'll never forget the social worker knocking on our door. I opened it to find him carrying a carseat with a sweet little brown eyed boy staring up at me. I smiled immediately at him and he immediately smiled back! It's a moment I'll never forget!
But then there is another moment I'll never forget. The day he left our home. We knew it was coming, we had been prepared by the social workers, yet it was something we could never truly be prepared for! I was sitting on my porch swing with my mom, who just happened to be in town that week (total God thing)! My husband was doing some yard work and my father in law had walked over from his house (2 houses down) and was talking with us. A few minutes later the phone rang and it was the social worker giving us the news that our precious boy would be leaving us that day. Tears immediately filled my eyes as I processed the situation. I knew in my heart that he would be okay. I knew he was going to be reunited with his family, who loved him and deserved to be with him. Yet my heart broke.
He was napping when we found out and I immediately went to wake him. I knew I needed to start packing up 2 years worth of belongings, but that was the last thing I wanted to do. We had 2 more hours and I simply just wanted to be with him. I picked him up out of his crib and sat in the floor and just held him. I cried softly so he wouldn't hear me and every now and then he would pick his head up off of my shoulder, look up at me with those big brown eyes and I would smile. He would point to my tears and lay his head back down on my shoulder. I couldn't hold back my emotions. I was getting ready to lose a child that felt like my own. It hurt so much. I can never fully explain it.
No matter how much it hurt, I knew I had to let him go. I knew I had to say goodbye. There was no fighting this situation because we knew it was right! It was what this precious child deserved and what his family deserved! What birth family doesn't deserve to make things right? I understand that there are birth parents who have lost their chances at making things right with their children. There are birth parents who don't even genuinely try to make things right with their children. But, in this situation, that wasn't the case! Not at all. I knew it. My husband knew it. The judge knew it. The social workers knew it.
So, we said goodbye. And it hurt. I was emotionally drained for weeks after he left (probably even longer)! My husband internalized his feelings. They came out eventually and we both dealt with those emotions and grieved in our own ways as well as together. I can honestly say it's still hard to this day to think about him and not become emotional at times.
Today was actually one of those days. But the emotions I felt today were different. It wasn't an emotion that brought sadness, but instead joy and gratitude! I got these pictures below from his family today. A family that loves him, makes him laugh, provides for him and gives him everything that he wants and needs.
While it hurts in the moment... it gets easier.
While it seemingly breaks your heart in two ... it gets better.
While it doesn't seem to make sense right now.... it will.
While it will be hard... it is SO worth it.
I am so grateful God gave us the wisdom to say YES to this precious boy 3 years ago. If we, like so many other foster parents, had NOT said YES, we would not be able to see the fruit.
The fruit of foster parents who choose to listen to the voice of God, instead of what is easiest. The fruit of birth parents who choose to fight to fix their mistakes, instead of allowing their mistakes to define them and their future. The fruit of a little boy with so much joy on his face because he gets to be with his Dad. The fruit of an adult sister being reunited with her little brother. The fruit of a Grandmother being reunited with her Grandson. The fruit of two families coming together and becoming friends forever, all because of a little brown eyed boy who we all love so deeply.
I cannot wait to see the fruit of the future because I know the best is yet to come.
I don't know what heartbreak, or trial, or grief you are working through right now in foster care, but it gets better. It gets easier. It won't always feel this heavy. Keep looking for the fruit that comes through obedience!
And know, that no matter what, God is sitting on the throne and fighting for these children. You need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)