life after fostering baby a, part 2

*Continued from life after fostering baby a, part 1.

At 8 o’clock on Tuesday morning, Baby A was taken to meet his family, introduced to strangers by strangers. And we were not allowed to be there to comfort him, to ease the transition. We were able, however, that afternoon to go meet his new family and eventually bring him home with us for the night. His caseworker’s supervisor met us in the lobby and told us what a good day he’d had, that things went really well. And then instructed us not to ask for or offer contact information to the family. They were instructed the same. Rather than encouraging open communication for Baby A’s sake, they not only discouraged, but disallowed it. We were also told they would search any items we planned to pass along directly to the family.

What sort of contraband did they expect us to include in a photo album or bag full of baby clothes and toys?

The bright spot of the day was meeting the family, a couple who already appeared to love Baby A, who were kind and open. But after introductions they told us how Baby A cried the first 1 1/2 to 2 hours of their time with him. In my mind, that’s doesn’t mean he had a great day. His parents seemed to understand to expect a bumpy ride. But he could have met them, gotten used to them, at least for a bit, with us in the room, then spent an hour or two with just them and then rejoined us. That still would have been hard. But not nearly as traumatic. For any of us.

Neither mother relished seeing Baby A cry. And when my family entered the room he reached for us, clung to us. It didn’t have to be that way.

Wednesday morning his caseworker and her supervisor picked up Baby A bright and early again. When I mentioned seeing him at 4 that afternoon as stated on the schedule they provided, they quickly told us that, no, that’s when they were leaving their office. Not when he’d be back with us for our final evening with him. We knew it could take them 2 hours in traffic, reminded them his bedtime is around 6:15. But no matter. They didn’t have him back until after 6pm, out of sorts, exhausted, crying as he was removed from his car seat. Not the relaxing last hours we had hoped for with our sweet temporary baby.

Then came Thursday morning. Baby A clung to us, was fussier than usual. We had about an hour or so with him before his ride arrived. My final moments with him his tiny body clung to me, scrambled to free himself from the car seat as I placed him in, buckled him snug, kissed him goodbye and told him I loved him, handing him his blanket, a poor substitute for the only family he ever knew and trusted.

My heart is broken at his loss. But more than that, I am still struggling with anger at how things happened. At the lack of consideration for Baby A’s well being. For ours. For our children’s. Anger at the broken system and the lack of accountability for those with the power to make these decisions that impact all parties in adoption and fostering.

We have no recourse. Can make no demands. I hate feeling powerless. But more than that, I hate that Baby A had to go through this particular transition, that his new parent’s first memories of Baby A and our last ones are of him crying. It could have, should have, been an occasion punctuated with joy, them meeting their baby, us saying goodbye.

But in the end, I suppose it all comes back to trust. Trust in a God who is bigger than I am. A God who cares far more for Baby A than we ever could. A God who is, right now, holding Baby A in the palm of his hand and watching over him. Whether I know how he is or where he is. All I can do is trust.

And somewhere along the way I’ll also have to learn to forgive.

grace for each moment, one moment at at time

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