I have another son. His name is MJ. Any one who frequents this blog knows him well. Knows the wild curls that flip flopped on his bouncy head even though I had to blur his face out of the pictures I shared.
No, of course, he's not legally mine. But those who know me, know he's mine nonetheless.
He won my heart in an instant, even tho he was wailing a blood curdling scream at the time.
He came to us last Winter when he wasn't even walking yet. He learned to walk under our care. The first 2 weeks of meals he ate here, he ate 3 or 4 helpings, like he was insatiable. He & Josiah would literally hold hands while they ate with their free hand. Oh how it hurts me to recall that sweet memory. It's like Josiah just KNEW what MJ needed. They were inseparable.
But MJ came with baggage. He had a rough start in life. A VERY rough start. As a result of this, he cried a lot and he cried often. And just when you thought he was adjusting, he'd cry more, louder, for a longer period of time. And my daughters were helping less. And we didn't have enough of a support system. And Matt & I were EXHAUSTED. EXHAUSTED!!!
I called a friend crying when I was told by another friend that we had to let him go. A lot of people were telling us we needed to let him go. People who's opinions we didn't ask, told us we needed to let him go. My heart was shattering into a million pieces because I didn't WANT TO LET HIM GO.
How do you let go of someone you love?
You hold onto them secretly in your heart even after they've left your life.
I called my mom crying and just shared everything that was going on and how we didn't have help and how I couldn't let him go because in my heart he was my son. She cried w/ me and was so very sorry she didn't live closer. She didn't have any vacation days to come help. She was such an encouragement though. She said that God had brought him into our lives for a reason and that she would be praying with us & for us.
We had a family meeting that evening. A very painful family meeting. We asked, pleaded with our daughters to bare their hearts to us. To share their REAL feelings. Because they had been pulling away from "family time" in the living room and they were spending more time in their bedrooms. And it was worrying Matt & I.
Two of the girls couldn't handle MJ's tantrums anymore. They did NOT want to send him away, they just didn't want to be around it anymore. So we hire a full time nanny! That's how we fix this! Yeah, not possible on our income... I did *almost* hire a sleep trainer to come & teach the boys how to sleep through the night. But our finances were already pretty tight from grabbing take-out dinner almost every night in order to maintain some sort of sanity and I hadn't had ANY photo shoots so there wasn't additional money coming in.
MJ had a Case Worker visit the next day. She came into our home smiling and happy as a lark. She knew he was a difficult baby. She profusely thanked us for doing the hard work of caring for him. She then asked if we had anything we needed to talk about...
We shared w/ her about our family meeting and how we couldn't do this to our family anymore. I had tears fighting to stay inside my eyes. The words of a trusted friend kept running through my head "he is the States responsibility, not yours" and how I had argued back "that's NOT TRUE! Orphans are the CHURCH'S responsibility! The State took over when Christians quit caring!" And I knew again, even as the words slipped out of my mouth that MJ had to go, that we were making a grave mistake.
MJ left the following Wednesday, 5 days after we shared our decision w/ his case worker. And a piece of my heart has been missing ever since.
But how do you keep your daughters happy and a little boy in distress happy?
I still don't have an answer for this.
And I don't know what the Lord has in store for MJ.
But I feel like I just need to write it out, because maybe some other foster family is going through something similar or maybe this is just free therapy for my soul.
We did a valiant thing by taking MJ in. By loving him. Having Family Worship every evening. Smothering him w/ kisses. Having free style dance nights. Introducing him to fun, new adventures. Arranging play dates w/ his half siblings. Telling him over & over again that he was loved, so very loved.
We did an equally valiant thing by letting him go and gaining back the respect of our daughters who needed to know their hearts mattered to us because they are our precious baby girls.
But how do you let go of someone you love?
You hold onto them in your heart even after they've left your life and you pray fervently for them.
We were approved to get a visit with MJ earlier this week by his Case Worker. We were stoked, ecstatic and overjoyed!!! Josiah clapped his hands & squealed!!! We got the house ready & our schedule completely empty so we could literally just sit & play for 3 days straight!
And foster mom wouldn't answer her phone.
And she wouldn't respond to my messages.
And I kept taking it to the Lord in prayer.
I finally got a hold of her yesterday...
MJ isn't coming. She didn't have a valid reason. I even offered to go pick him up even though it's a 2 hour drive. I would drive 2 DAYS to just visit him for a few hours.
As I type this out I have Tiny in my arms, Josiah next to me playing with a vtech toy and my 14 yr old behind me on her own laptop while the 15 & a half yr old practices violin and the 10 yr old catches up on her show. And it feels like a 2 yr old is missing. I can't explain it and I know I'm not going crazy...it's just that he was supposed to be here by now.
So if you could continue praying for the Lord's sweet grace on MJ, we would greatly appreciate it.