I frequently get e-mails and questions about fostering from people who are either considering fostering, or are in the midst of licensing. Of all the questions that I get, there is an overwhelming majority that are on one topic: my forever children.
In the interest of those who question, ‘But what about my kids?’ I thought I would try to document a little bit of what Bella’s transition home is like, for her, and for Sylvia.
--Before I begin, lest it seem I am void of emotion, merely observing how all this goes down with my two year old, let me say that this is absolutely the most difficult aspect of fostering for me. Before we had kids, this was all much easier. I can manage, I can field what is thrown at me and process all of these emotions (admittedly, not well at times.). But the unknowns of going into this with my children is difficult, to say the least. They are, far and beyond, the most precious gifts to me on this earth. Honestly, what it comes down to, is that God has called us here. Sometimes I don’t know why. And my children are much more precious to Him even, than to me.
He has not called me here as an individual, or even called Brian and I here as a couple. He has called us here as a family. He has made this a part of my journey, and a part of theirs. Sometimes I just have to rest in the peace of knowing the fierceness of my love as a parent, and that he is also Abba, Father.--
Sylvia and Bella have grown very close. This is the first time we have had a placement that Sylvia has been old enough to really bond to them and become friends. They play together every day. They look out for one another. They fight like crazy.
This weekend was Bella’s first time being away overnight in almost six months. She left Saturday morning for her parent’s house, and she will return this evening before bedtime.
We have had lots of discussions with Sylvia about where Bella goes on her visits, who she sees, why they are important, and that someday, she will go and live there forever. We talk about it a lot (when Bella is gone) in hopes that when she actually goes home, Sylvia will have some understanding of what is happening.
This weekend there have been lots of times that Sylvia has forgotten Bella isn’t here. When we were out to lunch, she tried to correct my order to make sure we got something for Bella. When she got a new book today, she asked, “Where Bella’s book?”. She’s not really seemed sad that she’s not here, she’s just so used to her being here that it’s only natural that she lives life as if she has an older sister along.
Every time she mentions her, the cracks in my heart begin to form. Cracks from knowing Bella won’t be here with us much longer and cracks from knowing that my sweet baby will miss her.
But honestly, so far, Sylvia has dealt with this with a miraculous understanding (for a two year old). She has verbalized that she understands that Bella misses her Mommy and Daddy, and so she should be with them. It all seems much more simple to her.
Bella misses her Mommy and Daddy? ….Well she should be with them!
Bella wants to live with her Mommy and Daddy? ….Well she should go!
Bella is sad she can’t be there? ….Well of course she is!
I think that this longer transition period will be good for Sylvia to adjust to Bella leaving. She’ll be able to get used to her being gone a little bit longer each time.
In the meantime, we’ll keep trying to prepare her to say goodbye.
(If you have specific questions about this transition, let me know and I’ll try to get it in. Just shoot me an e-mail.)