Sometimes when you love something so much you have to let it go. Sometimes life requires you to do hard, painful things because of a love so deep you have for a person. This is where my heart is right now, loving something so fiercely that I have chosen to say goodbye. In just a few short weeks we will say goodbye to E and his brother and I know it’s the best possible decision for them and us, but saying goodbye still isn’t going to be easy.
When the boys came back into care in December we knew the case was taking a turn towards adoption and we knew that the Lord had spoken to us and told us these boys weren’t meant to be ours forever. Prior to them coming back to us, we felt that was because they were meant to move back to their momma, but when things fell apart we knew that there was another reason and it was our job to advocate for them in every single way we could. My job turned from foster mom to advocate, and let me tell you I advocated for these boys more than I’ve advocated for ANYTHING in my life.
I spent hours upon hours talking to social workers, the GAL, and potential new foster families that were interested in taking the boys. I sent tons of emails and texts, and prayed every single night that the Lord would continue to keep their best interest in His mind as He determined their path. We met with three, yes that’s right, three families who were interested in the boys. I poured my heart and soul out to all three families, disclosing why we had made the choice to disrupt and why we felt it was in the best interest of our two little guys. I disclosed behaviors, trauma, schedules, routines, likes and dislikes to each of these families. I warned them about what they were up against while reassuring them they could do this and the boys would be a wonderful addition to their family. We welcomed two of those families into our own home for meet and greets. They got to know us, see where we lived, and met the boys. It. was. exhausting.
By the time the third family came forward and met with the boys at our home, I had nothing left to give. I prayed so hard that this would be the right family, but I knew even if it wasn’t I wasn’t giving up. These boys needed someone to advocate for their needs and this is what I was born to do, fight for them when they didn’t have a voice to fight for themselves. I wasn’t about to let them go to a home where they wouldn’t be loved on and cared for. They needed a special family that could continue on with their case but be open to adopting them, and they needed someone who was willing to fight through the challenges of the trauma they’ve been exposed to and the effects it’s had on their tiny bodies. When the last family came forward, I was skeptical because I had watched two other families walk away and I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
When the “A” family met the boys for the first time, I’m not going to lie, it was a little awkward. We were exhausted at this point and the boys were tired of having new people in their house. They spent 2 hours in our home and we spent the majority of it in silence. I learned right then and there that this wasn’t about me being comfortable, it was about the boys finding the best fit for them and if that meant sitting in a silent living room while our dog barked loudly upstairs and we awkwardly smiled at strangers from across the couch then I was willing to do it, because they needed a voice, and I had been given the privilege of being that voice. After our visit the family informed their worker that they were all in and they were committed to taking on the boys and loving them for however long the Lord allowed. When we finally heard these words, I felt as if I let out a sigh of relief while being struck with a pang of grief. It was finally happening–we were really going to be saying goodbye.
The past 2 weekends the boys have spent time with their new, hopefully forever, family and it’s been such a change. The family is completely smitten with them and I couldn’t be any more grateful; at the same time I’m so sad. I’m so sad because E has been my baby for over a year and we will finally be saying goodbye. I know this is what needs to be done and I know this is the best answer for everyone in the long run, but, man, is it still hard. I don’t think I’ve fully let my heart feel the extent of the grief that I know I will have to experience, but I know that this was all still completely worth it.
This is something about foster care that so many people say but I don’t think many “outsiders” really understand. How can you love someone so much and hurt so bad when they leave but still claim it’s worth it? It’s worth it because where would these boys be if we hadn’t said yes? Would E and his brother ever have been able to be in the same home together if we hadn’t agreed to take in brother when he was brought into care? Would the boys ever have moved to a potentially pre-adoptive home if it wasn’t for us? Probably not. Do I attribute all their successes to what I’ve done for them? Absolutely not. All I did was listen to the call from the Lord when He spoke and told me I needed to love on the children of my community. I make mistakes daily. I get frustrated, am more selfish than I’d like to admit, and worry how I will recover when we say goodbye again, but I know that it’s worth it.
So as we spend these last few weeks with our sweet boys, I will cherish every last second I have with them while praying for their future and their new family. I will love them as much as my heart can while also slowly letting them go. And when I feel sad or overwhelmed with anxiety and grief of the big changes about to come, I will remember that sometimes when you love something so much you just have to let it go.
Bailey and her husband have been married 4.5 years and live in South Florida with their foster children and crazy dog, Nessie. After suffering from infertility for over a year, they felt the Lord calling them to a life of fostering. They began their fostering journey in September 2015 and took their first placement in January 2016 and have had eight placements over the two years since. Bailey shares glimpses into their life on her blog, Whichever Shoe Fits.