parting is such sweet, sweet sorrow*

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Five and a half months, and I’m in love with this baby. I can’t point to the moment it happened. I don’t know the turning point. It happens every time we take a placement. Sometimes I can point to the very moment I knew I loved them, really loved them, not in an abstract love your neighbor, love the little children kind of way, but a true feeling of love. The kind of love that makes me snuggle him tighter, kiss him more earnestly, pray with more passion, brings tears to the eyes, motivates me to make decisions for him that cause me pain type of love.

We’ve been hoeing the same row for the past five and half months. Supervised visits together. Once mom and dad separated, supervised visits apart. Three times a week, I load up five kids and haul the baby to visits. He giggles LOUDLY when he sees his mom. Practically wiggles himself out of his car seat. He comes home from those visits happy. Happy to be alive, happy that he saw his mama, happy, happy, happy. (He’s more ambivalent about visits with dad.) For the first time in our foster parenting years, we are glad for visits. Except for the fact that that’s all that has happened in this case. We’ve done visits. No other progress towards reunification.

Finally, at a team meeting (where all the players get together to discuss the case, progress on the case, possible changes to the case, etc.) this week, we are moving to a few unsupervised hours of visit per week. (This should be the first step of many – first a few unsupervised hours, then a gradual increase, then overnights, then HOME.) I am so immensely grateful for this case to move forward at long last, but we’ve been doing this long enough to know that as soon as things change, then they change again. I’m cautiously optimistic. I believe this baby belongs with his mom. I believe she’ll do a great job caring for him. I also believe that I can’t predict the future, I don’t know everything about this case, and that while I hope for the best, I’m not the one who will take the blame if things don’t work out well. So I continue to pray for this family and their future, not knowing exactly what that is, because I love this baby. Will it break my heart when he goes home? Most definitely. Do I want to experience that painful day? Most definitely.

It reminds me of what most people say to us when they try to explain why they could ‘never do what we do’. ‘I’d just have such a hard time giving them back.’ Yep: we will have a hard time sending him home. ‘I’d just love them too much.’ Yep: we do love him like our own. It’s painful. It hurts. We all know that about true love, right? It’s sacrificial. My feelings are not more important than what’s best for this child. So I continue to pray for the day he’s reunited. I continue to pray that we will parent him well in the meantime. I continue to pray that when that heartbreaking day comes, it’ll be the sweetest of sorrows. Because I love him.


*My thanks to the Bard for his turn of phrase that rings so true even centuries later.

EDITED: I’m linking with this post to Shaun Groves’ giveaway for the Together for Adoption Conference 2012. Click here to read his post and for a chance to win.

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