From Foster to Adopted Series
1. The Year to Today
2. A Pain I Don't Know
3.On the Eve of Forever
4. The Memory of Trauma
We signed the adoption paperwork last month. A year ago, almost to the day, Dare Bear left us and officially returned to his biological mom, L. The dramatic journey that joins us all together as a forever family has an anti-climatic arrival. One signature and we all move from foster family to simply family.
How did we get here?
How did we survive the 'final' goodbye to the permanent hello?
How do we start to heal from this journey?
Where do we go from here?
These are too many questions to answer in one blog post so over the next little while I will be share bits of our journey with you, starting with a summary of the year.
This time last year, Dare Bear had rejoined his biological mom, L, and Skywalker had just joined us. We missed him every day but we thought everything was as it should be.
Then it wasn't. He came back to us. I will never forget the look of relief that came over his face when the worker removed him from the car seat and handed him back to me. We may never know everything he went through when we were apart. I hope and believe there were good times during the 2 months he was gone. I know there were hard times.
We fell quickly back into our old routines, except now there was a new baby to take care of too. I honestly don't remember much of last summer. Between raising two high need children under two and the stress of not knowing if/when Dare Bear would be leaving us again, I was beyond crisis. I am just now starting to realize how difficult a time that was, as the light starts lifting the darkness.
The truth of last year is that we either said goodbye or were told to prepare for goodbye 4-5 times. As much as we were the regular caregivers in his life, we were the last choice for permanency. What made the goodbyes even harder is that they almost always started out with one of our workers tell us that he would be staying with us. Our hearts were filled with hope only to be mocked.
I have said before and I will say it again because it is an extremely important point: it has to be hard to permanently take children from their parents and biological families. Unfortunately, this means that children pay the price when the road to permanency is long.
Despite the long, painful journey, Dare Bear was baptized and his joining of our family forever was celebrated on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19th.
Adoption is messy and depends on deep loss. It is emotionally complex as my joy as Dare Bear's mother is dependent on another, just as true, mother's hurt. One of the reasons I didn't blog much last year was because the emotions were too raw. How do I capture in the moment my deep sadness at some of L's choices, my deeper tenderness towards her and my hurt and anger because of how some of these choices hurt our son?
As the dark fog of last year lifts, I can begin to see how far we have travelled. Stay tuned for the whole trip...