We’ve all seen those pictures – the adorable kids holding a chalk board that say something like “I was in foster care for 852 days, but today I am adopted!” It’s cute. At first glance we think – I’m so happy for that child! Or maybe we think something about the adoptive parents “saving” the child. We click “like” on facebook.
But you know what? Someone offered me another perspective recently, and I think it’s right on. One of those 852 days that child was physically torn from his Mom’s arms. One of those 852 days was the day that visits stopped. One of those days was the day that a judge terminated parental rights. A day soon after that was the day a social worker told the child he was never, ever going home again. Probably several of those 852 days were days when a child packed their stuff up in a garbage bag and left everything behind. Again. One of those 852 days was a goodbye visit, where the child said goodbye to her first Mom and Dad forever. One of those 852 days was the day the appeals ran out. These 852 days are not inconsequential days spent waiting for heroes to save them – they are pain and grief and loss and fear and a sense of “limbo” most of us could never understand.
I remember thinking about making one of these signs – and had I been better at math, I would have. Adoption has been a giant learning curve, and I’m still learning. My daughter misses her first mom so, so much. She told me – “Mom, I can love having you for a Mom and still miss my other Mom.” And – she’s right. I am grateful for adoption – it gave me two of my children. I celebrate my kids, but I won’t celebrate their pain or minimize it in the form of days…not anymore.