by Designing Mom Liberty
This post about AJ has been a long time coming, but I'll be honest - for a while it was just too painful to write.
A few days after I sent Cat the last email post - wherin I included all of our deepest hopes and dreams for AJ to become part of our family, we had a wake up call to the challenges of the foster care system. AJ - though he'd never met them - had half siblings in the "system" and someone in the county literally changed their mind about him being with an adoptive family vs. being with blood. We received a phone call on a Monday afternoon telling us we had to drop him off the next morning at another (AJ's 6th) foster home. This one was not an adoptive home - it's simply another holding place, and though we've offered to be the temporary caregivers for him just to provide stability - according to the County Social Workers involved, we are "no longer on the case."
Talk about a trial by fire. Our little family was rocked by our first taste of the foster care system - and this isn't even any of the details! Though we have done all we can to try and let everyone involved know that we desire to adopt AJ - and we haven't completely given up hope, we haven't exactly been holding our breath for him coming back to us. Once again a family of 4... we hug each other a little tighter and talk about our feelings a lot.
We're still committed to the idea of foster care - with the goal to adopt eventually. We just have a little more perspective as we prepare for the next round of the roller coaster. My husband and I went out to see "The Blind Side" and I wept like an inspired foster mom throughout. I watched the true story of a woman (a designing mom, really!) who was unwilling to look at a kid as just another number or a risk. She saw him as a beautiful person worth risking everything for... and Jay and I walked out of the movie re-committed to the risk ourselves.
We'll keep you posted if we hear anything, but in the meantime, I thought I would share a piece of artwork - a collage - that I did in the first week that AJ was gone. I was struggling with my emotions and turned to artwork to help me articulate what I felt. This collage came out of it.
The other photos are precious to me. The one where I am holding AJ in front of our fireplace was the last morning that we had him... I intentionally held him in front of the picture I'd created for our mantel - as a point of remembering. Another was taken in church the last day before our phone call to transfer him came. The final pic is our family as we are this holiday... without AJ, but feeling close and still joyful, nonetheless.