Last week, my phone rang and the little voice on the end belonged to 5-year-old Scout:
“Hi, Ms. Jamie. We just had our goodbye visit,
and I wanted to ask if you would be our new family.”
Tears sprang to my eyes and I clamped my hand over my mouth so I didn’t lose my composure. Despite all the emotions running through my mind, I took a breath and calmly responded, “Yes, we’d love that.” We exchanged I love you‘s and goodbyes, and I talked to Foster Mom a few minutes for more details on how that final visit went for the kids.
After I hung up, I had time to think.
There was SO MUCH wrapped up in that brief exchange.
First, the concept of a “goodbye visit.” The children had previously said a final goodbye to their biological father in a different way, but this was the final visit with mom after receiving the judge’s order to terminate her parental rights. Scout and Jem knew this. I cannot fathom what these children, just 4 and 5 years old, thought and felt. They haven’t lived with her in nearly a year and a half, but she was still “Mommy.”
Thinking as a mother, I cannot fathom what their mom must’ve thought and felt. On the one hand, she is responsible for this because the children would’ve been returned to her if she had fulfilled the requirements of her “reunification plan.” I can’t imagine not walking through the pit of hell if necessary to keep my children. But this doesn’t negate her pain.
It’s an impossible situation to wrap my brain around.
Then there’s the fact that Scout asked for us to be her new family. That a five-year-old understood she would have a new family — and the idea that she thinks she picked us, rather than the other way around; I hope this helps her with all the changes ahead since she feels as though she had a say in the matter instead of having it all forced upon her.
Just a couple of days later, we picked the kids up for an extended visit (required before they can move in). Conversations about us being their “new family” came up several times with Scout. Not so much with Jem, as he is 18 months younger than Scout and doesn’t understand as much of what’s going on. The kids are now back at the foster parents’ home, and the plan is to sign placement papers and move them in this Friday.
Read more about Scout and Jem’s adoption story.