You cried when we walked away, dear boy, and I let you. More than wanting to shield you from sadness, I want you to know this is the bitter to the sweet. It is appropriate to feel this. You are allowed tears in this life. We cry for the loss of it all and walk away resolved in hope.
You said you were happy he gets to be with his Mommy and Daddy again because everyone should get a chance to be with their mommy and daddy.
I lingered on your face a little longer at this comment. I watched your eyebrow lower and the tiny dimple to the left of your lip flicker with thought.
We were a placeholder. It was always our job and our privilege to say goodbye so their family could be whole again.
You mentioned you’d miss your fun times playing together.
This says so much about you, dear one; the three year old you shared a home with these past many months was not always immediate “fun”. You drew all the goodness and calm and happy inside him to the forefront.
He was so ready to love, though, and you allowed his love a place to land. You didn’t realize it, but every time you received him, you mirrored an unspoken truth of identity to his spirit; he was important – he was still worthy.
Good people do this. They can look beyond a behavior. They can see a soul. They make all the goodness in others rise effervescent to the surface.
We left them there, your foster brother and sister, a newly reunified family at the park, with the wind rushing cold announcing a winter sunset.
You said goodbye to the kids and stayed near their stroller making silly faces as I gave updated bottle and rash ointment and clothing instructions to the adults.
Then we drove away and just like that they were gone.
People ask me how I can do this to you, sweet child. Allow other kids into your home to share your toys, your parents, your emotional space. Let you have to wait a little longer sometimes and ride an emotional wave of goodbyes.
I promise you, my love, that we will only place you in situations that will stretch you but not harm you. This is our family life and we’re in it together.
If I could give you two gifts it would be a generous spirit and a resilient heart; knowing that when you give there will still be an abundance and that feelings only strengthen your heart.
We get to have generosity and resilience because HOPE lives inside us. Hope is why you can love a child as your brother these many months, then wave goodbye in a park parking lot.
That it will be restored. That there is a future. That the slow-burn of healing will outlast any resistance.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ…
We drove away and I could see you both in the rearview – you in the backseat and their family by the swingset.
You cried while the sky drizzled a million blessings on your head and I prayed wordless exhales of gratitude for you, my son, and hope for the son with his rightful family I just left at the park.