This afternoon we say our forever-goodbye to the two sweet toddlers that became an instant part of our family a little over a year ago. I am so happy for them, and their brothers, and their mama who has worked so hard. She's ready, they're ready, we're as ready as we can be.
Maya made each of them a coloring book.
Charlotte gave Baby Girl a stuffed animal with a note around its neck that said, "I hope you have a good time."
Milo gave them two Pokemon cards.
We will stand in the parking lot of the courthouse and give hugs and kisses and say "I love you"s. We will tell them that we are so excited that they get to go live with their mommy, even as our hearts break over what we once thought might be our forever-family.
We may or may not get to see them again.
I will continue to get reminder calls for appointments that I won't be taking them to.
I will wake up in the night imagining that I hear Little Man crying out for me.
I will find little reminders of them; a sock tucked inside a shirt sleeve, a hidden "just in case" stack of diapers, a sippy cup under the trampoline.
I will read "One Fish Two Fish" and remember that it was their favorite.
We will worry about how they are doing, and wonder if they think about us.
We've been counting down the days until they go home, but how do you explain to a three-year old what "forever" means? When he asks over and over how many sleeps until he sees his mommy, and then how many more until he sees you again.
We will pray for them and rest in the knowledge that God is not done writing their story.
We will take a break from this chaotic and beautiful foster life, and reconnect with the three amazing kids who have given up so much of our time and attention over the last year.
My heart already longs for the day we will take another sweet child into our home. Experience has taught me that, as much as I hate that foster care is needed, there can be beauty in the ashes.