Yesterday my family watched a case worker load up Jack and Jill, the foster children that had been with us for almost seven weeks. We watched her load them up in her trendy car and we waved as they drove away out of our lives.
A week before, we received an email that stated that the kids’ grandfather had passed a home study and that the children were going to be placed with him. This caught us completely off-guard as we were anticipating the children being with us until mom got her act together. We were sad. We were relieved. We were concerned for the children, but glad they could be with family. Then at the visitation on Friday the mother expressed reservations about the children going to grandpa’s and said that she wanted the children to stay with us. We were led to believe that with this information, the children would stay. But Monday evening we received the call that they were indeed leaving Tuesday morning, the next day. There was nothing we could do about it.
It was dinner time and I was trying to keep hungry children at bay while I made chili and cornbread. Jason started to pack Jack’s room and in the mean time Jack and Thadd ran outside and planted sunflower seeds in the middle of the backyard.
I had just gotten the cornbread into the oven and I was frazzled, to say the least, when Jason came downstairs from packing and asked me if I wanted to pack up Jill’s dresses that were still hanging in the closet. I didn’t think anything about it, until I started taking the clothes off the hangers. That’s when the tears started coming. I had asked God to bring us a girl. My children had wanted a girl. I hadn’t even seen her in half of these dresses. There were a couple I didn’t take off of the hangers, but left them there in the closet.
I ran around the house, setting the table, packing boxes, weeping. Trying to hide from the people around me. I happened to look out the window into the backyard and saw a beautiful sparrow sitting on our fence. His breast was puffed out and his black markings were striking. And God was trying to get my attention. It stirred something within me. Where had I heard that before? Something about a sparrow not falling to the ground without the father knowing. Something about people being worth more than many sparrows. Something about God being able to take care of these children.
Later that night as I had made a run to grab formula and cat food, I was taking the cat food out of the trunk when I noticed the stroller back there. The tears started up again. I wouldn’t get to take her on walks anymore. The kids wouldn’t get to go on vacation with us. My grandma wouldn’t get to meet them.
There was a heavy sadness over me all night, even as I slept. Diego, our cat could sense it, for he curled up right on my legs, which he never does. I could tell he was trying to comfort me in his own way. The next morning came too quickly, but Jack and Jill had both slept all night and I felt rested. Our whole family played the game Trouble in the living room as I took some final pictures of the gang and we passed Jill around greedily.
We waited for the case worker. I sat next to Jack and I held Jill as she fussed because she was ready for her nap, but I wouldn’t put her down. The case worker finally came and Jason helped her pack the car before we said our goodbyes.
I pulled Jack in for a final hug and told him, “Remember, God loves you and He will always remember you. And we will too.”
Jason made the sign for I love you with his hand and he held it up so Jack could see it in the car. The car started down our horseshoe-shaped street and followed the turn in the road.
And then they were gone.