Become a foster parent, they said. Change a child’s life, they said. It’ll be an amazing experience, they said.
I guess I don’t really know where to begin. I’m having a tough time sorting things out in my mind. My crazy, argumentative, advocating, envelope pushing mind. The mind that is so confused. The mind that keeps asking, “why?” Our job as foster parents is to love the child, care for the child, protect the child, and give the child a voice. Until it isn’t your job anymore. It becomes not your job when being told the kids are going home. It becomes not your job when you’ve provided piece after piece of concerning documentation that seems to fall upon deaf ears. At that point, you’re harshly reminded that your “job” is to lay down on your back, look up at the sky, and watch it crash down on you – and be okay with that happening. I think it’s safe to say that we are failures at the latter part of our job.
I said to Mitch last night, “I’ve never been so exhausted, yet so determined to keep fighting in all my life.” The email came through this afternoon and I got it just before I drove home from work. The date of their return home has been given to us. Hence, the title of this blog post: The Day That Broke My Spirit – Part 1. As you can imagine, part 2 will come in about 6 weeks. I’m going to keep the date to myself because I don’t want to acknowledge it, but the gigantic, choking lump in my throat tells me that my heart is already a swirling fester of sadness. My eyes are welling up and I’m trying so hard to keep the tears from spilling over the edge. I am not successful.
For the first half of the girls being in our home, we were supportive and understanding of their return home. Don’t get me wrong – we weren’t going to throw a celebration, but we acknowledged how wonderful it will be for their little family to be back together. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen atrocious behaviors develop into bigger and bigger parental deficiencies, we can no longer support the transition home. As noted in the beginning of this blog, our opinion doesn’t matter. We feel used up and spit out. The depths that our sorrows are reaching go far deeper than we realized we had within us. The idea of losing the most precious gift we’ve ever had in our lives is unfathomable. Imagine, for just a moment, what it would be like to have to give your kids away and never hear or see them again. I know some of you know this feeling. For those of you without kids, think of the person you love more than anything in this world. All of the memories, love, ups and downs, everything – gone. Forever.
I literally physically ache when the idea of them going home forever comes to mind. It hurts so deep and so bad. I have never experienced pain like this before. When the emotions hit my body I feel like a porcupine – swiftly exposing my quills in order to protect myself from thoughts or feelings of them leaving. I can physically feel this. God, I wish I could describe to you how strongly I feel what I’m writing. Being unable to eloquently express my grief is frustrating. I feel like crawling into a dark hole and never coming out. I feel like just being angry because the world is unfair. I feel like even if I lost my shit completely it still wouldn’t get it all out. The ache that is lurking deep down will remain in that spot forever.
How do you love something so hard and be okay with letting it walk away? Those tiny little steps we helped them learn to make teetering off in the direction opposite of us. Can you not feel one tiny shred of our pain? I’m sure you can because so many of you have been invested in us and our unorthodox family since the day we announced we were going to become foster parents, since the day we got our girls, since the day we made the first post of their faces, since every milestone, since the beginning you’ve been there. Right there along with us trying to understand our story, encouraging us, celebrating with us, and now, feeling sad for us. If you say something nice and we don’t respond in the way you are hoping us to, please do not take it personally. The truth is that nothing is going to make us feel better right now. We are inconsolable at this point and I’m honestly scared to death of the day they finally go home. Forever. What will that be like? What will we be like?
Thank you for sharing this with us. We know that you didn’t sign up for the emotional mess that we are, but you’ve stuck with us and many of you have been so understanding. We’ve noticed, even if we didn’t say so, and we should have. Please just keep our little family in your thoughts. We’ve made a life together. We love kids that aren’t ours to love.