At that point in my life I was a Resume Writer and Interview Coach working out of my home office. Now if I had not been working from home I would have missed this segment. I think it started around 4 in the afternoon. So as I popped on the news for a reason only a supreme God would know, I saw the segment of Wednesdays Child where a child up for adoption was featured. This little girl with huge eyes and long brown hair was the most precious thing I had ever seen. The news anchor was at a playground talking to this little girl who actually asked Marty Matthews (the anchor) to be her Mommy and take her home. Marty hugged her and you could tell she was trying to remain professional. What a pure cry from that little innocent heart! And I sat there mesmerized. Compassion like I have never known invaded my entire being. I saw with new eyes, (God's eyes, I think) a child who needed parents to love her.
I literally wanted to adopt this little girl. Right then and there. I get on the website to check this all out and I am stunned to see something called The Heart Gallery where there are so many children needing a loving home. I literally had no idea. None. I read on about the need for foster parents right in our county and how there are more children needing to be fostered and adopted then homes to put them in. This was so devastating to me.
But of course he is not a mind reader and he knows me. Thank you, Lord. And listens and takes it all in agreeing to pray about this. I am so excited because the knowing just continues to grow. By the end of that week, after praying together and on our own, hubby comes back to me and tells me he is as excited as I am about becoming foster parents.
I look at hubby and say, "I am not sure I want to do this." But I find myself filling out paperwork as if I am totally ready to do this. But I had no conscious idea that I was terrified. Out of my mind scared.
None of these thoughts actually came to my mind in clear sentences but rather I detected jumbled emotions and scattered impressions of thoughts. Like, how could I bond with a child only to lose him or her? Could I go through the pain of infertility only to feel teased with loving a child and losing that child too? Why go through this torment? Am I even worthy to do this? Am I being selfish and self serving? Is this actually for me or for a child? What will they think of me if I admit I only want Caucasian children since there may be the off chance we would adopt him or her? Will our family support us? Would they love a child in our home?
How could you not just want to nibble on those chubby little cheeks? Was he not the most precious thing in the world? Oh that sweet little boy. My heart is beating faster at the love I still carry in my heart for him.
OK. Now I am crying right at this very moment. I am so shocked by this response even as I look at the blurry letters appearing on the screen. Looking at his face is so bittersweet that I have just stopped to ask God to help me breathe. This little boy swiftly entered our hearts within the first seconds upon laying eyes upon him. And every fear I had about fostering disappeared like a vapor upon the solid realization that this boy deserved nothing less than every ounce of love we could give him.
And how we loved him.
There are too many details to share and I also want to protect the confidentiality surrounding his particular case. But the summary of this was that within one month of his stay, we received the devastating news that his birth mother had been found dead in an elevator after overdosing at the age of 32. I almost fell to the floor upon hearing this news. He had no other relatives who wanted him and though they could not promise anything there was a chance we could have him long term and indefinitely.
Wow. As first time foster parents we were convinced that through such awful circumstances, this little boy would be given a chance at life and we would be there to give him a home and all the love we could give.
But what actually happened was the maternal grandfather and wife had wanted him all along. We just never heard that. They live in the Northwest and had already adopted her first 2 children for the last 10 years and wanted Anthony and his older brother who was also currently in care. And that is what happened.
On July 19, 2006, we experienced heartbreak and pain like no other I have ever experienced. Ever. At 4 am we drove him to the airport to say good be to him. The night before I was rocking him to sleep, praying, crying, asking God for strength. Because as he peacefully slept in my arms I knew I would never hold him like this again, I would never put him to bed or sing him worship songs to sleep. I held him for over 30 minutes. Just swaying back and forth in the dark room, grieving that this child I wanted for my own was indeed not the child God planned for us.
At the airport we were a mess.
The picture is blurry but this is me getting Anthony out of his car seat at the airport. I was not holding it together well.
Anthony with Daddy Bamm. (I was Mommy Jess)
I was a little better here waiting for the Case Manager to check in.
This may sound so funny but when we had to say goodbye at Security I had one hope. I had told this to Brandon the night before. I said, "I pray as he leaves he does not look back." I would never be able to live with that being the last moment with him in my mind's eye. He was going to live with his 3 half brothers and Grandparents. He was going to be loved. And he was moving forward. It was symbolic for me. When it came time to say goodbye, we hugged him, kissed him and told him we loved him, the pain was more than I could ever have known. We were sobbing so loud. A chunk of my heart had been gauged out. Though there would be healing, I felt like my heart would never be whole again.
As the case manager pushed his stroller away, Anthony looked straight ahead as he got ready to go home. Not once did he look back. Oh how God honored that prayer and a peace came over me. I knew we were going to make it.