Our Son Is Gone

He’s not coming back today, tomorrow, or the day after. He’s gone.

Thirteen months ago, the phone rang. “It’s a boy!” A brother, a son, a new baby is coming to our home! Could it really be number 13?  A bakers dozen is very fitting for our family. Picking up our 7 lb 11 oz bundle of joy from the hospital was all a little surreal. But this time the cards were laid differently. The State would be pursuing an adoption in this case — something that the State wouldn’t dare venture to do from the get-go with our other nine adoptions, and this little monkey would be a part of our forever family!

My “littlest baby” is a little ray of sunshine that peeks through even on the darkest day. But now he’s gone.

Everywhere I turn there is a thought of you: the empty crib in my room; the carseat in the van; the toys on the floor; the little socks I find lost in the laundry; and your two-year-old brother wandering around with your shoes, confused because he can’t find you. But my days are no longer filled with you following me around, waiting at the window to see me come in from outside, standing on the side of your crib in the morning to wake me up, your smile, your laugh, your cute little jabbering, and your little “toddle waddle.”

The life of a foster parent is more than anyone can understand without living it. It’s an emotional roller coaster with twists and turns in directions you never would have thought. Yes, we hear you when you say, “You are so amazing.  I don’t know how you can do it.  I couldn’t imagine giving them back.  There’s a special place in heaven for people like you.” But guess what? I’m not feeling very amazing.  I’m not feeling like I can go on.  I’m not wanting to give him back.  I’m not feeling like there is a special place in heaven for me. I’m no stronger than you are. I’m a mother, just like any other.

I’m feeling broken, confused, sad, uncertain, and like I just lost my baby, because I did.

What I really want you to know is that the life of a foster parent is hard.  It’s emotional.  It’s demanding.  It’s frustrating.  And many times we are left without understanding.

What I really want you to know is that the life of a foster parent is wonderful, amazing, rewarding, and an honor.

It’s a double-edged sword, a balancing act to speak. Love them as your own.  Raise them as you would.  Provide them a place they are safe, a place where they can grow.  But be prepared to return them “back.” Every case is so different that you can never know or prepare for what lies ahead. The dynamics are never the same and everything is unpredictable. Even with years of doing this, it doesn’t get easier.

So many times I get asked right from the beginning, “Are you going to keep them?” I’d love to blurt out in every case, “YES!” But that’s just not the way this works. They have other parents, and in most cases parents that love them. Me saying their parents love them may blow your mind. You get stuck on the situation, on the evidence that brought the child into my home. But good or bad lifestyle doesn’t change the fact that they tend to love their children and may just be not so good at being a parent. And I want the parents to get their lives together. I want them to be successful. Often I find my heart breaking for the life the parents were raised in. They didn’t really have a shot at being a good parent given their own personal history.

I’m not a foster parent to be a hero. I’m a foster parent to help change lives, to be a safe haven, a calm in the storm, to influence for good, to lift up when needed, to love unconditionally.

While much is unpredictable in each case, there is much that keeps us going.

What I do know… I know that each child that has been part of our family has come for a reason.  Some children stay, some go, and some are just what we need in our lives at that time.  And for some, we are just what they need in their lives. I do know that we will build memories, have good times and bad, and provide a fresh start for many. I do know that it is possible to love unconditionally. I do know that it is possible for people to change. I do know that each child will make it where they belong according to God’s plan.

I do know that nothing is final until all is said and done. I do know that plans change. I do know that even though he is gone, there is still hope. There is hope that he may find his way back into our family. There is hope that the written plan of adoption may stay intact. There is hope for my littlest baby to be in our forever family.

While others will call us his foster parents, to him, I am his mother; to him, David is his father. To us, he is our son.  And while it is hard to get through each day, in the words of my dad, “While I breathe, I hope.”

Our Baby's Feet

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23 thoughts on “Our Son Is Gone

  • January 22, 2015 at 8:49 am
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    My heart is breaking for you!

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  • January 22, 2015 at 8:57 am
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    My heart breaks for all 13 of you. For the 12 that have felt the loss, to the 1 that would have had a loving and amazing family- I just pray that it was all God’s will and that something great comes from it. My love to you girl…..

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  • January 22, 2015 at 9:04 am
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    I am sitting here crying, my heart is breaking for you. Prayers to all involved.

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  • January 22, 2015 at 10:26 am
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    So nicely put. My heart is hurting for you and your family. As much as he loved you as parents and siblings he is losing also. He has lost brothers, sisters, mommy daddy that he has known. You have shaped him in his little years and know he will truly miss you guys as family. Prayers to you and your family and his new little life.

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  • January 22, 2015 at 11:23 am
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    We’ve had two placements that have each ended this way after 14-18 months in our home. Both were supposed to be adoptions until some very last minute changes in court. It is heart breaking, but does get easier over time. Good luck.

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  • January 22, 2015 at 11:25 am
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    I think of you daily. You inspire me so.
    Today, I read your words, “And for some, we are just what they need in their lives” with a new perspective. Perhaps he was given to you in this extremely important time of human growth and development so that he could get a rock-solid foundation before going out into a world less perfect than that with which he was surrounded as a member of your household-family. Perhaps our Heavenly Father intended for you to assist Him in building a strong individual, one who can (and WILL) create positive change in a world that needs it so much. Perhaps his new life circumstances will provide him with an opportunity to be in-touch on a daily basis with the people who need a role model and strong individual. Just think of the beautiful person you are sending out into the world to assist you in your mission of change!
    I know it’s not very comforting when your heart aches so much. My prayer for you is that you find peace and that you may someday be given the bonus of seeing the fruit of this sacrifice.

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  • January 22, 2015 at 11:32 am
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    HUGS for your entire family. Such a hard thing to go through!

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  • January 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm
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    Just found this morning our baby is leaving – shock! Thanks for posting and helping me remeber WHY I ever said YES 🙂 love u

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  • January 22, 2015 at 2:41 pm
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    I know ur feeling i lost my son nov. 12,2014. he was 5 Days old when he passed. i know the feeling. im so sorry.

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    • January 23, 2015 at 2:22 pm
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      Praying for you and your family too.

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  • January 23, 2015 at 5:09 am
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    This is why I hesitate to foster. I would so much be able to create a safe and loving home to a child in need. That said I am not sure I could stand having to give them back. Especially knowing that they may be going back to a home that isn’t 100% stable, that has maybe even a minor chance of being harmful to “my child”. To hard. I so admire you all that can do this. I know now that you hurt and I appreciate that your story is so honest. God Bless you and your family all of you no matter where they go.

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    • January 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm
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      It is a hard road Shirley, but one that has blessed us with many children. Thank you for your kindness. We do hope for the safety of “our baby”.

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  • January 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm
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    Try to be patient, accept the pain and know that you can do this, it will not always be this hard. This is easyier said than done but it is doable. You are in my prayers

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    • January 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm
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      Thank you Sarah.

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  • January 24, 2015 at 5:53 am
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    So sorry for you I live in fear. Because I also have been raising a baby since he was five weeks old and I love him so much he a year old now my kids also love him there adopted also .i don’t no if my heart can take losing him.
    .god bless you and your family .

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    • January 29, 2015 at 8:43 pm
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      Oh Alex. We will keep your family in our thoughts and prayers. Bless you.

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  • January 26, 2015 at 4:45 pm
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    Bless you both. David contacted Vance to let him know the news and to ask advice of him. When he told me, I just shook my head and felt your pain–my pain, for Vance and I, as foster parents, lost three little ones (all birth siblings) back in 1990. It was hell to lose my babies. Nothing could have prepared me for going through that–no foster care class or training, or anything else, as I know it was the same for you–except for my faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. I could not have survived the experience without my knowledge and faith in Him. You may never get your little boy back, but then you may. One thing I do know–if he’s meant to be with your family forever, NOTHING can stop it from happening. Our three were returned to us, plus a younger sibling, after more than two years. It took seven years to finalize their adoption. It’s critical for us to be placed in situations in which we are able to become acquainted with our Savior. He loves us too much to deny us those opportunities. May each one of you feel the comforting love and strength of our Heavenly Father upon you.

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  • January 30, 2015 at 10:58 pm
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    Thank you Amanda…this is a very accurate description of me and my husband’s lives as foster parents. I have read and re-read this post several times. It is comforting to me to hear another foster parent refer to their foster child as their son and to think of themselves as that child’s parents. To my baby daughter, who just went back at 15 months we will always be her parents. We have had 27 foster children, 14 of whom we desperately wanted to adopt. They have all gone back, one way or another…so for me, your experiences validate all of mine and bring some measure of comfort whenever I see the empty car seat in my station wagon, or find a stray baby sock. Thank you again. This meant a lot…

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    • January 30, 2015 at 11:03 pm
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      Thank you Suzanne, I’m glad that my words can be shared, and that I can express the feelings that many of us foster parents feel.

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  • December 6, 2016 at 2:02 am
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    We can never talk enough about eniocragung self-esteem for our young girls. Thank you for doing such a great post, and I’m glad that companies like Dove continue to promote healthier images and messages for all women.

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  • December 6, 2016 at 2:19 am
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    really ??? sounds like obfuscation to me, trying to marginalize the issue, and avoiding it with fear implications. Typical obama/fascist tactic. There is nothing on the horizon that points to this at all. Unless people on the left are threatening it, then they would be exposed for what they truly are. The rest of us don't have an issue with finally exposing the treasonists for their real colors.no guts, no glorytypical pot head response. this guy could care less about the constitutionif this where true why even have a supreme court to decide constitutional matters in the first pleat>?&lc;idiot response from a do nothing/know nothing politician.

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  • February 5, 2017 at 11:43 am
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    I’ve got the Abs diet book and I notice that every meal has some fat in it…why is this?I thought fat should be avoided if you want a flat stomach. Also won’t that shoot the cholesterol up by increasing fat intake?

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  • February 8, 2017 at 8:33 am
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    Creo que el presi de MSF lleva muy bien la entrevista y saca titulares interesantes sobre la necesaria renovación del capitalismo, la crisis de la UE, las caricaturas de Mahoma o el humor como herramienta de concienciación y transformación social. Un trabajo interesante.

    Reply

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