We lost a baby a week ago.
Not to death, but to life. A new life. One without us in it.
With one last kiss, my lips sank into his soft cheeks and his life with us was over. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe him in, knowing when I opened them again, the world would look and feel very different. Every minute, every memory thus far was filled with me-with us.
I was still his mama for a few more fleeting moments.
I opened my eyes and forced out a smile as I passed him back to his aunt. I took a deep breath praying I would make it out the front door before the reality of the day hit like a tidal wave. With each step I took back to the car, I collapsed further into the arms of husband’s firm embrace.
And the tears fell.
They fell hard.
Because that’s what tears do when you leave your heart in someone else’s hands.
That was the ending I had prepared myself to experience for seven months.
Every fiber of my being had hoped and ached and longed for this very moment even though I knew it would cause my heart to shatter into one thousand tiny pieces.
And it did. It shattered.
Since the day we carried this six-pound baby home from the hospital, I prayed for paperwork to move swiftly so he could be somewhere permanent. I spoke up in court as I pushed for home studies and background checks to be completed in a timely fashion. I facilitated visitations on my own time hoping to make the final transition smoother. I sent pictures and text messages to his biological family so they could watch him grow until he was theirs forever.
I was excited for his new life to begin.
But the pain of saying goodbye still stings.
Truth is, we actually signed up for this torture. We said yes to a calling that is full hurt and heartbreaks. And we continue to say yes.
It is impossible to go back to the way things were when your eyes have seen the truth of what IS. And what IS is all around you.
So we look to the next one. The next baby to love. The next family to pray over. The next court dates to set on our already-full calendar. The next case worker visit. The next blue folder full of unraveling lives. There are cribs sheets to wash and clothes to pack away until the next one needs them. And in the waiting, there are bio kids to snuggle. There are emotions to process. There is also a marriage of mine that needs a bit of nurturing.
We are exhausted and relieved all in the same sigh.
We are back to the wait. Our world will change again with the ring of our phone and a caseworker on the other end. We will say yes and then say hello to our family’s next goodbye…