Chan Chan, Little Baby Death Wish, Trouble, Baby Wub Wub (yes, one of my sons bequeathed this last one) are some of her many nicknames. All of the children in our home are given many, and to protect the privacy of our little, I will use her nickname instead of her real name.
Chan left us Friday evening. We waited all day to hear what time she would go. Typically, someone from DHS must move a child when it comes to a placement, but Friday our case worker had taken the day off to spend with her daughter for Spring Break. So, we called. and we waited, and called and waited and waited and waited, and if you are curious about the evils of foster parenting, waiting is one of the biggest.
I, usually, spend the last few hours with our foster babies working frantically. There is always one more thing to do, one more sock to find, one more load of laundry to wash, one more set of pictures to print off. Friday, was only different in that we had just returned from our Spring Break trip, and I had an extra large amount of “one mores” to do. Rushing and working prevents me from dealing with the goodbye. I am a master at disassociating myself from my emotions, at least for short amounts of time, and, so, I hustled and bustled about all day Friday ignoring the reality that was fast approaching.
I finally got in touch with a supervisor at 4:15. She told me to go ahead and do the exchange at 5:00 like we had been doing for the last 4 weeks for weekend visits. Our caseworker would come by on Monday to pick up C’s things and officially transfer Chan out of our home. That left me with just 45 minutes to do one more thing. One more picture (or, more likely, 20), one more sweet kiss, one more outfit change, and one more goodbye. Forty five minutes wasn’t long enough. Forever wouldn’t have been long enough.
I got through the drop off reasonably well. My prayer on the way to Target, our official drop off point, was that I would be able to breathe, act somewhat normally, and not be a blubbering idiot. God was gracious to answer my prayer, but the catch was that I wasn’t able to speak much for fear of completely losing it. Chan’s mom saw me cry. It was probably a good thing. “Ms. Julia (she still doesn’t know my name :))”, she said, “don’t worry. This isn’t gonna be your last time to see her”. We then hugged, and I rushed to my car before the torrent started.
People have asked me all weekend how I am doing. The truth of the matter is, outside that first very painful torrent, I haven’t really dealt with her absence. I’ve been busy. I’ve had a mission to accomplish. I’ve scurried about the house all weekend long finding one more thing to do. It’s ridiculous how many “one mores” I’ve remembered to slip into her bag. I’ve written in her story Bible (a foster tradition for Josh and I), I’ve perfected her baby book, I’ve stuffed nearly 500 pictures into a photo album, I made a photo book for our Spring Break trip, I organized all of her hair bows and barrettes, I ran to Target twice, and I’ve avoided most social gatherings. All to avoid the inevitable quell of emotions that was coming when there was not one more thing to do.
Well, here I am at 8:30 Sunday evening with the last of her things in a duffel bag and nothing to do but notice that we really don’t need the booster seat that is still buckled into our table. Nothing to do but be reminded of the deafening quiet of our home. Nothing to do but wonder about what the next step in our journey will be. Nothing to do but remember the loneliness of my heart. Nothing to do but hear my sweet Savior whisper to me.
And, as I finally allow myself to feel the loss of our little girl, I can hear Him tell me that He is in control. That, even as I sit and worry about her todays and her tomorrows, my Heavenly Father whispers truth to me. I am reminded once more that He is a better parent than I am, that I can truly trust Him with Chan Chan, that, as great as I am (lol), He really can handle her future without me.
Matthew 6:25-30 says,
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about [Chan’s] life, what [she] will eat or drink; or about [her] body, what [she] will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. [Is she] not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to [her] life[e]? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe [Chan]—you of little faith?”
How appropriate are these words to me. I truly have worried about such trivial things as her clothes. Will her mom dress her nicely? Will she know how her outfits go together? Should I run out and buy one more pair of leggings or a sweater? God, though, reminds me time and again that He can handle even the trivial things for my children. He will take care of HIS girl. Even He can be trusted with one more thing.
And, so, as I begin to experience the loss of my daughter, I am comforted by my Father’s sweet whispers. I am confident in His hand in Chan’s life, and I am confident in His hand on mine.
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”