Last week we took the brown eyed blessing for what would be our final visit with her parents. As I headed to the location of the visit a twinge of sadness came over me. True, visitation days are hard. I get yelled at, snipped at, cried on, backlash left and right but thru all of those emotions I see a hurt child who does NOT UNDERSTAND what is going on in her life. Even with all these emotions, seeing her face light up when she sees her family makes the emotional meltdowns seem simple and easy. Her family is always kind to myself and the other four children, and I have been stretched by the Lord in new ways thru each visit.
At this last visitation the only person who knew she would be leaving our home soon was the caseworker and myself. They do not like the children to know because with our system there are never guarantees, anything could change at any point. While I do not like the surprise element I have come to appreciate it the best I can.
For “moving day” we asked to drive her to her family placement. This poor girl was given ten minutes to pack and leave when she came to our house. The last thing I wanted was for cps to show up at my door and it be the same way. We wanted it to be a smooth transition, not filled with fears and fret but joy and celebration that she gets to live with her brothers again as well as her Tia (spanish for aunt).
Then there is the other aspect to why we offered. I’m selfish. I wanted to see where she was going. I wanted my kids to see where she was going. I wanted to lay eyes on her home. Somehow I had hoped this would make it easier.
Saturday after our agencies Christmas party, we told the children about Monday. We just felt led to and we had hoped that if we were not listening to the Holy Spirit His grace would cover us. Our brown eyed blessing clapped and rejoiced, and Emory sobbed. She sobbed over never seeing her again. It broke my heart. I understood the joy and I understood the pain and I felt a little like both of the girls and so did Bill.
Then, 6:30 on Monday rolled around. There we stood, all 11 of us in a tiny apartment leaving her clothes, her backpack, Christmas presents for her family, the crafts she has made over time, the bike Emory won at the agencies Christmas party that she selflessly gave to the brown eyed blessing, her photo album we made of her time here, and the sweet treasures others had given her and we hugged one last time and walked out the door, down the sidewalk and into our car.
Just like that we were out of her life.
You can never prepare for goodbyes. Ever. At least I can’t. The reality is that we will likely never see her again, unless God forbid she makes her way back into the system. We wont know if she passes the STARR test in May, we wont know if she ends up needing braces, we wont know if she makes straight A’s in 6th grade, we wont know when she gets her first boyfriend. We wont know this side of Heaven if she developes a personal relationship with Christ. Sadly, we wont know if she continues the life her sister, parents and grandparents have walked.
That is the part that hurts. That is the part that makes fostering hard. That is the part that forces us to keep a good supply of Kleenex in the house. For a selfish person like myself, it sucks. Royally. It’s reality though. It is the life that the Lord has called our family into. We are to love His children for the time that He has destined and we are to let go and we are to trust that He is sovereign and that His perfect will covers the brown eyed blessing as she goes on with her life. We are called to pray for her, pray for her family and we are called to continue loving His children without question regardless of who they are, where they are or what their story is. We are called to keep our doors open to anyone who needs a place to stay.
We are not guaranteed a lifetime with our own children either, so we choose love, faith and trust in the one who guarantees us perfect peace if we rest in Him and His will. We choose to follow Him, serve Him and obey.
Each of us learned our own lessons over the last two months. Each of us have things we wished we could have and should have done differently. We grew closer to the Lord during the tough times, and we rejoiced in the Lord in the good times. We know He is preparing our family for more but right now at this moment we do cry over the life that entered our life with a phone call and exited just as quickly.
As my sweet husband prayed last night “Lord give us strength to keep walking and trusting.”