Tag Archives: goodbye

Goodbyes

I am getting ready to say goodbye to Baby Incredible. He will leave me in just a few short hours after spending the last 8 months or so with me. Even though I say I am getting ready for him to leave me, I can never actually be ready.

Although I did not give birth to him, I have been his mom, in every sense of the word, over the last eight months. Leaving him today feels like I am abandoning my own child. He is going to wonder where I am and why I’m not coming back for him…I keep telling him that I love him and that I don’t want to let him go. He may not understand, but I hope he feels my message.

Heartbroken is the adjective that comes to mind. Foster parents volunteer to get their hearts broken. They know going in that this is not forever, but they choose to put their heart “all in” to that baby anyway, to bond with them, and to attach to them, and to love them as if they were their own.

No words can fix such heartbreak, but God can. The most comforting words I have heard are these: “God can only bless a heart that is willing to be broken.” and “God loves this baby more than you love this baby.” Amen

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Tears…A Story of More Surrender

Yesterday I got to work, and it was one of those days where there was a lot of conversation with co-workers.  They were asking me about another co-worker, a good friend of mine, who has been out sick.  They were asking me how I’ve been since the baby went to another family.  They were asking me how my relationship is going with my boyfriend.  It was good, but it was a little overwhelming.  Nothing I couldn’t handle, just more than a normal day. 

Then I went to my mailbox and found a blue bib with brown piping around the edges.  In the middle it said, “Lil’ Dude”.  It was lovingly placed in a large zip lock bag.  I immediately felt emotion well up.  I had been “fine” that morning, so fine, in fact, that I could even talk about Little Dude going to his new home without getting emotional.  There was no indication of who the gift was from, so I asked who gave it to me, not expecting to hear an answer, but more just wondering out loud. Image

The giver was in the office, a good friend of mine who I have known and worked with for nearly nine years.  She has kept up with my blog and knows that I refer to the baby as “Little Dude” and wanted to give me something special to remember him by.  I cried…not like a single tear or two dripping down my face, but like really cried.  I cried out of gratitude for such a thoughtful gift.  I cried out of sadness that Little Dude has moved on and I may not know what comes of him.  I cried out of the pain of the hole that has been left in my heart…a hole that I know God is going to fill in. 

When I got home that day, I got a phone call from my agency social worker.  She needed to get some paperwork from me, but the main reason for her call was that she wanted to see how I was doing, how I was processing giving up my first baby.  She also wanted to confirm that I was going to take a break for a month before accepting another baby because she had people at the agency asking her who she had available to accept babies.  I confirmed that I would, indeed, be taking a month off. 

When I got off the phone, I cried.  I cried because, although I know that it is the right thing for me to do to take a break for a month, I am afraid to surrender MY plans to God.  I am afraid that taking a break will mean that Little Dude was both the first and the last foster baby that I will get to take care of.  I cried because my agency is turning down four or five babies a day because they don’t have families to send them to, and I have the space in my heart and in my home to take care of them, to love them, to nurture them.  And I want to do it.  I feel called to do it.    

All of that being said, I have recent experience with surrender.  I know that God’s plan for my life is infinitely better than MY plan could EVER be.  I know that God will take care of me.  I know that my surrender will mean his blessings.  This call to surrender is a reminder that I don’t call the shots, God does, and I am happy to follow because I know His way will always be better than mine.  I don’t want to be in control of my life.  My best-laid plans have gotten me into some bad places.  God’s plan always leads me to wonderful places, most notably, back to Him.

With all of the tears yesterday, I got to laugh a little today with a good friend who I got to talk to for over an hour on the phone.  I make a lot of references to the show “Friends”, and it is all the better when  the people I am talking to know what I’m refereeing to.  So, today, I told my friend that I was relating to the “Friends” character “Phoebe”.  She was a surrogate for her brother and his wife and was pregnant with triplets.  I told my friend that I relate with her having to give up the babies after caring for them in the womb for 9 months.  

My friend piped right in and said, “My favorite is when Phoebe is sitting in the living room with Monica and Rachel, and she says, ‘Can I tell you something?  I want to keep one!’”

Yes, I relate to Phoebe.  I do want to keep one.  But mostly, I just want to follow the plans God has for my life.  His story for me is amazing. 

What Do You Need?…A Story of Goodbye

This morning I got the news that Little Dude will be moving to a new home tomorrow afternoon.  The news came from a friend of mine, as the social worker did not call me to tell me herself.  She thought she did, but she had the wrong phone number.  How, I don’t know.  She’s called me before and had no problems. 

Anyhoo, I got the word from a friend and called the social worker to hear it from her.  Turns out the parents aren’t doing all they should be doing, so DCFS is looking to place in a home where adoption is a possibility, in case parental rights have to be terminated.  This also happens to be with family members, which is a plus. 

When I first heard the news, I was sad.  For a few hours after I heard, I couldn’t talk about it without crying a little.  I immediately began to send out texts to all of the people in my life who have been a support to me and to the baby.  What I found is that I have a lot of supporters and the baby has had a lot of love in the time he’s been with me.  It made me super grateful for God and his kingdom.

Now, about ten hours after hearing the news, I do feel a sense of peace.  I attribute that completely to God’s grace and to all of my friends who have been praying for me today.  It confirms for me that The Holy Spirit is intervening and that I am meant to be a foster parent. 

While I do not agree with the timing of the decision, for reasons I won’t go into, for the sake of not giving too many specifics, I am happy that he will be with family.  I am also confident that God is going to completely take care of him.  Odds were so stacked against Little Dude, and he is doing incredibly well.  I know God has been watching over him and will continue to watch over him. 

I’m savoring every moment of what little time I have left with this precious gift from God.  I’m still completely humbled and grateful that God gave me such a precious gift to take care of these past weeks.  It has been a pure joy.

I would not change it or trade it for anything in the world, and I definitely want to do it again, even with the sleepless nights, the long commute to day care, and the pain of saying goodbye.  I know that God is in this because there is no way I would be able to handle this without him. 

My friends are asking me what I need.  From moment to moment, I don’t really know.  What I do know is this: I will have moments of tears and complete meltdown.  I will have moments of peace that transcends all understanding.  I will have moments where I don’t want to talk about it.  I will have moments where I just need to be hugged.  I will have moments where I will need you to do all the talking.  I will have moments where I will just need you to sit with me.  I will have moments where I will need you to make me laugh.  I will have moments where I just need to be by myself. 

I need my friends to remember that this is a brand new experience for me and to have patience with me.  I need you to remember that just because I’m sad, doesn’t mean I never want to foster again or that this is too hard for me.  I don’t want to be made to feel like this was a bad idea or like I’m being ridiculous by feeling sad because “I knew what I was getting into”.  Knowing and experiencing are two very different things. 

All of that being said, the two biggest things you can do for me are PRAY and love up on me: text me or call me or facebook me. 

I love all of my friends and family, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you who has supported me and loved me on this journey.  Thank you for being there.  Thank you for loving Little Dude so much.  It has made all the difference in the world to him, which means the world to me.

Today Marks One Month…A Story of Preparing for Goodbye

Four weeks ago I picked up Little Dude form the NICU.  I am really the first mom he’s known, a beyond special and humbling position to hold.  I’ve loved every second that I’ve held him, his little ear against my chest, listening to my heart and the sound of my voice as I sing or talk on the phone or visit with people who have come over.  There is nothing quite like holding and loving a sweet little baby who isn’t even supposed to be born yet.

When I heard from the social worker today, I was not expecting her to tell me that Little Dude would be moved to a new home soon.  That was not what was projected even a few days ago.  A few days ago, they told me I had much more time.  Plans change.  There are so many factors that go into making decisions about foster babies, and when human beings are part of the factoring, you never know what will happen.  There are no guarantees.

At first, I just felt numb.  Now I feel sad and have definitely shed some tears.  That’s how I know I’ve done my job.  As a foster parent, I am charged to take care of the needs of any baby placed in my care.  This means I feed them, bathe them, clothe them and take care of their every need.  I take them to doctors’ appointments and to visit birthparents.  I communicate with social workers and lawyers, developmental specialists, and others so that they get a picture of how the baby is doing and what more he could need.

That is only one piece of it, though.  The more crucial piece is that I love them and connect with them so that they are able to attach.  And, yes, the fact that Little Dude is able to attach to me means that I am attached to him.  I don’t know much, but I do know that developmentally, that attachment is crucial.  I’ve had experiences with teens who did not get that attachment, and they have such a hard time.  I don’t know if they can ever fully recover from something like that.

Does this attachment I experience with my foster babies make it painful to let them go when it is time for them to move on?  Of course it will.  I am just experiencing the beginning of that pain for the first time since Little Dude is my first foster baby.  Since Little Dude is a preemie, I would imagine that this time around it is going to be harder than it would have been were I placed with a full term baby who was a little bit older.

Love, attachment, loss, pain…why would I do this?  I am doing it because God has called me to do it.  It fills a desire of my heart that God placed there, and I trust Him.  I am being called to love like Jesus loves.  Jesus died for me while I was a sinner.  (Romans 5:6-8)  God gave me free will, so Jesus had no guarantee that I would choose to make Him Lord and Savior of my life.  He took on my sin and died for me anyway so that I could live life to the full.  (John 10:9-10)

Yes, I endure some hurt in this process, but I am doing it so that these babies who did not choose the circumstances of their lives will have a chance to get some of the crucial love and attachment they so desperately need in the earliest part of life so that maybe they will have a better chance in life, no matter where God takes them.