We are now days away from our final goodbye. I feel like I'm currently in a bit of denial. If I could count the number of times I've been told he is leaving us in the past 16 months only to see it change or fall through, it would be a big number. People keep asking me how I'm doing emotionally through this journey and I feel like the answer is complicated. In a way I feel ready, the delays have only made the pain prolonged and it hasn't felt very fair to anyone to keep doing what we are doing when the judge has reached the decision. In the last month or two I've had to do some serious advocating, and push back on decisions that I knew were not in his best interest. I often felt very alone and angry, how do you fight a system that is so fundamentally broken? There were so many frustrations that occurred over a short amount of time that it had taken my eyes off of the fact that he was leaving, I felt like I didn't even have time to be sad! We were in this limbo period that seemed like it may just go on forever and I was so weary! I felt like I was giving 110% with no end in sight and I knew I couldn't keep this pace. But eventually, we got some answers and it was like a wave of relief...accompanied by some shock. He was going much quicker than we thought and the transition plan had again changed. My mind quickly wandered to different thoughts...I thought of my daughter, who has only known her "brother" and our daily routine together, how will she handle this? I realized a few of my family members never even got a chance to meet him. Is he going to think we abandoned him? Will he even remember me? How weird is it going to feel only having one child again? Should I make a memory book or send him with gifts when he leaves? How do other foster families handle this part? This is our first reunification, our first goodbye. I want to just stop all the swirling thoughts and forget what is right around the corner. I want to eat large squares of good chocolate and laugh at a funny show like The Office, sounds like good coping right?
But here is the thing. I have an unshakable peace from God, I know He is faithful and He sees us, all of us. Overall I am thankful. Yes, I know I will be so emotional and we will all grieve in our own time. I will not sugarcoat how hard this time will be, its a huge transition. But the good really does outweigh the hard, and deep down I KNOW that. I'm reading the Reframing Foster Care book by Jason Johnson and it has me in tears daily. The parallels he draws between this ministry and the gospel is enough for me to want to be a part of this for a long time. It is so humbling! My friend said recently that often our season of wait is God's season of work. That really helped me hang on in the last few weeks. During all the waiting time, I developed a closer relationship with his mom. God restored that in a beautiful way that I would have never guessed. We text each other regularly now and send photos. We share this child during the week and it has the potential to be awkward, but instead there has been a lot of love and coming together. And I even got to hear the words my heart needed more than anything else...that she would like to stay in touch after he goes back to her! She recognized the bond we have and she actually thanked me and told me I was a wonderful mother. If that isn't answered prayer and the kindness of God I don't know what is! I have cried so many happy tears seeing her succeed and love her son. The whole thing is bittersweet and that is ok. There are things that can still cause concern and of course I don't fully know if she is ready to be a Mom, this process is messy and some days I'm so fearful! But I have to give that to the Lord. We all had to learn how to parent in the beginning and we are never done learning. If we stay humble and teachable God can work with that. I'm comforted knowing she loves him and has fought so hard to get him back. We always want children to be with their parents whenever possible! So this is a good thing, even if it may not feel good. God gives us these little glimpses into His redemptive work and we get to be His hands and feet if we are willing. We may not ever see the whole picture or get the full story until eternity, but we can know He is the one weaving it together. SO good and SO hard.