Cordelia will not be staying through the new year as we had hoped.
We will be saying goodbye a very few short days before Christmas. So close, in fact, that they can be counted in hours.
Y’all, this is simply breaking my heart. I do not want to let this little girl go. When she arrived, I had no thought that we would adopt her. By her sixth week, though, it became more evident that there was no one for her. We gave in. We drew her closer, we said yes.
And then, as suddenly as I was asked to prepare for her to stay, I was being asked to sit face to face with the woman who wanted her. The woman who, until two weeks ago, didn’t even know she existed. And now, I’m being asked to give this woman the greatest Christmas gift a person can receive. A precious, healthy, little life. I’m expected to walk into court and hear the judge rule that within hours, I am to carry that baby over all those walls I’d knocked down to let her in that very tender place of love and lay her in the arms of someone who also loves her so.
And I weep. I weep and weep because the truth is, as a foster parent, I have these places inside of my heart that I keep protected. I love my children with the same tenderness regardless of whether or not they stay for a night or a year, but the way I let them touch me and change me I guard. I have to. Each child affects us differently and each child requires a different amount of committment. When they first arrive, we love them deeply and immediately. As the cases develop, we begin to settle in and depending on the time the children are here, we commit more or less to suit their needs and their families needs. It all sounds very reasoned, but really, it just happens that way.
Regardless, they all hurt to let go. But this one is different and I’m grieving her before she’s even gone. Her every smile stings a little. Each time she reaches for my face with her pudgy little hand I ache. I’m gonna miss that pudgy little hand y’all. Like for real.
And yet…. She has people who love her so much that they are willing to drop everything to take her in. They are willing to fight for her and I know that there are children right down the road who do not have that. I know that there are children who are going to be needing someone willing to rejoice their arrival and grieve their departure deep in her bones. With Cordelia safely placed in the arms of her family, there will be another open bed in my home. There will be more room on my lap for another child. My warm arms will be ready to envelop them and love and love and love.
Because the best way to heal a hurt is to give out of it. And give, I plan to do… And give and give and give and love and love and love.
This is the hardest part. The very hardest part. But I can confidently say that it is so worth it. If you’ve considered fostering and you’re scared to try because it will hurt to say goodbye, let me tell you — it will hurt. It will hurt like nothing you can imagine. But it will be a good hurt. And you will be better for it. And the children will be better for it. And the families will have a chance to heal and change and they will be better for it. And when you can’t imagine hurting one more time, you’ll find yourself steeped in peace and in your grief you’ll be making room for someone new. At least, that’s how it works for me…