Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tuesday's Tears - Packing (and unpacking)

#14 & 15 have joined our home.  I have so much to write about with these two (separate cases).

#15 joined our home Friday night.  CPU called while I was wrapping things up for the day at work and a few hours later we were waiting by the door to welcome our newest family member.  She is the oldest child we've ever had (though not by much), which is proving to be a new experience for us.  We're all still feeling things out.

It was my favorite CPU worker who called.  I was excited when she was asking if we still had two spots available in our home.  I was disappointed when she said she had a single child to send to us.  Even more dissapointed when she described the scenario that makes it look very much like this will be a short-term placement.  We still hope to adopt.  We still hope to adopt a 2-3 member sibling group.  Ever since we opened up for our 3rd (5th) spot, we've had nothing but short-term singlets.  Short-term singlets are great and in many ways are easier than long-term sibling groups, nevertheless OUR plans are not coming to fruition as we'd hoped.

and the pattern continues...when will I learn?

This placement came with a few boxes worth of stuff (which is MUCH more than I can say for #14 who arrived with only a blank Lifebook).  Boxes from family go straight into the laundry room for sorting, washing, etc.  I didn't have a chance to open them until late Sunday night and found the usual smoke-filled mixture of random books, toys, and clothes of various (inappropriate) sizes.  And about a dozen pairs of sandals.  In December.

As frustrating as it can be to go through boxes like these (and subsequently have all of YOUR KIDS stuff smell like a bar no matter how hard you try (I didn't try vinegar, maybe I should have...), this time it made me pause.

A few days ago, someone packed up this child's belongs.

Someone who I have every reason to believe loved this child very much.  Regardless of whether or not they were able to care for #15 sufficiently, they most likely loved her.

I imagined a mother or grandmother quietly sobbing as she placed each item into the boxes (in this case, I believe there was at least a LITTLE time to pack rather than just dump a handful of items as quickly as possible).  I imagine she regretted the situation that led to that day.  I imagined she was beating herself up for the past choices made.  I imagined she was wondering how long it would be before she was able to see this child again, if ever.  I imagined her worrying about where this child was going - into foster care - and what type of home she'd be in, what her daily life would be like, what her future would look like.  Silent (or sobbing) tears streaming down her face.  Worry.  Fear.  Despair.

I put myself in that person's shoes.  I KNOW what that is like.  I've packed up my children's things.  I've thought those thoughts.  I've said goodbye to my children knowing that I'd likely never see them again - hoping they'd know I wasn't getting rid of them, that I loved them, that I was still their mom even when they weren't in my house any longer they were still part of our family.  Forever.

The stuff stinks.  At least half of it is not the right size and even more is not the right season.  I'm sure it has been contaminated with whatever was in that home.

But that doesn't really matter does it?  It's just stuff.  I can't say for sure, but I imagine the act of packing up those boxes was FAR bigger than purging stuff.  Imagine being a biological mom (many of us can) who is packing up your child's baby things.  Remember all the reminiscing, the good memories, the sadness that this phase is over.  Maybe you store it in the attic - maybe you donate - maybe you save for later.  Usually when you're done you replace those things with bigger, newer things that provide hope for the days to come - things that represent a new phase of life that still includes your child who you're watching grow and learn and mature.  Who you still get to tuck in at night.  Who you still get to hug in the mornings.

When this person packed up these things they did so knowing the child would be leaving as well.  At this point, there is no child for them to turn to, no bigger size to put in the drawers, no smiles to see or new things to watch her learn.  She is with mie.  I get to enjoy those things as I look down my nose at the nasty stuff that they sent.  That stuff that represents so much more.

I don't know this family yet - I don't know much of anything about them.  They may be the bane of my existence one day.  They may do things that drive me up the wall in the future.  (they may be great!)  What I know today is that there is a family who has lost their child, if only temporarily for now, whose hearts must be in a state of despair.  Later I might have to deal with visits and phone calls and dirty looks.  Right now I can pray.  I can pray for them that they might find hope in these desperate circumstances.  That they find the love of our Savior and their lives can be redeemed, one day being reunited with this child with joyous celebration.  I can pray for mended hearts and love.

I can't fix their family.  I can't fix the demons that haunt their lives.  I can't make them make better choices.  But I can pray for hope.

Do Something.


Dana Beam said...

Wonderful post. It made me cry because you're right, even if they are making terrible decisions, chances are they still love their child. It's hard to remember that in the midst of everything else. But praying is so very important. Thanks for the reminder to always pray for the bio family.

BTW On a totally unrelated note, I'm trying to schedule a trip to the Dallas area in February. I'd love to get together if I can pull it together. I'll have the girls with me but no hubby.

Vertical Mom said...

Such a moving post. I had the same thoughts when we got our first foster placement. We weren't going to do foster care but, as you said, our plans are often not His plans. I called the mother every night, faithfully, and told her what a wonderful daughter she had and how well-behaved and thoughtful she was. I tried to speak the words I would have wanted to hear if it were my child. Despite people's mistakes, most still do love their children even if they aren't sure how to do it properly.

One Day At A Time said...

SUCH precious thoughts. I can only hope and pray that I will be filled with such love and compassion. Each person has a story. Each person has a tender soul that needs to be loved. Thank you for keeping it real.