I decided to make this post two parts because there is so much to say and each detail is so emotional. I hope you will be okay with all the details because as much as I may want to hide some of these things in my heart I also recognize that this is not my story to be told. Yes, I may be walking through these scenarios but ultimately this is God's story and I hope He will be glorified by its telling...
Along with the letters from Jed's birth parents we also received letters from each member of the Foster family. These letters touch my heart now just like they did the afternoon I read them in Hong Kong. These letters express such joy for having been able to love Jed. They wrote about how much fun it was to play with him and snuggle with him. To have him crawl all the way to the oldest daughter's room and knock on the door until she opened it. They wrote about how Jed is changing people's view of Down syndrome and adoption. They also shared little things they will miss like Jed's little whisper babble when he first wakes up. I have come to enjoy this too. They do discuss the joy he brought them and how hard it is to say good-bye.
I have tears in my eyes as I right this. This family is amazing and was so perfect for Jedidiah. You want to know my favorite part about this family? They love Jesus! It is so evident that they love and serve God. Another answered prayer for us when we heard Jed might be going to a foster home. God matched Jed with this family for a reason and I will forever be grateful for the love they poured out on our precious boy. A boy that was introduced to the love of God by this great family.
That same afternoon Jed woke from his nap unsure of where he was and a little sad. This was the first sign that he knew something had changed. We comforted him and he seemed okay after a little while. The sadness came and went that evening. We decided to cancel our plans with the social worker and just take a walk to the mall and make it an easy night. What the evening revealed in time was not unexpected. Jedidiah was grieving.
I knew this was coming. I had had a conversation with Justine, another adoptive mom, who assured me that it was important for this to happen and that it would be okay. So I prepared myself the best I could. I was NOT prepared.
There was a period of about twenty minutes, that night, when Jed cried this quiet, deep, tear filled cry. The pain and sadness on Jed's face ran deep. He would look at me and bury his face in my chest to cry. He would look up at Josh and do the same. He did this multiple times. I was so thankful that he found comfort in my arms. During this time Josh and I made eye contact and we would start to cry. We both felt it. The helplessness, the loss, the pain. He missed the only family he knew in the Fosters and it hurt so bad to see him like this.
I don't know that you can prepare for anything like this but I kept thinking about my conversation with Justine and remembered something Joanie, another recent adoptive mom, said about her daughter's sadness. Joanie wrote about not letting her baby girl cry alone. Joanie was going to assure her daughter that she was there for her and so she held her while she cried. We did that! We held him, loved him, affirmed his pain and let him know we loved him and would take good care of him. That was a hard twenty minutes!
After this difficult time we changed Jed for bed, I gave him a bottle and after he fell asleep I lay him in his crib for the night. I was so glad he was able to sleep. Sleep is really important after a long day like this one. Josh and I decided to do the same. After all it had been a very long day.
I did realize something important after going through this with Jed though. This time allowed us a chance to bond because the three of us where going through it together. I believe the fact that all three of us stood there is part of what made Jedidiah so close to both of us. Our social worker made a comment about how most children will attach to one parent. I'm so thankful something beautiful came out of this time.
Because I don't want to leave you on a sad note, I will tell you that Jed never cried like that again. He did have a few sad moments when he first woke up and had to remember things were different. Here is a picture of Jedidiah playing on one of the beds in our hotel room. (No we did not ask for separate beds but we didn't feel like dealing with a room change since we had arrived so late that first night and just wanted to sleep.)
I would like to leave you with the verse Jed's foster mom put in her letter to him...
"Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2