A Walk through the Foster Care System

I haven’t spoken much since my boys were taken. In fact, I haven’t written much either. The truth is when they took them from me, something happened in my soul. The day they removed them from my family, I died a little more. How much of me is still breathing and why, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve always had to fight. Maybe that fight keeps me alive.  When I want to quit, I think of their beautiful faces and how they would feel if I missed their visit each week. I can’t bear the thought of adding to their pain and perpetuating the disappointment that life has already thrown their way. 
The other driving force is an instinctual need to protect them; that momma bear that will defend her cubs at any cost. The hardest part of all this is not knowing whether or not they are safe; not being able to protect them in the way only a mother can.

I made a promise to myself that I would not lose them. I promised I would do better this time. I promised myself that it would be different this time around. I am older, wiser, and stronger. Yet here I am again watching the same set of circumstances unfold. I think of my  littlest guy jumping in my arms and holding on tightly as if it were our last moment. “Please don’t leave me momma.” My heart hurts as I write the words and it did every single time he spoke them. “I won’t leave you baby.” I’d hug him tightly and silently plead, “Please God..don’t take them away.”

Each week I get to see them in a little room with a two way mirror. Paintings of fluffy clouds and hot air balloons line the walls. A plastic play kitchen sets to the side. Puzzles and miscellaneous toys fill the room. Sometimes they make me pretend meals in the microwave. We play and talk. I ask a ton of questions like any mom would.

I wonder is the foster mom nice, but in my heart I know she could never love them with the fierce love I have. She could never kiss their boo boos the same way I do or feel the tear that wells up in the corner of my eye when I kiss them goodnight. 

I watch them talk to their father. My oldest son and he toss the football back and forth in that tiny room. We share drinks and snacks and I wonder if the foster father is a good man. I don’t believe he can give them the same love their father can. This man is unfamiliar to them and I wonder if he talks to them kindly. I’m afraid for them.

I watch my oldest son’s face and he says he’s ok, but I’m his mom and I know his heart. I can see the truth etched into his face and lurking beneath the surface of his hazel eyes. I say, “You know you can talk to me son.” He looks up toward the two way mirror and then to the foster care worker sitting in the corner typing . A look of hopelessness overcomes him. He can not; will not speak. I think of the story we were writing together before he left, the one we didn’t get to finish. I found it when I was packing our things and my heart grew so heavy with grief.

 My youngest, my baby boy, has dark circles under his eyes and I wonder if he’s sleeping OK. He has never been away from me for more than a night, up until this all took place. My heart is aching to hold him and cuddle with him; to read him a story. 

My middle child is quiet. He smiles and plays while we’re there. He is always so full of joy. I miss his little grin and the way he would bring home little trinkets and treasures he’d found me. 

I miss a lot of things in fact. I couldn’t have imagined this day would come. I am lost without those guys. Every day it becomes more and more of an effort to find purpose. I feel like I’m sinking deeper into an abyss and there’s no one to pull me out. I’m grasping and clawing at stones, but they only turn to dust in my hands.

I hope my boys know I love them. I hope tonight are safe. I hope they know I am still fighting, still hoping, and still believing in the day we’ll be a family again. 

The truth is there is no distance that can break the bond between a mother and her children. No force can separate what has been divinely appointed. For those who wish to see me fail and to those who have had a hand in splitting apart my family.. You only make me stronger!

“This is our temporary home, not where we belong. Windows and rooms that we’re passing through. This is just a stop on the way to where we’re going. I’m not afraid because I know..this is our temporary home.”

Song by Carrie Underwood
Written by: Tiffany Jackson

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