After a difficult custody hearing yesterday Baby went to live with his new family in Wisconsin. After having that sweet child for 6 months, our hearts are full of a jumble of emotions. We feel sad about the loss of the dreams and plans we unintentionally made about him being part of our lives forever.
We feel grateful for the opportunity we had to care for him for a while. We feel heartbroken for his birth parents. We feel frustration for “the system”, but don’t know what we could do to make it better. Ideally there wouldn’t be a “system”, parents would be healthy, stable, loving and fit to care for their children. But because that is not the case, some children need a place to be cared for and loved. We are happy to offer that love and stability.
We were able to meet Baby’s new parents for the first time on Monday. After months of prayer and fasting that Baby might be the answer to our prayers, it was hard for us to face the fact that he might be leaving. My amazing husband set a great example for me in focusing our energy on loving this new family. It would be very easy for us to be angry with them, to be resentful of them “taking our baby away”, but we didn’t want that to happen. They are good, kind people.
They’ve been through the wringer the past 6 months, just like we have, waiting for an outcome with Baby. Communication was not the greatest during this case, and this poor family thought everything would be wrapped up by last Christmas. They were all ready to welcome a new baby in December and had no idea it was even an option that we may be able to keep him.
Emotions were high during court yesterday. The judge (who has been doing this for 30 years) cried as he read his verdict, something which has never happened before. The caseworker (who is fairly distant and unemotional) got teary as he expressed his sorrow for our family afterward. The Assistant Attorney General expressed how sorry she felt for our family, also with tears in her eyes. As the judge told us, they don’t often have to choose between 2 good families. In juvenile court the choices are almost always clear-cut. It’s heartbreaking to take a child from their birth parents. But if the parents aren’t fit to care for their children, at the end of the day the judge and attorneys can go home feeling that they did a good thing for the child. In this case, he was choosing between two families that are healthy, loving and stable. One family had to be hurt, and the judge had the responsibility to decide.
We’ve cried more over the last 5 days than at any other point in our marriage. Last night we were feeling like we’d cried everything out, but as I type this the tears are flowing.
For Ellie, this is a part of life. She’s seen 10 of our “babies for now” come and go. She loves them while they’re here and misses them a bit when they go, but she doesn’t remember life being any other way. Ethan is having a hard time understanding where Baby went. Every so often this morning he’ll say, “I want Baby home…”. He’s sad, but it won’t last long.
Mostly I feel gratitude. The fact that we have 2 children is an absolute miracle. I am so grateful for them, and look forward to focusing more on them. I look forward to getting back to “real life” without extra time away from them for court dates, doctor appointments, visits with birth parents, etc. But there is a part of me that wonders if/when we’ll have more children. I’m a planner, and I want to know where they’ll come from and when.
As I look back at my life I can see that God’s plan for me is always better than my plan for my life. But why can’t I always remember that? I am working at turning things over to Him, trusting His plan and doing the best I can with what I’ve been given.
So where do we go from here? Right now, our family is going to focus on healing. We plan to spend a lot of time together. We parted with Baby’s new family last night with promises to keep in touch. I can see us being life-long friends with them, and I hope it turns out that way. As for foster care, we plan to take some time off for hearts to mend. We’ll reassess whether this is something we want to continue later.
Last night Ellie reminded me of a quote from our foster care training, “If your heart doesn’t break when they leave, you didn’t do your job.” I asked her, ” Is your heart breaking?” She said “Yes”. ” Then you did a fantastic job!”
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, prayers and love. Our hearts are hurting, but that helps us know that we did our job.
11 thoughts on “Back to Us”
I'm so sorry that you weren't able to keep Baby. It sounds like he's at least going to a loving family that will give him the love he deserves. You're such a wonderful family, Meghann and I look up to you both!
We love you guys so much! I'm so sorry for the pain and hurt you are feeling. We're praying for you.
All I can say is that you guys are wonderful examples of Christ like love! Thank you for sharing a part of your hearts with me. I love you guys even though there isn't much verbal contact! Shirlene
So sad to hear this. What a mess for both families!! There's nothing really helpful that I can say, except that we're thinking of you.
My heart aches for you guys. When Elli said that about having cried if you've done a great job…. At least you know BABY is going to a great home. I wish you guys a happy summer and meaningful time together and…healing… as you said, trust in the Lord, it will all work out in the end.
Oh my heart is breaking for you. I'm so sorry you have to go through this much hurt. It just doesn't seem right. Your family truly is an inspiration to me. I hope you heal quickly. Prayers to you guys as you go through this.
We are thinking of you. We are praying for more comfort to be sent your way. We love you and admire your whole family.
Oh Heidi. I can't even believe this. It seems so unfair. How you can be so gracious through this is beyond me. I cannot imagine a greater pain. You are exquisite. You and you're family are in my prayers.
I don't think I can really say anything right now, but you know how I feel. I just wanted to say that it made me cry. Especially the part at the end that Ellie said. You guys are amazing.
I'm sorry Heidi! I can imagine the grief of losing him, even though you know he is going to a good home. I respect your family for taking the higher road and looking at the positive points of such a difficult trial. I hope you've been blessed with some peace of mind and heart over the last couple of weeks. I am a planner too, it is frustrating not to know when, how, from where, from who…I'm still trying to figure out what that part of this whole process is supposed to teach us. Patience? Trust? Both probably. I hope that you don't have to wait long to see where this unexpected turn in your path will lead your family.
Its so hard to give them back even if you know that its only temporary. We had two kids for 3 weeks and it broke my heart to give them back. We feel your pain!