My kindergarten class graduated and are moving on to first grade next year. To say that I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders would be the understatement of the year. Phew! Today was our End-of-the-Year pool party and tomorrow when I go to school- no kids! It will just be me and little Miss H, taking things off the wall and cleaning my room up for the summer.
Yep, did you catch that? H did not leave us yesterday like the judge ordered. Because the judge suspended his own orders and wants to keep her in our home. The phone call came with this news as D was buckling her into the car seat in the caseworker’s car. Her belongings were loaded and they were ready to hit the road. One phone call stopped all that. And I came home to the best. surprise. ever!
Ever since we found out she was going to be leaving our home, I clung to the resolution I made at the beginning of the year- to find joy in the journey. To not get so caught up in only wanting to reach my destination, but to recognize that the journey I am placed on gives opportunities for growth, for trusting, for learning. Of course, finding joy in getting A has been easy. And finding joy in having H in our home has been super-easy too. But finding joy in the situation that was unfolding before our eyes- not so easy. So I told myself that things would be okay, that we’d get to see her often and keep in touch with her since we already have a relationship with the foster family she would be going to, and that in reality, this was the best-case scenario.
And I didn’t shed a tear. Until Tuesday night when I realized that would be our last sleepless night together. And Wednesday when my students’ parents asked about her, my voice would crack as I would try to tell them what was going on. And more tears were shed when I came home Wednesday afternoon to a quiet house, still littered with infant equipment that didn’t make the trip with H (or so I thought). As D and I stood hugging each other, my eyes surveyed our living room where her swing still stood by the window. And her play mat still lay on our rug. Her car seat, with the pink preemie cushion, sat empty by the door. We stood still for a few minutes, just hugging and crying. Not a word was said. Then I walked into our bedroom to set my things down. And there I saw her.
And I started bawling. And asked D why she was still here.
They didn’t take her.
And the tears poured out. Tears I didn’t know I had in me. Tears of happiness that she was still here. Tears of relief. Tears of exhaustion from the roller coaster ride we had just endured. Sweet, salty tears. And when he told the whole story, more tears. I just couldn’t believe it.
Last night as I woke to feed H in the early morning hours, I was sleepy. My eyes squinted as they adjusted to the light in the living room. I curled up under a blanket, cradled her in my arms, and lifted the bottle to her lips. And I thanked God for my early morning wake-up call in the form of this tiny being He has given us to take care of for the present time. Because as foster parents, we do not know what the next day will bring. But we resolve to love them and care for them each minute we are blessed to spend with them as their parents.