The topic is meant to describe both today as well as our journey.
Today started at 4AM with packing last things and getting the kids up and in the car. And if you’re wondering our best attempts to sleep in the car didn’t work today. Too much excitement about donuts and a sprayground.
Once loaded in the car big brother said we should pack some bags in case he threw up. And extra ones in case everyone else in the car did, too. He’s such a thoughtful kid. Always thinking of others. 30 minutes in he used a bag. I had packed a themometer on the way out and his temp was normal. Just a bad cough.
So we continued. After the last trip almost being a single parent trip with the back pain demon attacking my significant other nothing was going to stop us on this much-needed final trip.
So we got to Krispy Kreme and told Big Brother that if he didn’t feel his stomach was ready we could take the donuts home. He assured us he felt better and didn’t want to go home. (He knew just the abbreviated details on the day so I heard this as he just wanted to have fun and not miss out.)
The next leg of the drive I was in the back – middle seat – joining for a movie and then reading books to the kids. The time flew by so quickly and I started getting anxious and figured hey… I can read one more book and then announce we have an appointment as Ms. Social Worker’s office.
The kids asked if bio dad would be there. I said I wasn’t sure. At this point there was not a 100% guarantee either or anyone would show up and I didn’t want to disappoint our kiddos. (I take no credit for this response. The kiddos’ therapist help coach us parents in advance.)
So we arrived – 10 minutes late… lots of potty breaks… – and bio dad was there. He was sad. And he asked to speak to my husband and me. We have talked before and this time we affirmed everything he said that this was a great decision for the kids and this wasn’t him giving up on them. I gave him a hug and told him as a friend he was making a really good decision for himself and his kids. Then guided by the social worker he met with the kids and hearing their response through paper thin walls was bearable. Gentle tears were shed from around the room but after the announcement was made – through a kid’s book – they colored and made bio dad some artwork to hang in his new house.
We were invited into the room and the transition was smooth until I asked my daughter how she felt and she said sad and a flow of tears followed. Bio dad graciously affirmed to the kids this was his choice, gave goodbye hugs, and he left the room.
Bio mom’s visit was much different. The social worker facilitated the conversation again and translated the same news that bio dad had just shared. The shrill of my daughter’s heartache was like none I had heard from her before. Helpless, my husband and I coached each other to breath in the waiting area. They also colored and made her some artwork. And yes, we overheard the topic of bio mom being 8 months pregnant mentioned twice.
After we were asked to receive our kids from bio mom and maternal gma and great gma our kids clung to my husband and me and my daughter asked if we could leave. We told her we would but needed to wait our turn – as the bio family was to leave first.
The departing car ride I again sat in the backseat and my son asked all sorts of deep questions about heaven and if he’d seen his bio family there. We answered with people die and go to heaven so he would see them again.
We just stopped in Columbia at a sprayground after my attempted Kansas City pick was a bust. The joy. The laughs from their faces and hearts was so beautiful and a reminder that they will be okay. Healing takes time.
So with that, I’m proud to say this part of the journey is over. The next few weeks I know will be a transition and a transition filled with so much love from our family and our community of friends and family.
While we wait for an adoption date we are also addressing a gap we recently found in the foster care system. Pardon my crass ending here… I learned from our financial advisor and confirmed with our lawyer that if my husband and I were to die before the adoption hearing our kiddos go back into the foster care system. Not cool. With the encouragement of a co-worker we have lined up 2 families who are friends of ours who are currently licensed foster/adoptive homes who told me I could make them our mental back up and one even said she’d be willing to put it in writing. I still need to ask the second if they will do the same. I will be working on formalizing this important back up plan this week.
Kids in foster care are victim to so much hardship and pain from the outside world and the foster care system itself. The very least we can do is do everything in our power to prevent further trauma.
Your prayers, encouragement, and ears have been appreciated more than I can express. Our journey isn’t over by any means but we do know with 90% certainty that we will be a family. Forever.
Written with a heart that was able to take a very deep breath today.