A Sudden Goodbye
We were not ready for the call – the one where they tell you the children are to go back home to their biological parent. That’s the call we got yesterday late afternoon. The social worker said if we would be willing to take the kids that same night. Of course, we would not wait until the next day. One night is another night these kids go without their mother. So, we agreed to get all their stuff together and meet in three hours. We agreed we would not tell them anything – they would soon know.
We managed to put all their belongings inside the car and still had time to spare. So, we sat with them and took pictures. I also gave Zoe Boy (ZB) his last meal with us. Zoe Girl (ZG) was not hungry. Even after just short of three weeks, it was hard to imagine our home without them. They had become our family. We truly love these kiddos.
It was time to go. Both ZG and ZB were saying good-bye to our dog Sugar. Now, they didn’t know they were going home to mommy. We told them we were going out to meet someone. ZG started petting Sugar and saying, “I love you sooo much. See you tomorrow ok.” I thought to myself, “No sweetie, this is the last time you’ll get to pet her.” This is the same little girl, who on the first day of seeing Sugar was terrified and asked us to put her away. Look at her now. So confident. So safe. Being so “gentle,” with Sugar – a word we taught them.
On our way to the meeting place, I drove. It was the same place of the first visitation, which left me with mixed emotions. The difference for me is that now I didn’t have to experience this alone – I had my husband next to me. As we arrived to the parking lot, ZG immediately recognizes her mommy’s car. We get out of the car and the social worker was there. Part of me was happy for them, but another part was sad that we would not see them again. My husband was really sad about this. It may sound selfish, but let’s be honest. When you attach to a child, you can’t help but feel that part of your heart is going with them.
We helped the mother put their belongings in her car. She gives us a huge bag of rice, a love offering for taking care of her children. I smiled and told her I was enjoying the sticky rice we were eating daily. We thanked her. I gave her a huge hug and told her that we would be praying for her and for her children. She smiled back. I tried to put myself in her position for just a second… wow, what great joy she must be feeling seeing her kids one more time, but this time knowing that she would be able to bathe them tonight, hug them, kiss them and give them her home cooked meal. I was truly happy for her and the children.
The goodbye was a lot more difficult for my husband than it was for myself. He cried saying goodbye, while I smiled as I said goodbye. One thing about my husband – he has a heart of Gold! He is a genuinely caring and loving individual. One thing to keep in mind is that we all grieve in different ways. If you don’t see this as a loss, let me tell you it sure feels like one.
As we are standing chatting with the social worker, their mother tells us she’s leaving. We wave good-bye for one last time. May the Lord bless those children… may He continue protecting them and providing for their daily needs, may He bring wisdom and strength to their mommy. We start driving off and there is silence. That all familiar silence…
Things we’ll miss about:
Zoe Girl – Her big smile, her loud laughs, bubbles, her love of stickers (I found one this morning as I swept), her long hair, all things princess, pizza, Dora, “Kitty Kat” (Hello Kitty), taking pictures, and learning (homework time).
Zoe Boy – His cute puckered mouth, bubbles, playing ball, his signs pointing to his mouth when he was hungry (which was often the past couple days), his kisses and tenderness, cars, dinosaurs, sword fighting with Albert, diaper changes (that’s when we did most of our eye contact), and coloring.
We will especially miss the daily bath time. We will always remember the first night we gave them a bath and how their eyes lit up as they saw the bubbles and the floating toys. As we continue on this journey, we will refer back to these moments of pure joy!
We Want to Hear from You! – Did you have to say good-bye? What was it like for you? How did you cope with the loss? What are some memorable times you had?