So the previous post, was our abstract thinking on fostering without adopting. Today’s is more the where we are today, with the knowledge that our Little Man is not really ours forever.
Here is the skinny. We found out in March that a member of his birth family was going through the process (home study, investigation, etc.) to be able to assume permanent guardianship of him. More recently, we learned this persons application has been approved, so the process is moving quite quickly now. We expect that Little Man will transition to his new home in just a few weeks.
So where does that leave us? I won’t lie. It’s brutal. We love our Little Man. We’d keep him forever if we could. But that is not our decision nor is it in our control.
The range of emotions include frustration, sadness, anger (at the situation), overwhelming love, and devastating loss…and a desire to squeeze every last drop of life and love into the few weeks we have left. We also wonder, did we do the right thing – for him, for us, for our sanity? (answers: for him – absolutely!, for us – we wouldn’t trade this time with him for anything, for our sanity – we’ll see…)
Mostly I rationalize and compartmentalize. I don’t have the luxury of time right now to dwell on being sad. We’ve got memories to make, smiles to cherish, and tons and tons of giggles to get out. Little Man needs us at our best and nothing else will do.
At the urging of my friend who has fostered seven kiddos, I’m also doing what I can to “prepare.” I’ve worked on his “life book,” which is part baby book, part photo album, so that it is as up to date as it can be (and am working towards getting all the photos in one place so I can burn them quickly to a DVD to send along). I have made lists of what clothes and toys need to get packed to send with him and I have packed what I can (Christmas stocking, Easter basket, etc.). I have made play lists of our favorite things to listen to. And I have made a “day in the life” guide, that tells pretty much everything about him you’d ever need to know from what he eats to what type of diapers he wears.
I’ve also borrowed a video camera from friends so I can capture a little of his essence for us for posterity, so we can smile someday when we recall his smiles and chatter. I’m guessing this will work in much the same way as it has when I recall Dad…it took a while to think of him without bawling, but now (mostly) I can laugh, smile, and chat about him without the heavy heart.
And we also have the knowledge of knowing that when God closes this door for us, he has already opened another in James. That is not to say that we can or will substitute one for another. It doesn’t work that way. Little Man will always be our first born, and will always have a huge space in our hearts (and in our home again, should that need ever arise). But having something truly miraculous to look forward to dulls some of the pain and sadness. Like Little Man, James can’t have mopey, depressed parents.
So where do we go from here? That’s a great question. After Little Man transitions to his new home, we will take a break. We’ll have a couple months to decompress, recalibrate, and get ready for James. We’d like to take a vacation, since it was so hard to travel with Little Man. (I don’t think I’ve been on a plane in almost a year!) Then we’ll take a while to settle James in. We are, however, doing the necessary training hours to keep up our foster license. And we’ll figure out in the new year, what to do next. There are lots of things to weigh there too…but that is a post for another day.