I think I said, "I love you guys!" four different times as the boys were getting out of the car this morning and heading into school. They have no idea what this day is going to hold, but I do. When I pick them up from school today I will have to tell them.
Today they will say goodbye to their mother.
Three months ago she signed the papers to terminate her parental rights, but she had bargained in three extra visits, stretched out over three months, one of which she didn't show up to, the last of which is today.
Today she will explain to them, or at least try, why she made the decision to terminate her rights, and they will be told that they will not be seeing her anymore.
I am glad for this end of the roller coaster that monthly visits have kept us on (making progress with emotional issues and behavior and then everything falling apart again as they encounter another painful reminder of their former life), but the feelings of sadness are far greater.
I can't imagine how this mother must feel. This sounds crazy considering what she has done but I will be proud of her if she makes it today. A woman who continues to battle addiction, who hasn't found a way out of the violent, drug-filled, poverty-stricken life she was born into, now has decided to give her three boys a better chance. And today she has to look into their eyes and tell them goodbye.
The boys will handle the news differently. Joe will be sad, and hurt, but relieved at the same time. I anticipate he will feel some sense of freedom, no longer having any worries that he will have to go back and endure the abuse of his early childhood. But at the same time I'm sure there will be feelings of abandonment and loss. It will be like a death, in a way, and he will have to mourn the loss of this mother who didn't show him love him the way she should have. Oh, our dear, sweet Joe. It amazes me how sweet and nurturing this boy can be when he wasn't given an ounce of the love and nurture ne needed and deserved.
And Michael, well, Michael will be heartbroken tonight and for quite a while. He will be angry, too. He won't understand why. At four years old, he just can't. He will feel confused, frustrated, abandoned, and I fear he will be overcome with sadness. Michael is already struggling with these emotions in his current situation, not understanding why he can't see his mom more often, why he can't live with his other brother, feeling torn between that family and this one. Last week he was sent home from school because he bit a child over a toy he wanted and the day before he slapped a little girl in the face. He already has so much anger and aggression and sadness inside, and today his mother is going to say goodbye. She's going to leave him. And as much as I will hold him and hug him and love him, I won't ever be able to take her place, not completely. He will always be a boy who lost his mother.
John and I are bracing ourselves for the storm that is about to set in over our household, and we have no idea how long it's going to take for it to pass. The last 8 months of our lives have been crazy and overwhelming and so much harder than we could have ever imagined, and we're pretty sure it's about to get a whole lot worse.
We would appreciate your prayers, today and throughout the next couple of weeks, for the boys, of course, that God would protect their hearts as much as possible and comfort them and bring them peace and healing. But also for John and I, that God would enable us to love unconditionally, to be patient and kind and gentle, to know what to say and how to say it, and for the strength to give ourselves completely to the care and nurture of these broken little boys.
Lord, have mercy. Let the storm pass quickly and give us the strength to endure it.