There are moments in life when you feel a sense of relief when a friend breaks up with someone who totally treated them like trash. And then there are moments when you’re the person who was broken up with and you weep surprised that you were broken up with at all.
Maybe these feelings are fresh. Maybe the memory evokes past hurts.
I had a late meeting tonight and upon arriving home, I opened the mail. Inside was a large rectangular envelope with something from the court system from across the state. Inside were two stapled sets of papers. The first page was a notice of when the judge would hear the following two sheets of paper for kiddo one. Following was an identical set of papers for kiddos two.
The papers read that bio mom has signed over her rights. Her rights to be the parent of big brother and little sister. A flood of thoughts run through my head and a rush of sympathy runs through my heart. After the judge hears her petition and bio dad’s petition next week our children will legally be wards of the state. Parentless.
Then in a few weeks… potentially two months… our children will be adopted. Their birth certificates will change to include my name and my husband’s name…. our ages at the time of their birth… and the name they will be called for the time between now and if/when they get married and decide to change their name.
History that is true will be erased.
I imagined the hospital room when each child was born. The first time their lungs cried outside the womb. I imagined the chaos they experienced at such fragile, young ages.
I imagined big brother’s and little sister’s experience for days… weeks… months of “not good times.”
Flashbacks of our kiddos’ file… of the types of situations that were reported to the state… time and time again… heat shut off… drugs… unattended children. Outside.
If I can say one thing loud and clear tonight it wouldn’t be to have pity on my children. It wouldn’t be to turn the other way when you see or hear a neighbor mistreating a child.
What I want to say to you tonight is my children are not damaged.
Children in foster care are not damaged.
My children are warriors. Champions.
Would you call a soldier returning from war damaged?
No. You could call her a hero.
You would call him a hero.
My children are heroes.
They are the ones who endured much. They are the ones who live each day as an adventure. They are the ones bold enough to share their stories with their forever parents… knowing they will not be judged. Knowing they are not at fault. Knowing that talking about the past can actually heal their hearts. Because secrets hurt. Because real love is not available only on good days. Because real love is always real. Because real love protects. Because real love gives hugs. Because real love celebrates being angry in healthy ways like throwing your own toys. Because real love celebrates big girls who can put on their own socks and shoes.
Going before the judge and signing for our children may be months or weeks away but our love for big brother and little sister will not wait another day to be real.