Last Friday was a hard day.
Let me rewind a bit. Life with 10 kids is hard. Working full-time, the demands of life, work, kids, sports, health…you name it, I felt all the demands. Somedays I would lay down to sleep at night and I couldn’t believe where the day went. Life was flying by and it was taking a toll on me.
I knew foster care was going to be hard and unpredictable. In October 2019 when we took in J&J, we NEVER for a moment thought that they would be a part of our family for 17 months. This past Friday, we said goodbye to them and a piece of our hearts went with them.
30 days ago from today I made one of the hardest phone calls of my life. I called the foster care placement center and asked to put our 30 days in. Giving your 30 days for foster care means that you are asking for the children in your care to be moved to a new home and that gives placement 30 days to find a new foster family for them. Do you know how hard it is to make a call and ask for 2 little girls that you have loved and poured your heart and soul into for 17 months to be moved? I called and explained our situation and reasoning to the placement worker and broke down on the phone with her. She even said to me, “It really seems like you care about these girls, are you sure you don’t want to take some more time and think about your decision?” I knew this was the right decision for us, for our family, for the girls, for my marriage and for me.
Last December I started to have some health issues and my body was simply exhausted. Looking back, I am almost positive that a lot of what was going on was due to stress. To be honest, we were feeling burnt out. The girls are super sweet and loving, but some days were really hard with them. We could have a really good day and then something would trigger something with one of them and our great day would come crashing down and we could get spit at, screamed at, hit or kicked. We called this a trauma meltdown. This wasn’t their fault as most of what has happened to them in life they have had no control over. They don’t understand why when they see their mamma on a phone call or in person that they just can’t be with her. Things must be so confusing for them. Here they sit in a home of a family where they don’t look like us and are trying to figure out in their sweet head and heart why they are with us and not their mamma. I am a Mom. I am supposed to be able to fix all problems and solve all the issues of the world, right? There were so many things that I couldn’t fix for J & J.
Trust me, I have been through every emotion possible over the past 30 days. The feelings of guilt, selfishness, pride, exhaustion, fear, sadness, excitement, joy, hopelessness….I have had them and so much more. Am I causing them more trauma? Am I making their lives harder? Am I causing sadness and pain for our own kids? Is it okay to feel a little bit of relief? I still don’t have all the answers and I still am feeling all the feelings.
I got the call last Friday in the afternoon that they had found a new home for the girls to be moved to. Normally, the foster mom should not be the one to move the kids from one home to the next. Actually, that is probably the last option that should be on the table. However, I offered to drive them to their new home so I would be able to see where they would be, make sure they would be safe, and from one mom to another, hand them over safely to their new home. Honestly, they should have told me no and a transporter should have taken them, but God knew I needed to be the one to drive them. On the way to their new home, I prayed with them and talked with them. Do I think they understood any of what was happening? Not, One. Bit.
Watching my kids say goodbye to them was so hard. They loved and adored Lanie. She was a little mommy to them. She told me that some mornings she would be so bored that she would wake them up just to have something to do and someone to play with. They LOVED to brush Abbie’s hair. They had a secret hand signal with Sadie. They adored Molly and loved to sit in her bed together and play will all of Molly’s stuffed animals. They loved to sneak into the boys rooms and wrestle and “pretend fight” with them. They shared a room with Kenadie and the kitties. They were/are a part of us and who we are. And just like that….they are gone.
It all happened so fast. Dan couldn’t even go with me as he was driving to a soccer game with Gavin 2 hours away. I loaded the last 17 months of their lives into the back of the van and drove them to their new home. Basically, I feel/felt like a failure.
When we arrived the girls ran right up to their new foster mom and gave her a huge hug. They ran into her house and just like that…they were gone. I had a good talk with the mom, shared stories, laughed and cried. She has my number…I have hers. This is NOT typical of foster care at all. Again, I can see God’s hand all over this transition. I asked to see the girls one more time, gave them a huge hug and a kiss and told them how much I loved them. They ran back inside (I am sure they must have had a really cool playroom) and I drove away.
I had a good cry. It was like they didn’t even care that I was leaving. Again, I know they don’t understand any of what was happening, but my heart was aching. Was this the right thing to do? I still don’t know.
What I do know is that God made it very clear to me that this was what was best for the girls and for our family. They will be well loved and taken care of at their new home. We will be able to get back into a routine and rhythm and do some of the things were couldn’t do for the last 17 months. It’s only been a few days, and my heart is still grieving. I keep saying that I need my heart and mind to line up. In my heart I know this was right, but my heart will never be the same after loving them. They will forever hold a piece of Mamma Sue’s heart. We spent the last few days living our best life with them at the beach, the zoo, and celebrating moments like being able to finally paint finger nails after 17 months of biting them and breaking that habit!
I wish I could tell you more and fill you all in on all of the details that went into this decision so you don’t think we are horrible people. There is just so much I can’t share. What I can tell you is that there are so many kids that need people like all of us to love them. If you can’t take them in, please pray for them. Support local non profits that help families doing foster care…please do something. All of these kids deserve so much more than what the foster care systems gives them. The system is broken…I can tell you that.
I have gotten a few texts from the new foster mom and the girls are doing well. She says that once they are adjusted she will let us video chat with them and then maybe one day in the near future be able to have a in person visit…please pray that this can happen. We want to be a part of their lives. We want them to know how much we love them and that this move was because we love them so much that this is what was best for them in the long run. It’s so hard to explain. What I can tell you is that my heart aches, my heart hurts, my heart misses them way more than I thought it would. I feel like I should have been able to do more. Basically, I’m still a mess!
We will continue to love on Baby J which brings our children number down from 10 to 8. Baby J is doing great and she has a completely different story than J & J. I can’t wait to share an update on her, but for today, my heart was to share with you about saying goodbye to 2 sweet little girls.
Mamma Sue loves you J & J. We will miss you like crazy and we long for the day when we can hopefully see you soon in person….hopefully sooner than later so my heart doesn’t continue to feel broken!