As the process of our sweet baby Lulu leaving our home begins to pick up momentum, I am revisiting the familiar feelings of saying goodbye to Alexander last spring. I wrote this below about 2 months after he had left us, while sitting in the preschool parking lot waiting to pick up Eisley. I was feeling so overwhelmed with emotion that day and typed it out quickly in the notes section of my phone to help me process what I was feeling. I am not able to even begin to process what saying goodbye to Lulu will be like...I haven't been able to let my mind go there yet but I know all these same feelings will be there.
I have been thinking about Alexander often. He left us 2 months ago and I still feel a physical ache in my chest when my thoughts land on him. I think maybe I always will and I am okay with that. The day we walked into that nicu and saw that perfect, beautiful baby boy laying there will always be with me. That head full of jet black hair as soft as silk, those full cheeks and perfect little face. It broke my heart to know that no one was there for me, not to name or call him their own. And yet I was filled with so much gratitude to be the one to get to pick him up, take him home and call him mine for however long we end up having together. The two months we had with him were trying months. He was dealing with consequences of choices he had no part in making. There was much crying, very little sleep and lots of baby holding. There were hours spent pacing the floor and many doctors visits made to try to help comfort our baby boy. Every night while I walked the floors with him secured to me in a baby carrier, I prayed over him. I prayed God would protect his future, that He would call him to his side at an early age, that he would know he was so loved and so wanted.
When we heard the news he would he leaving us I felt like someone had pulled the floor out from under me. I always knew that was a possibility but I had chosen to love him as if he would never leave. Not because I am anyone special but because God had opened my heart to love in a way only He can do. I am bent towards guarding my emotions and operating out of practicality but thankfully God is bigger than the walls I try to put up.
I started to gather his clothes and print pictures of his first two months for he and his family to have. I picked out stuffed animals and books to send along with him. The kids drew him pictures and wrote notes to give to his family.
On the morning the caseworker came to take him to his family, I sat on the couch in a quiet house holding, what felt like my baby in so many ways, for the last time. As I handed him over I told her to please let his family know we are happy to help in anyway possible. Then I closed the front door, walked to my bedroom and sobbed.
Foster care is changing my heart. It is breaking it and reforming it. It is showing me how beautiful and valuable it is to love even at the risk of being hurt. It is revealing to me all over again how selfish I can be with my time and my need to control my life and future. It is teaching to appreciate and love my children on a deeper level. It is making known to me, in such a tangible way, that my need for Christ to redeem my brokenness is not different than the needs of the biological parents I encounter in this foster care world.
Our baby boy will never remember those first two months of his life but I will never forget them.