We just passed the 3 year mark since our two came home. That seems bizarre – because in the grand scheme of things, three years is nothing. Yet…it seems like an absolute eternity! Facebook has this newish “look back” feature, so I frequently read back on blog posts from 3 years ago. It is energizing, because it is almost a tangible way to see progress. I remember so, so well wondering if our kids would ever be healthy. If our family would ever be “normal.” If we were ruining our lives. Oh, how much peace I would have had back then if I could have seen a glimpse into the future. To see Jake covering Jax $2 when Jax began to tear up about being short for a lego set. To see Alyssa helping me with Oakley on her hip while the two of them giggle. To see the level of kindness and empathy and overall awesomeness.
We just came back from a great family lake weekend. While we were cooking supper tonight, J asked me if I thought it was a mistake. Was what a mistake? “Like…did I accidentally grow in my birth Mom’s tummy? Did someone mess up? Cuz I feel like I should have been in yours.” He asked me if I agreed. I know he wants me, on some level, to say – “yes, buddy, there was a terrible mistake. You should have been our birth child.” And yet, it is part of his and our story, and that. is. ok. His story is okay!
Our bonus boys went to respite care this weekend so that our forever family could have a little re-charge time. We called it a “slumber party.” When we were heading back to get them, J summed up foster care pretty clearly in one sentence. “My whole life was like one giant confusing slumber party until you gave me normal.”
A giant confusing slumber party. Isn’t that the truth?
We are at this really weird crossroads of foster care…the one where all things are coming to a head. Something is going to happen soon. Soonish. It’s the place where you start to step out of “survival mode” and start to really FEEL things. These past 4/5 months have been busy. Lots of diapers and chauffeuring and bed time books and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and car seat buckling. When you have six active kids, it’s sometimes hard to stop and really *feel* stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I feel overwhelmed often. Sometimes angry. Occasionally even resentful. We are human. I am both anxious to return to “normal” (haha) and overwhelmed with grief at the thought of them leaving. We signed up for this. I remember saying something about accepting the upcoming grief if it means these kiddos know love the day before they moved in. I stand by that. And also, it’s way harder in “real life.” These kids are younger, more attached, etc. We pick them up from day care and they excitedly say, “My Daddy!” or “My Mommy!” How do we tell them this isn’t permanent? How do we live with ourselves that we can’t be “forever” for them? It’s really frikken hard. And I want to tell you that it’s really frikken hard, because either you love them or you don’t. Both are exceptionally hard, for very different reasons. I want to scream from the roof tops that we need more foster homes. We need more families willing to adopt kids from hard places. We need more county workers who can find forever families and facilitate reunification and keep kids safe and support the people caring for kids from hard places. But…
How do I tell you this is incredibly painful, without you telling me I shouldn’t do this anymore? How do I articulate that these kids are worth it, while being honest that I am struggling? How do we keep putting every ounce of our being into these kiddos while preparing to say goodbye?
This is the crossroads we are at.