A dark side of adoption that is not always talked about is the loss and brokenness that occurs when a child loses their biological family. There is a family that had to be broken apart so that mine could be formed. I still feel a sense of loss because the outcome I had expected didn’t happen. My boys lost their mom and dad. A mom and dad whom I poured everything into trying to get to know, mentoring, supporting, and loving didn’t succeed. I’m not someone that deals well with failure and although the failure was not mine it still feels like an enormous failure for me.
October 15, 2018. In less than 10 minutes without either parent present, their rights were terminated. With a few words from a judge and later a bunch of signatures on documents, this man and this woman who birthed these sweet boys no longer had any legal rights as parents to them. Zero. I stood there in front of the judge with CPS, the kids’ Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), mom’s lawyer, and dad’s lawyer listening to them present the current state. Mom and Dad had essentially agreed to the terms by which their rights were terminated which in this case was a failure to complete services. We learned this the Friday before the trial date which really means there wasn’t a trial at all, just some formal procedures. I was asked a few questions about how I mentored the parents and I choked through my words when answering. I was extremely nervous and overall just sad that our case had come to this point and no parent was even present.
I walked out of the courthouse feeling relieved that this milestone was complete, feeling accomplished that I successfully got both boys off to school and made it downtown to the courthouse in freezing rain by 9:00am, and feeling saddened how quickly and simply two people’s lives are changed forever. They had given up. At this point they knew I was adopting them. After I made my decision I wrote them an email explaining why I decided not to adopt them earlier and why I was saying yes now. It is very important to me to maintain a good relationship with them. I never want them to harbor negative feelings toward me (they do know where we live after all). But mostly I want to be the best representative of Christ so that maybe one day they may know Him too.
This is what I wrote them. Up until this time we were having occasional short video “visits” with dad; nothing with mom. I often get asked if it’s an open adoption and this answers that question too.
Dear [bio dad] and [bio mom],
It’s been over 15 months since the boys arrived at my home. They are more beautiful (inside and out) every day. They are bright, smart and hilarious. They are precious gifts from God and deserve the BEST life.
6 months ago, just after the boys were supposed to return to you, I was asked to adopt them. At that time, I couldn’t imagine them NOT returning to you since that was the plan. That was the goal we worked on for 9 months, and I was completely blind-sided by what happened. Every day of that 6-week transition period was challenging, but delicately planned. Hours spent preparing myself, protecting the boys, and helping you. I expected nothing less than a successful reunion. So when it didn’t happen, and then I was asked to adopt, I just couldn’t bring myself to come to that conclusion in such a short period of time because adopting them had never crossed my mind.
I’ve been able to spend the last 5 months processing the idea of spending forever with them. Things have been peaceful, calm, and joyful. I’ve been able to picture us as a family, forever. I now can’t imagine anything different. They are thriving here. Their transformation has been phenomenal (so, people say!). They’ve had 15 months to attach to me and at this point, there is no way I can live with the consequence of severing that and putting them through the trauma of losing 3 parents at their young ages. It would have life-long effects. I am capable, willing, and want to adopt the boys. I am madly in love with them, even, some days, I feel obsessed with them. 🙂 My love for them grows sweeter every day. They are so happy here. And we have so many people that love us, support us, and will continue to be there for us.
I sacrificed my whole life (short of quitting my job) for 2 little boys that were complete strangers to me. I have showered them with love through the tears, sadness, and confusion of this situation. I have given them a firm, safe, and stable foundation. I continue to hope for the best and believe God will heal everyone in this family which includes you. I believe He can and I continue to pray for both of you. You are a precious part of this story. But the boys are the #1 priority right now – their safety, well being, happiness, mental/emotional health, brain development, and relational development. They deserve the BEST chance at life, and I want to give that to them.
They will always love you. I will never forget you. I need you to trust me. Trust me with the timing of them knowing you. Knowing you now is so hard on J and it is affecting his mental/emotional health. He is deeply wounded by what happened. From his perspective, the 2 people he loved more than anything in this world, left him with a complete stranger. And then instead of being able to heal and move forward, he is reminded every week of those abandonment feelings, and the deep wound is re-opened. Each week I deal with the emotional repercussions of the calls with you. He is sad. He is confused. And it his heart-breaking. His wound will never heal if he knows you now. He is just too young. But you have my word / my promise / my guarantee that when they are old enough, and they want to know you, I will help them do that. As much as this may hurt you, he is hurting SO MUCH more and needs healing/closure so he can grow up to be a healthy/happy young man. I am happy to send y’all email updates and pictures along the way. It would be my pleasure. I am so sorry that it has come to this. I know that it wasn’t the plan, but sometimes we have to grieve the plan, make sacrifices, and do what’s best for those we love.
If you have any questions for me or just want to talk about this, feel free to write, text or call.
#nationaladoptionmonth #mamalisafosters #thisisfostercare
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