I guess it’s been about a month now since our first little foster hooligan went home. I think I might be ready to talk about it.
The entire experience was so positive, so wonderful, so great, that we have since then been suckered into taking in two toddlers… One 14 months, one 17 months. Whew. That’s a story for another post that I’ll probably write in a month or two given my current writing track record.
But oh, little C. You fiery adorable little thing.
When Ja walked in the door every night, there was a squeal of “JAY!” and instantly needing a snuggle. His bedtime routine included a good snuggle, and when asked after the story what it was time for, he would enthusiastically yell, “BOBBLE!” The only one he got for the day.
The obsession with Thomas trains. The refusal to drink water unless it was slightly coloured….
I knew that he was going home on the Friday that he did. It was something I could just feel. I was actually rooting for his dad in court that day, basing my thoughts on my gut feeling, conversations with him, his interactions with his son. Even the worker was hopeful that he would go back to his dad.
We kept busy the day of the court proceedings. Visiting friends, waiting for that phone call. The call came around lunchtime that we were to bring him back to the Access Centre at 4. Dad would be there, and to make sure that we packed all of C’s things.
Even that part was hard, packing everything up. His little clothes that we had bought for him, toys, books, we packed everything into a big duffle bag. A very very full duffle bag. His life book, extra pictures of his time with us. All of those little things that we found all over the house that were a piece of him embedded in our family. It all had to go with him.
The kids spent a concerted amount of time playing with him that last day. Doing whatever he wanted. Making him laugh that big deep down belly toddler laugh over and over and over.
When it was time to go, we spent ten minutes, made a circle around him, and all of us prayed over him.
Talya prayed that he would miss her.
Eph prayed that he would always remember him, and that he would be safe and happy.
Zi prayed that he would always love books, and that he would be safe and happy.
I prayed that we would have had an impact, that the Lord would grow that little seed in his heart. That he would remember that we prayed every night with him, that we gave thanks for him.
We all cried.
We packed everyone up and off we went to the centre. I was so determined not to cry. It was such a mixed round of feelings too, I was very very happy for his dad. I knew that he belonged with his dad. I knew that he needed to be with his dad, and I had that gut feeling that this was a good thing.
At the same time, I was so sad that he was leaving us. The toddler spa wouldn’t happen with him demanding the nighttime cream on every leg, on his back, on his tummy. He wouldn’t name all of the Thomas trains for us anymore. He just wouldn’t BE here on a daily basis. I was sad for us, but happy for him and his dad.
I made it all the way to the centre without crying. Our little guy’s worker met us in the parking lot, and I just lost it. She was so kind and gentle… gave me a hug. Dad pulled up not long after, saw me all teary, and said, “Oh, you’re not supposed to be CRYING!” Gave me a big hug too, and started crying himself!
By the end, after the little guy was all buckled into his dad’s van, his dad’s carseat, we’re all crying, he’s bewildered at the tears, phone numbers have been exchanged, Dad was so incredibly grateful that we took good care of his son, I thanked him for being so wonderful to us, told him that he had ruined us for ALL other interactions with future bio parents…
… and then he was just gone.
The worker stayed with me for a few minutes, hugged me again, and then she said something that I will never forget. I had commented that I hoped it gets easier, sending the kids on.
She responded with, “You know, Jamie, I really hope that it never gets easier for you. I hope that you always care this much. It means that you are really doing your job when you welcome these kids into your home, and love them enough that it hurts to let them go. I hope it is always this hard to let them go.”
And that was it. We went home. Had some family time.
And woke up the next day to a quieter house.
((until we got the call three days later to take in a second baby….))