Chronicles of a Foster Family: Postlude

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October 8, 2014 by greenhouse04

He was gone.

Baby M. left on a Monday afternoon, but in reality we had been saying goodbye to him for months.

We knew he would eventually leave us back in May. In July, the judge gave her official approval. August was a long month as we waiting for the inevitable to happen. And it finally did on September 15th.

Because of all the time I had to process his leaving, saying goodbye to Baby M. wasn’t as hard as you might think it would have been. I cried very little when he left, and I’ve cried very little about it in the three weeks since. Of course, I miss him a lot. My heart aches when I think about cuddling with his little body, or gazing with mutual affection into his chocolate eyes. At first, the sight of his crib standing in Eddie’s room, or of his toys scattered around the house made my heart clench with sadness. But now all of his things are put away, awaiting the next baby who will need them, and I can go long stretches without thinking of him at all.

But our story is not over. Thankfully, because of the friendship we built with M.’s dad, Baby M. is still a part of our lives.

I gave M.’s dad his space for the first two weeks after their reunification. It helped that we were on vacation in Colorado for one of those weeks. Then on Monday of last week, on the two-week mark of M.’s home-going, I called his dad. I told him that I had found some more things of M.’s that I needed to bring by. He was very happy to let me drop by and see M. again, and we talked for a while about all of M.’s new accomplishments.

Later that afternoon, Emma and I went to Baby M.’s home. It was so wonderful to see that familiar little boy, with his round face, big ears, and downy hair. I looked deep into his eyes, and he looked into mine, and a big smile lit up his face and he reached with his whole body for me. Once he was in my arms, he snuggled up against my chest and shoulder, rubbing his face against me.

He looked so big! His head looked bigger, his hair looked thicker, his legs looked longer. He had his first tooth, and he was finally crawling on his hands and knees instead of doing the “army crawl.” Other news was also good: his new babysitter loves him, his aunt and grandma are a big part of his life, he’s happy and curious, healthy and strong.

But then some news that almost made me cry: he missed me. The first two nights home he did fine, but on the third night he became inconsolable. His poor dad only got about 2 hours of sleep, and the next night was just as bad. Poor Baby M. just cried and cried and couldn’t be comforted. His dad looked at me and said, “he wanted you.” For most of that first week he wanted me, but I was gone. I just hate how the choices of grown-ups affect children so deeply, while they remain helpless to do anything.

But, the great news is that he is bonding well with his dad. They love one another, and Baby M. is happy and will continue to grow in his trust of people. His dad thanked us for laying that foundation for him.

I fed him (and he still has that annoying habit of squeezing the nipple and squirting formula everywhere!), watched his little rear-end crawl across the floor, felt his sharp little tooth, and saw how eagerly he watches cars drive by. It was good to see him again.

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