“You cwying, Mama?” I look into her little face, tears spilling down mine and I whisper since I cannot speak, “Yes, Baby. Mama is crying.” And she giggles and starts whispering back in sweet gibberish because she thinks its a fun game.
I am crying because yesterday I couldn’t feel anything when I got the news (and all the courtroom hugs) that Sue’s birthmother had agreed to relinquish her parental rights. A little relief, but mostly numb. I was supposed to be excited, happy for Sue, but sad for her birthmother. It was just an empty space. I just hoped that Sue would see her birthmother for their scheduled visit today.
But that was not to be. She called our case manager and cancelled all the visits she had left except for her “goodbye visit.” It was just too hard for her to take. She has been devastated and ravaged by her sacrifice. Upon learning this, I fell apart and cried and cried and cried some more as happy, oblivious, sweet Sue watched me. But we have therapy today so I had to pull myself together! And I did. But then sitting in the car in my driveway, thinking about the visit that wasn’t happening today or next week, I lost it all over again as I clutched the steering wheel. After a bit, I came back to the moment and my ears perked up at a song Sue was singing, with her garbled words but unmistakably perfect pitch and melody:
Yeth, Jee-thuth wuvth me…Yeth, Jee-thuth wuvth me…the Bible tellth me tho….
It was my gift. He gave it to me through her. She is with US so she can know that Jesus loves HER. And my tears dried up and my strength was renewed and we drove to therapy without me falling apart over the brokenness of this situation all over again.
Between her birthmother and I, nobody wins. Adoption comes at an incredible cost and through terrible losses. I have watched this woman for two years: praying and hoping for her, too. I have grieved the hopelessness and difficulty of her situation all this time. However, going forward, there are things I can say with certainty even in the middle of the wreckage of severed and damaged relationships. Because I saw it with my own eyes. I can tell OUR daughter so many beautiful things about her birthmother and healing WILL come.
- I can tell Sue that she received her sweet, optimistic and loving spirit from her birth mother and her grandmother.
- She will see her own smile in her aunt and grandmother’s faces, her deep blue eyes and upturned nose from her big sister, and her musical creative talents come from her grandfather.
- She can be proud of her tenacity and her fighting spirit inherited directly from her birthmother.
- I can tell her when she asks me “WHY??” someday without a second thought that her birthmother fought hard for Sue. She did everything she was supposed to, she showed up, she conquered some of her demons with a determination I rarely see in people around me. She gave it her all. But she just couldn’t make the progress Sue needed. Lord knows that she truly tried. Not every foster child has a birth parent who will work that hard. Her mother did it all because she loves Sue so deeply.
- Sue will get the best of both families, she will see and know her birth family but have all the love and care she needs as a special needs child in our home.
I don’t know what this will look like in the coming months and years but by the grace of God, this will be rebuilt into something beautiful. The wonderful relationship I had with her birthmother will be renewed. But for now, though I am so thrilled that Sue will have everything she needs and she will be forever part of our family, I grieve. Her birthmother grieves. And Sue is completely and totally oblivious. For that I am incredibly thankful. She doesn’t have to see this turmoil. Rest assured, she will have to come to terms with adoption but THIS part, she will never truly know.
To these broken things and the mending to come, I bear witness.