His foster mom handed me a box of his belongings with a stuffed bear from his birth mom, a few clothes, and an art project he made. She got choked up and said, “Don’t forget he is scared of the dark.” Reaching for me in a time of heartbreak, she gripped me tighter than most hugs I’ve ever received. It was a hug of need, of love, and of absolute despair and loss. I have never felt so much pass between two people during one moment. I gripped her hard too, I promised to take care of him with all that I have. I cried unexpected tears that were full of exhaustion, fear, excitement, and compassion for her loss. For their health and safety, the decision was made to separate the sibling pair and place the youngest with us.
“Who loves you?” she said tearfully.
“YOU!” and he blew her one last kiss goodbye.
On a Saturday morning, outside a sub shop parking lot, we became parents. As we drove away, I saw her break down with pain. For 6 months she cared for him, hugged him, and loved him.
It was the longest 2-hour drive I’ve ever experienced. A silent 3 year old is deafening. He looked out the window and for a short bit mumbled a quiet self-soothing tune.