Shock. I was speaking with a friend the other day and trying to explain what I'm feeling in the aftermath of Mom signing over her parental rights. I was fumbling and needed help with the word to describe what I am feeling. I was saying, "I feel like, what's the word where you feel numb, and kind of distanced from it all? That word that means you are a little too far away from the world and not sure you believe what is happening?" She answered the word I'm looking for might be called "shock."
Everything changes and most things stay the same. Next week brings visits from social workers the boys still have their monthly visit, and all the Moms are back to work in our house. Life marches on. I'm feeling a mild panic about needing to have next year's plans for daycare and childcare ironed out like right this minute. From now on we are only ever looking forward. We've been a family for the better part of a year and a half and have never focused on the "forward" part of our family life. Which is a statement unfathomable to my friends with kids.
In the coming weeks I'm sure I will find the relief and elation that I know is coming. But now? Right now I just feel unadulterated grief and so much loss. We were not at the courthouse on the day this happened. This was the first time I've ever not been there throughout this whole process which really, really makes me frustrated. Our nanny's kiddo was sick so we had no childcare, I had to teach mid-day and with the commute to court, no childcare for the day and our schedules - it could not work. The questions I'm wishing hardest for answers to are ones I suspect will be answered in the years to come. I find myself wondering why she finally agreed to sign off on the rights to all of her babies? Why now? I wonder what she would want me to tell the boys about why she decided to end this all on that particular Wednesday? For reasons of her own she gifted her boys a different life. And she gifted us a family. She allowed all of us closure and an end to this endless court process.
I wish there was a way I could sit down with everyone involved in wanting to adopt or waiting for kids and say this to them: The family you will become is born from pain and loss, please do not forget that. Honor that. Honor Mom's pain, and kid's pain in surviving what their life as a family was before. Your life will not be all grief and hardship, not by any means. And yet the first phase of moving through any feeling is just allowing yourself to be right next to it, or surrounded by it, if that's a more apt metaphor. Our family was given permission to be together forever by the boys' Mom. She gifted us permanency for reasons of her own. And then she walked out of that courthouse completely alone. She did not have one single support person with her in court that day. How does one even begin to imagine what it must feel like to create an official agreement to never parent your babies again and then walk outside the building into the Spring rain all by yourself? You could allow yourself to default - to no-show in this process and the end result would be the same, relinquishing legal rights. This Mom showed up and stood up before all the people who worked to support her, and then in turn, remove her kids and she signed papers so that we could remain a family. The image I am holding most in my heart this week is how utterly and completely alone she was that afternoon. I hope, in the quiet places in my heart, that someday when the boys are grown enough they'll be able to hear her talk about her side of that day. I know I will do my part to make sure they know she gifted us love and togetherness, at her heart's expense. Our family is born from loss and pain. We Moms were gifted two boys to do right by and work our hardest to love and raise up. The magnitude of this all is not lost on me.
Foster Mom (The Therapist)
Read the Artist's response here