Agh. Today was a killer. I attended the goodbye party for the three little wayfarers I have looked after for three years, who are going to their adoptive home tomorrow. A hard day for their foster mom, and for me, as we have loved these kids. A harder day for the grandpa who is seeing them leave town to go farther away. And for the young uncle who wanted to adopt them and couldnt because he is already a single dad and it would have been too much. Lots of hidden tears and turned away shoulders, that straightened up and turned back around to present to the kids smiling faces that tried to be happy for them finding their forever home.
When I first arrived, the boys came running, calling my name. Three year old J. told me excitedly, "We're going with our mummy and daddy!" This was very positive. Five year old R. is trying to roll with yet another big change in his short life - the seventh! - but has fears and anxiety of course. He has been through this before. I doubt he understands that this will be the last move - to him it is the next move, and he has been happy with the foster parents.
The new parents are nice but brand new in their lives. I stayed for two hours, playing with the kids, grabbing a hug where I could, helping them with food, just watching their day unfold around them. Someone gave the boys bug catchers and they were out stalking in the field looking for crickets. Then I could feel my strength ebbing and my own emotions surfacing, and knew I had to leave while I was still strong enough to do it well, for the kids.
I hugged J. and told him I love him, hugged R., told him I love him. But the baby squawked every time I put her down, till I had to lie and tell her I'd see her soon. I put her in her little car, beeped the horn, played the "Bye" game we play when she rides the car, and walked away.
Drove home in tears with this poem in my head :
it must be truth:
all loving has
a price to pay.
At every "hello"
There is really
we get to keep,
in our hearts.