They say it's one of the most difficult things to do - to say goodbye.
It was the one thing I really hoped I would never have to say on this foster care journey. I prayed that our first placement would be a permanent one. It's just that I hate saying goodbye at the best of times & to have to let go of someone who I've mothered....it was unimaginable.
But I did it, we did it ( I'm so glad Dave was with me because I could never have left on my own)....and it hurt as much as I thought it would. I handed these little ones, who I have come to love, to someone else. I waved goodbye & tried to smile for their sake. And I peeled clinging toddler hands from my arms & walked away with tears running down my face.
Even now it hurts....so, so much.
We've had these little ones with us for almost 3 months. I sometimes wonder if we had known that they would be with us for so long, if we would have changed our decision about their placement. I never wanted to be a place for short term foster placements. Respite - yes, we do that easily. A permanent placement - that is our ultimate goal, but short term placements are just hard. You get attached, you learn to love & then you have to let go....and it hurts...for everyone.
When I knew they couldn't stay with us forever, my heart tried to harden. Ha! Alas, my sensitive heart....it was no match to hurting eyes & arms longing for hugs & little ones begging for goodnight kisses. It was no match for flowers picked just for me, and pictures proudly made just for displaying on the fridge & a boy who declared many, many times that his name now carried our last name instead of his birth one. And so I got attached. Far more than I ever expected, knowing full well they would be leaving. I enjoyed every part of having a bigger family. While there were so many new & different dynamics & we were dealing with behaviours that were completely foreign to us, it still felt right - this foster care journey. However, whenever we considered (& reconsidered) them staying forever, we knew it just wasn't possible. Our decision didn't change - even when our hearts did.
And so our house is now quiet. (Well as quiet as a house filled with 4 children can be.) Their bedroom sits empty. The toddler toys packed away, the board books back on their shelf. It is all back in waiting...waiting for the next precious one/s who need our family to love them. (How I long for that to be soon).
And the pain of goodbyes - I know it will ease over time. But I'm so glad it's there because I've always declared that if I don't hurt, then I haven't love enough.
I did love enough...