For the past eight months, I’ve been her mother. At the end of the week, the choice to keep me in her life is exclusively his. He tells me he wants me there, but I know that desire may change in time. As his confidence grows, I may come to be an intrusion, a walking reminder of a time he’d like to forget. He is a good man and I will always respect whatever choice he makes. Although I hope our relationship will continue, I accept that my work here may be done.
I walked eyes open into the fire and knew all along this day would come. Reunification was always the plan-as it should have been. I’d do it a thousand times over if only I could always reach this end. I would love and lose again and again for this finish. For once, I walk away knowing a system wrought with corruption that so often harms children more than it helps them has, this time, properly served a child. A family has been protected and a child has known immeasurable love. Always.
Here’s where many will tell me that they could never travel this path and will offer me accolades. Please don’t. The gift is mine. I am ever so grateful for this moment of light along this sometimes dark journey. I’m no hero. Over the years, I’ve done as much wrong as I’ve done right. I have regrets. I am often weak and scared, angry and impatient. I am never as good as I want to be. I never stop educating myself, I’m always striving to improve, but did not have the skills years ago that I have now. In nearly eleven years as a foster parent, thirty children born to another woman have called me “Mom.” I failed some of them.
This time with this child, this opportunity to serve, and be an instrument in the preservation of a family is one of the greatest rewards I’ve ever received. There may be a hundred reasons to be here, but this is why I came. To help. Giving my heart to a child who may never know my name, and supporting her father through her journey home has restored my faith in this work. It has granted me one more chance to know love, eight more months of time mothering an infant that I thought I would never know again, countless memories to feed my soul, and one moment in time when all is right in the world.