Back in January I published a blog post called “Bittersweet”, about foster care and the pains of separation. This is a continuation of that story.
Mary’s new mom and dad were selected officially in January and it wasn’t long before visitation began. Mary immediately stopped calling us Nana and Papa and started calling us Mama and Dada. We had talked about her new mom and dad but never thought that at 15 months she would begin to understand. Anyway, if we would say “can papa pick you up?” she would respond with, ”No sir! Dada.” She would then hold up her arms so I could pick her up.
We began with seeing the other family at church and introducing them as our friends. We met on Wednesdays to eat our evening meal together. Finally we went for an overnight, and, all went fine. Each time she went to visit things seemed to get smoother.
Even when we tried two nights at a time, she did okay, but was really excited when she came home. We did this several times. All indications were really good that she was adapting to her new family. She had even started calling them mama and dada. We were back to being nana and papa.
Over time, we transferred all of her toys and clothes, delivering the last of her things on Saturday.
Her new mom, dad and big sister are so excited that she is there, but could not believe all the stuff that came with her. Now we have to back away for a couple of months so that she will fully bond to her new family. When we come back into the picture she will be mad at us, but at the same time she will be happy to see us.
In the meantime, we will have some rough times missing her, especially, our 5 year old. To her, that was her little sister, even though she knew the Mary wasn’t staying forever.
She and her new family will also go through some rough times. There will be new schedules to get used to, a new room to sleep in and then there is missing her first family.
But, we know that it will be okay in a little while. Mary was able to bond with us, so her being able to bond with another family will be okay too. The struggles that we survive only help to make us stronger.
Right now there is a big raw hole in our hearts. We are starting to miss that happy little girl. God will mend our hearts because we now have other things we have to deal with. We have a little boy that might need surgery.
Oh well, time to go because I have bottles to wash and papers to grade.
By the way, there are over 8400 children in foster care in North Carolina alone. Of those, over 2000 boys and girls are waiting to be adopted. You could change the life of a child. Or, if you know someone that is a foster parent, they are always in need of diapers, wipes, date nights, etc. If curious, just ask them how you can help.
***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.