our 11th foster baby, "G", went home two weeks ago after being with us for three months. her family was ready and we were and continue to be happy for all of them. we weren't sad, because as much as we loved having her with us, she belongs with her parents so there have been no tears over her leaving. she left our home as seamlessly as she entered, and for that i am truly grateful.
part of me started to think that i was getting used to this "love them with an open hand" thing that we are supposed to do.
but grief is weird.
because in the void of mourning sweet baby G's reunion, the weight of the loss and tragedy we've somehow learned to carry became overwhelming.
because as happy as we are for G, the knowledge that it doesn't always work out as well is even more apparent.
i mourn for the families that are broken and for the myriad of reasons that brought them to the point of having their children removed from their care. i imagine myself in their shoes, being told that i could not be trusted to provide a safe environment for this person whom i so desperately love, even if i could not show it.
i mourn for the sweet babies we have loved and the mamas we have encouraged and supported and rejoiced with, only to see their lives collapse again and again.
i mourn for the futures of babies who were born into the world already addicted to drugs, whose brains were forever altered before they even took their first breath, and for those who will face lifelong struggles from alcohol exposure.
i mourn for the children who cannot possibly understand what is happening in their lives.
i mourn for our own family who has had to say goodbye again and again and again to babies and children who had become our sons and daughters.
we attempt to lay selfishness aside even as we send these beloved children to an uncertain future, and are filled with anger and despair when these precious babies are once again abused and neglected.
i mourn for a system so overwhelmed and so broken that when decisions are made, what is truly best and safest for the child is an afterthought.
i have spent over a week trying, mostly unsuccessfully, not to cry.
when a song plays at church about jesus bringing hope to the hopeless and light to the darkness and i want to believe it so badly.
when I think about the birth parents who visit their children and bring bags overflowing with toys and candy because they desperately want to show that they are sorry and love them and don't know any other way.
when i am at my child's school and see a teacher's impatience and cruelty make another child cry, and all i can think is, don't you understand what a privilege it is to get to be a part of his life?! don't you see that he is a person worthy of respect and love?
when i receive a call from a birth parent of one of our former babies and my mind goes through a million possible scenarios before finding out it was an accidental call.
when my despair bleeds into my attitude and i just want to hide but my own children need attention and water and for me to settle arguments and to know that i am still here.
when a friend tells me that what we do must be Jesus because it's all so impossible. and it is.
grief is weird.
because i am happy for G, but i will let the tears continue to fall.