Our Unexpected Goodbye
2 hours. That’s the time I had between answering the call from DCS and waving as V and G drove away from our home for good.
There are some movies that last longer than that. Stories that can’t be told in that short of a time.
I scrambled to get home with enough time to sit all of the kids down together and tell them the news. We quickly packed up all of their belongings into any bag that we could find in the house that was not a garbage bag. I would NOT send them off packed in trash bags. We grabbed pictures off the walls to send with them, and wrote a little note in a thank you card, because it was all we had on hand. We threw dinner in the oven and let the kids do all of their favorite things. We hugged a million times. I cried my eyes out.
And then it was over.
It’s been over 2 weeks now, but I feel like I’m stuck in those 2 hours.
It’s the strangest thing, waking four kids up for a “normal” day. Making breakfast, folding laundry, telling the kids to clean the playroom 500 times, saying no to one more movie. Living in safety and predictability. And then in a split second, it’s all different. They’re gone. Now there are only two foreheads to kiss goodnight. Two empty beds sit in what is just the “guest room” again. It’s not natural, and it doesn’t feel right.
That’s the thing about foster care though...there is no predictability. You are not in control of the storyline. It is not natural.
To love someone unconditionally and know that they will leave you goes against human nature at its core.
But that’s foster care.
You get way too attached. You love these kids with your whole heart, embrace them as members of your family, advocate for their needs, hold them when they cry, talk them through big feelings, hold space when they are just MAD, show them the love and security that they need to continue developing, and fight for them. You take it all on, head first. And in the back of your mind, you know there’s an expiration date. They are not yours. One day they WILL leave your home, but never your heart.
But you do it anyway. Because they’re kids who just want someone to love them, and a safe space to call home for however long they need.
It’s not about you, it’s about them.
And so we move forward, with pieces of our hearts scattered across the state.
P.S. We were lucky enough to provide respite care for V and G, as well as their older brother unexpectedly last week. Such a happy surprise! We played Mario Kart, talked all about what they’ve been up to, and got to know their older brother. (Such a cool kid!) We have no idea if we’ll ever see them again, but we are so grateful for every moment we've had with them. And so happy to know they are with family that loves them.