The countdown is on. Twenty-seven days until he moves out. I have been happily swimming in denial until now. We’ve known this day would come. Sweet Alex has been with us 2.5 years, much longer than any child should spend in foster care. He’s been calling us ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ for 2.5 years. And now we’re preparing him to call another set of parents ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ and explaining to him that this will be the last move, the last change, the last new set of ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ for him. Alex is moving to his forever home and we couldn’t be more thrilled for him. We advocated, pushed and prodded for him to get to this point. As heartbreaking as it will be to have him leave our home, we know that this is the best thing for Alex, and that is what is important for us. But we will still be sad and we will still grieve. And this is what I am preparing myself for.
Extended visits with his forever family happened months ago. He now spends every weekend with them. We’ve packed up some of his clothes to have at their house. His toys are going over little by little; his bike and his scooter.
In foster care and adoption, transitions are not usually this slow, but we are lucky. We get to ease ourselves into the changes. He gets to go from one home, to two homes, to one home. We get to talk about what it will be like to call his new parents ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ and what a forever family really means. We also see the angry tantrums coming from pent up feelings about past trauma, abandonment, neglect, abuse, and change. Change is hard.
The memories of Alex will stay with us forever. The pride that after struggling academically for three years, he’s finally reading on grade level. The transformation he made from a clumsy, quiet, malnourished kid who could not self-sooth and had no emotional attachment to anyone to the best kid on his baseball/basketball/soccer teams, who is proud of his schoolwork, uses his words when he’s upset, and has formed healthy attachments to everyone in our family.
Alex will always hold a very special place in my heart. He is sweet and sensitive. I will miss his hugs, and where he always lays his head on my shoulder.