I’ve been thinking for a couple of months now how to put our foster experiences into words; how to do them justice. We have had such wonderful dealings with caseworkers and children and birth parents since we started a year and a half ago that I wanted to get the word out…that DFS is different now, that foster parents are treated with respect, as assets of the department.
And then, WHAM! 10 days ago, Gaven was taken from us. No warning! He went for a day visit to his birth father’s house…which was a recent development in the case. We dropped him off in the morning with the understanding that we would pick him up at five. The caseworker called at three and said we would probably not be picking him up…that he would most likely be transferred to his dad that night. We were not even allowed to drop his favorite items off and say goodbye. The worst part is that she had the birth father make the final call to us confirming this would happen.
Actually, no, the worst part is that my heart is BROKEN!
We took placement of Gaven (10 months old) the beginning of March. We parented Gaven for three amazing months. To be honest, they were the three most joyful months in my parenting career. As soon as Gaven looked up at me with his huge brown eyes at Child Haven, I was sold. We locked eyes and instantly bonded. It is the first experience I have had as a mother where a child was attached from the very beginning. It was very special, and very real.
The point I am trying to make is that he saw me as mom, and I felt as though I had birthed him. Even his birth mom saw our instant bond. It was a bond that she didn’t have with him yet; one that she has worked very hard to create the past couple of months (so proud of her). That is what makes the experience of losing Gaven so much more devastating. He wasn’t just another placement. He was MY SON. And now he is gone. And I am treading in very deep water…barely hanging on. I am wondering how far away the shore is because right now, I cannot see it.
I have known loss in my life…the loss of grandparents, many miscarriages, lost adoption referrals etc… But I have never known loss like this. I have many family members and friends, and friends of friends, that have experienced the loss of a child, in-utero and out. And I have decided to not apologize or compare to others’ loss trying to decide if it is more like theirs or less…hoping that I don’t offend them or pretend to know what they have felt.
All I know is how I feel. I feel as though I cannot breathe. There is a constant invisible weight on my chest and shoulders that shows no sign of lifting. I cry every single day…some more than others. I get sick to my stomach when I see a sippy cup or toy or pants I bought him. I have no desire to be anywhere except for home because I do not want to explain one more time where Gaven is. And yet, I do not want to be at home because everything reminds me of our baby.
I am a woman of great faith. I know this experience, like many others, will be for my good. I know time heals, and I have a deep and abiding belief that brighter days will always come. I am trying very hard to fill myself with the Savior’s grace so that I can be a little more refined…a little more polished…when I have made it to the shore. But for now, none of that matters. I am just sad! And swimming in very deep waters.