First off, thanks to everyone who is suddenly reading Misdirected. I had more than 120 visits yesterday. I didn't think 120 people even knew this blog existed :-)
Today was a very sad transition for us. Our most recent "guest kid" left our custody this morning, headed for another placement. He was a very brave little boy, heading off into the wild blue yonder without a tear in his eye while Mel and I bawled like babies. He was our youngest long-term placement by far, and though we didn't know what we were doing with a 4 year old he was very gentle and forgiving with us. We will miss him.
And...he will be the last one for a bit. In the 14 months we have been fostering we have had 24 different wonderful kids pass through our home, and we have grown attached to each of them - so much so that seeing them leave was always heartbreaking for us. As followers of this blog know, our original intention was to foster while we pursued adoption. During this same time period we have also had 3 different attempts at adoptions blow up in our faces. It has been hurtful, saddening, maddening, and ultimately exhausting. So we are going to give ourselves a little space to figure out how to proceed from here before sticking our hands back into the fire.
Our many contacts within the Foster/Adoptive Parent community assure us that this is normal, and many can tell us stories about how they had to wait many years, decades in some cases, for their "forever families" to come together. These folks are made of sterner stuff than I am. I am saddened with each new story about hurt and neglect that enters our home, and ultimately crushed when these children leave and we are left alone once more, still without a child or children to call our own. Thank God that there are those who are able to do this for years at a time - the need for Foster Parents is real, but the burdens are huge.
So, now what? We'll spend some time turning on televisions and radios to make up for the missing noise. We'll notice that we no longer have schedules full of places to go and things to do every day. We'll probably do a little more "couple gaming" while smiling sadly at each other. And, eventually, our batteries will recharge and we'll wonder why on Earth we are allowing that spare bedroom to remain empty. But, for right now, we're just going to curl up around our hurts and heal for a while.