Saturday, January 19, 2013

Those Amazing Few Days

Her very young mama is my friend.  A friend I have supported throughout the years.  She didn't have custody, but she did have needs and she needed a friend.  Someone to ask for a ride, advice, help.  And then again, with a new baby last year so reminiscent of the baby I once held in my arms, she needed babysitting, and rides to AA, and support when the tears of anger and frustration and pain slipped out at how very difficult her life had been to that point.  I was her friend because I felt that was what I was being called to be.  I was her friend because I loved her too.

Maybe our mutual love of the same little girl that neither of us got to raise was enough to glue us together but either way, all those years ago when I promised that baby girl that I was committed to her and to her family for life, I really meant it.  I just hadn't ever imagined when I made that promise  that it would be six years of loving them without her present and no hope of anything different, but it didn't change my promise.

The week before Christmas, there was a hurriedly arranged court session, quickly signed documents and a phone call I never, ever expected to receive.  "Hey, I am getting custody back of J, do you want to come for a visit?"

Why yes.  YES I FREAKING DO.  I may have danced.

There had been increased visitation with her Mom over the last few months, and we had been privileged with spending some time with her throughout the summer and fall.  Strange moments I was incredibly shocked to have been blessed with.  The sight of my 2 daughters, whom I never even imagined being mine but became mine, and the little girl I had begged God to let me keep, but He had taken from me, playing together.   TOGETHER.  3 little girls that I loved with all my heart playing together.  It seemed a moment I couldn't quite believe was real.

There were tears after these brief visits.  Caden, my sweet little boy, who was only 5 when she left continued to grieve her loss and then grieved her present.  Her life is harder than you would want for any child, but particularly a child you love, and his young brain tried to process the ever apparent hardships she faces.  He sobbed those sorts of deep hiccup sobs that even when the sound stops the tears continue for hours after.  He missed his baby sister, and this so apparently needy, hurting little girl was not who she could have, or even should have been, and he saw that.  She was now a friend, and not a sister, and to him that will always be one of the greatest losses of his life.  
Jazzy, Caden and Jen 2006
So when I got this call of another chance for a visit, he weighed the invitation very carefully.  Not sure he could handle the pain, not sure he could handle NOT seeing her when he had the chance to.  I knew I was going, J had specifically asked her mom if I was coming to visit and asked that I did but I left the decision up to Caden.  It was at the very last moment he decided to hop in.  "I don't have to play with her if it is too hard" he explained "I will go swim with someone else".

We were meeting at the local pool and it was to be her birthday party her Mom had put together for her little girl, now almost 7.  Her and I share a birthday. The chance to celebrate with her again filled a desperate cry of my heart.

We were the only people that showed up.

And we spent 2 hours eating cake, playing, swimming together.  The baby got passed back and forth from his mama to me, his favorite aunty.  I tossed one girl, then another, then another up into the air.  We laughed and played. and the entire time my heart was screaming "THIS was the way it was SUPPOSED to be".  We were supposed to have been an extended family all loving on the same kids.  We were supposed to have been ok and happy and all willing to share and love and support the same little girl.   My heart processed equal parts grief at the 6 wasted years and amazement that this moment had even come at all.

When it was time to go, she turned to her mom and said "PLEASE can I go to their house to play?"  and her mom said "Sure".

A single word that gave my son and I the best possible Christmas present we could have ever received.  Time with HER in our home.  Jazzy was coming to our home, that had been her home,  for the first time since she was 18 months old. And the next day, and the day after that. And 2 days more after that.

Jazzy and Caden 2012.  The BEST day of his life he said.
There were tears again, but this time from her as she begged to stay.  This journey is going to be hard and probably complicated.  But without a doubt, I know that she heard the words she needed to hear from us.  She HAD been loved when she was a baby.  She was STILL loved by those that had loved her then.  And we would always, always be here for her if she ever needed us to be.    

I will talk about those days another time, but for now, we are thankful.  She has gone back to where she was before, with a chance of a permanent custody change later this year.  We don't have visits right now or even updates.

But this Christmas I took a picture of the 7 children I have loved with all my heart in front of my Christmas tree.  6 are mine, 1 is a child that was mine but still owns her chunk of my Mama\s Heart and that will be her spot forever.  It was our Christmas Miracle.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2006


Peace said...

So awesome, I've been reading your blog for years and I was so happy to see that you able to re-connect. It makes my heart full.

Jay Iyer said...

I am sitting here reading your beautiful new post, waiting to pick up my former foster daughter Nina who is in an art workshop. I feel SO fortunate that Nina travels freely and regularly between our two families, her birth family and her former foster family. We all love her together, as one family, and I hope it stays that way.

For Jazzy to feel your love again, after all this time - what an amazing gift for you all. I hope, hope, hope this can continue.

Andy said...

No words... just tears. I'm so, so glad that J and her family have you in their life and that you get to have a little bit of J in yours too.

HomoHausfrau said...

So so so beautiful! I'm glad you got to see her!

I didn't see my niece for a few years due to a strained relationship with her mom (my sister), and it was really really hard on me. I have now started to see her again, and it's such a gift.

acceptance with joy said...

BEAUTIFUL! What a gift.

Michelle, Dave & Babes said...

Oh I'm so glad I keep you in my reader, even though you're not blogging much. I'm all teary.

Foster Mom - R said...

Beautiful Jen. Your blog was one of the first I found on my journey and I read this post as I'm faced with my foster kids of 2 years are transitioning home. This gave me hope. So happy for you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

DFNY said...

You write so beautifully, so poignantly...thank you for sharing your story. I'm in tears. So happy for you and Caden and J. Praying that all of you will be able to share the love on a regular basis. And so very thankful that you all had this Christmas.


votemom said...


HollyMarie said...

Wow, wow, wow! What a blessing that you were able to reconnect and that your son was able to experience some healing with regards to what happened. Praying for all of you and Jazzy and her mom too.

Rachel said...

Wow! I'm so happy that you got those moments with her! I, too, have lost some that I love and am currently begging God to keep the one I have. I feel your pain and your joy.

Jennifer B said...

Oh wow! I'm sure you don't remember me . . . I haven't been on the same boards in a few years now, but have read your story through the years. Today, I stumbled across your blog again. And what a time to do so! Tears of joy for you and your family. ALL of your family!

Anonymous said...

Thankful that I found this post today... We're from southern Ontario and have endured the loss of 9 foster children whom we'd hoped to adopt (some to distant relatives, others to homes that had the "right" skin colour for adoption). It's heartbreaking to love them for years and never get to see them again. This gives me hope that, perhaps, I'll see them again. Perhaps someday our adoption dreams will come true...but I will never forget the children I've loved and lost.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to post to say that your post touched me in such a way. I had two kids for a long time that were both heading to adoption. 1 child ended up not staying and moving on. I ended up adopting his half sibling (sister) and eventually another girl down the road (2 years later) however; the pain of his loss was felt everyday. I too got to visit with him recently and to put my kids together (all of them) for the first time ever and man o man does it do a heart good!

I too healed so much and my daughter who was less than a year when he left kept kissing him and hugging him. I'm certain she remembered. But he had been gone for almost a year and it was so hard saying goodbye again. However; it was much easier since we got to say hello again! :)

I'm keeping you in my thoughts and I'm glad us 2ndary mommies get a visit too!