June 24, 2013

Goodbye and forever.


Last Wednesday the girls had their ‘goodbye visit’ with their mother.  Ever since the hearing we’ve been debating how to go about all of this.  Do we prepare them ahead of time?  Do we wait until after the visit so that we can be the comforters vs. the bearers of bad news?  How do we talk about something so traumatic?

Well, it turned out we didn’t have much say in the matter, because they called us Tuesday night to let us know the visit was on Wednesday.  Well then.  So much for preparation. 

Brian took the girls to the visit (an hour and a half away) so that one of us could be there for them afterward.  Also, I had recently e-mailed their birth mom a bunch of pictures from Disney and never heard back, so I wanted him to ask and make sure I had the right e-mail. 


The visit actually went relatively well.  Mom didn’t even discuss it being the final visit, but did give the girls some pictures of the family before leaving.  I have a lot of respect for her ability to not make it an emotional blood bath – because, really?  I can’t even imagine.  The only thing that could have gone better is if Mom would have taken some time to verbally give the girls permission for us to be their family, for them to love us and move on.  But, having been in this field for a while, none of us were really expecting that.



When they got home from the visit, we went ahead with bedtime.  Bella was clearly contemplative and a little quiet.  Then she asked it,

“Was that my very last visit with my Mom ever?”

I’ve been thinking about, praying about, preparing for this conversation for so long, and still it was like a punch in the gut.

“Yes sweetheart.  Yes, it was.”

Knowing that if at any point it is appropriate for the girls to have contact with their mom that we would be all for it – it was difficult not to want to comfort her with that.  But, from what we’ve learned (purvis, purvis, purvis) it is better to be straightforward and not give hope for what might not happen, at the risk of implanting a hope in a child that they could hang on to for years without any resolution.

She went on to ask all the questions.  Why?  How long is forever?  What is adoption?  Will I ever see them again?  Are they dead? 

Tootaw doesn’t understand what is happening at all.  Not at all.

Lots and lots of questions.  Lots of tears.  Some obvious relief for having some concrete answers.  Some relief that she does not have to say goodbye to us.  Lots of heartbreak. 



Since then we’ve seen a huge resurgence of trauma behaviors.  Trauma tantrums with hitting, kicking, spitting, biting.  The difference between a year and a half ago and now is that she trusts us, so with lots of help from Empowered to Connect, we are able to work through it.  We are able to provide comfort.  We can love her through it and connect through the pain.

But jeez, what I wouldn’t give to not have to go through all this trauma again.  We had worked through so much.  So. Much.  And now here we go again.  But this time around we are investing in forever. 


Thank you Lord.


Prayers for the hearts of our sweet girls are coveted.  Healing will come.  It will.


  1. I made the mistake of reading this on my work break...now I have to compose myself!! So glad those little dolls have you guys right now... And forever!

  2. I remember like it was yesterday the boys final visit with their birthmom (and it was almost 11 years ago). The raw emotion that comes with these "final things" is something hard to describe. Praying for your family and you prepare for adoption.

  3. Maggie, I've been pouring through your blog over the past week or so... Thanks so much for sharing honestly and candidly about working through the foster system. We are at the very start of our foster adoption journey- week 2 of licensing classes. Your blog is one that I will be sharing with the others in class.

    As I read your post today, I thought, "that could be my conversation some day." I cannot imagine how your hearts must be tangled in the heartache and happiness... Praying for their little hearts as well as yours!


  4. Something to ponder:

    Since this is true --

    >>Knowing that if at any point it is appropriate for the girls to have contact with their mom that we would be all for it<<

    -- is it really "straightforward" to say it's the last visit "forever?" (Tootaw was correct to assume this meant she might be dead!)

    I understand you not wanting to get their hopes up, etc., but *to me*, straightforward would be, well, *the truth* -- that was the last court-ordered visit, there won't be any more visits right now, if your mom is safe to spend time with in the future, you may, and when you are a grown up, you may do as you choose.

    1. We did try that briefly. At the ages the girls are (5 and 3) they are still very concrete thinkers and aren't able to understand abstract ideas like "a long time" or "in the future". When we tried talking about it that way, the girls only took that as there being another visit. To them it's been "forever" since their previous visit (2 months). Also, right now, they can't understand seeing their mom outside of the context of the possibility of going home - so to talk about them seeing her again only makes them think there may still be hope of going home. (Hope all this makes sense!)
      If they were a little older, and were able to think abstractly and understand time, we would for sure try to explain it - but when we tried it was clear they didn't understand and we didn't want them living with the hope that it was just a little bit longer.

    2. That does make sense. I don't think most 3 year olds would understand that. Some 5 years olds would, but many would not (and I am sure you know yours to know if she would!). I suppose as time goes on, as long as you're open to their questions (which I am sure you are) you can continue to help them understand what's happened.

  5. Very sweet post!!! I am so happy that you guys will be a forever family. Sending prayers your way!!!


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