goodbye begins

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

IMG_0131I don’t know how to say goodbye. So when I dropped Baby D off at his relative’s house for the very first ‘transitional’ visit, it just resulted in a big sobbing mess of a drive to the store where we walked around until it was pick-up time. The littles asked a lot of questions – why wasn’t Baby D’s mom and dad there, why was I crying, were we going back to get him, why was I crying…I don’t have the answers for the questions they’re really asking. All I know is this is the beginning of the end of Baby D’s time with our family, and I don’t know how to say goodbye.

I struggle with judgment. My standards of living are just that, MY standards. Just because this isn’t my culture or my practice doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Can I really say Baby D is better with strangers than with biological family just because they sweep less often than I do? It appears to be safe. Sanitary. His sister is there. He seems to really, really love it. It wasn’t a reaction I expected. I expected the visits would go fine; he’s pretty easy-going, and he’s not scared of strangers. I just didn’t expect his excitement. When I pick him up, he runs to meet me, arms outstretched, but then he jabbers away, telling me and showing me his surroundings. Look! a kitty! Look! a baby! Look! toys!

I struggle with fear. Can this woman take care of him? I’m sure she can. But will she love him? Will she cuddle him close and kiss his face all over? Will she play his lullaby CD when he goes to sleep? Will she smile when she gets him up in the morning? Will he fall asleep on her shoulder when he’s tired?

I struggle with grief over something that hasn’t yet happened. I imagine our sweet boy waking up in a strange house, going to sleep in a strange bed, wondering where the family he’s shared half of his life with is. Half his life. That’s how long he’s spent with us now. He’ll miss us. We’ll miss him.

It’s best. Really and truly. He has a sister that he deserves to know, that he deserves to build relationship with. Our kids are separated from their sister (and several other siblings too), and it is a trauma and loss that should be avoided if possible. There’s a chance here for these babies. If they are separated for long at this point, they will likely never be reunited. We want them to have a chance at a life together. They deserve to be with family.

I hate saying goodbye. I hate saying no to forever for this child who barely remembers a different reality than the one he lives at our house, but I also hate the idea of him saying goodbye to his first family. His family by birth. He’ll forget us completely, that much I do know. This will never be a cognizant memory for him. But we’ve loved him. We’ve loved him since he arrived here, and we’ve loved him well. I know that he knows what love feels like. And that counts for something.

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