Often, we find that life is full of happy times, joy and promises of a good tomorrow. Sometimes those feelings are interrupted by pain and heart-ache, spurred on by not knowing what will happen or if the outcome is going to be favorable. Even if we are expecting it, sometimes it is not any easier. We just have to find a way to deal with the pain.
My wife and I are foster parents and have been so for a little over six years. Within these past six years we have had 19 infants live in our homes and hearts. Most have lived with us anywhere from 10 days to 6 months. Out of all of these babies only one has gone home to live with her birth mom. All of the others (except the two that currently reside in our home) have been adopted into loving homes, including our own.
In the short time that we have these babies we bond with them and they with us. The longer a child is with us, the stronger the bond becomes, as it should be. This week we start the process to let baby 18 transition into an adoptive home. Since she is our 18th baby I will refer to her as “R”, the 18th letter of the alphabet. We have also had this small child for almost 18 months.
My wife and I are loaded with mixed feelings. We love “R” as much as we love our own children. We visited “R” when she was in the hospital after birth and was finally able to pick her up from the hospital when she was 10 days old. We got up with her at night, took care of her when she was sick, watched her take her first steps and suffered through cutting teeth. We have watched her personality grow to that of a child full of life and a great sense humor. But as much as we love her, we know that someday we will have to let her go. This is what is giving us a really difficult time.
My wife reminded me of the story of King Solomon and the women who both claimed the same child. To insure that her child would live, the true mom loved her child enough to let the other woman take the baby as her own. It would be difficult to convince my wife or I that we are not the real parents of “R”. She has been with us much too long.
The saving grace is that we know that there is a family that cannot have children that is excited about “R” coming into their lives. They are much younger than we are and someday they may love her as much as we do. We will still get to see her on occasion and I’m sure that we will get pictures. The pain will still be there, but knowing the things we do, we will be okay. Besides, it won’t be long before we will get another call asking, “can you guys take another baby.”
***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo and the soon to be released Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo.