“Are you sure you want to do this?”
I laughed. “Well, it’s a little late for that now.”
“Not really. You could change your mind. I mean, foster kids are used to being moved anyway, right? At least that’s what I have read.”
“They don’t get used to it. Every time they are told they will live with someone forever and then are moved, it damages their brain’s ability to form relationships.”
“Yeah, but you know what I mean. They kind of get used to that.”
“No, there is not really any getting used to that. Yes, they expect it, but that’s the problem. Every time changes their brain more. The only thing that will correct how their brain responds and allows them to have relationships in the future is for someone to not pass them on. For someone to stay.”
“But are you sure you want to do that?” She prodded.
“We already made that decision when we brought them home. When we chose to bring them home as our children, that was us making a commitment to them. The same kind of commitment as saying “I do” at the altar for marriage. There is no decision now except to stick it out no matter what.”
“I just don’t understand it. I really don’t.”
No, I suppose she really doesn’t. Foster children are not theory or philosophy. They are not a news article or a book. They are children. Little people. People with hearts and minds and memories and hopes and fears and dreams. They have friends and family and loved ones – even if they can never see them again. They have names and faces. We have spent six months creating memories with our girls, spending our every day together. There is no such thing as saying, “Never mind. I want to go back to how things were.” There is no going back as if you did not just build relationships, such as they are, with three individuals.
The first time we met our children, we were overwhelmed, overstimulated and terrified of the idea of bringing these strangers into our home as our own. We knew it would change everything and our life would never be the same. And we knew in our hearts that it would be impossible for us to walk away. These were our children. They are our children.
Technically, yes, we still have a choice. The papers have not been signed; they do not yet bear our name. This life we have chosen is hard. It really is hard. There are many days when a large part of me wishes I could run away from the heartache and overwhelming exhaustion of it all. But there is no running away from your own children, your own heart. They walked into our lives and into our hearts and we were right: we are not the same. Everything has changed and I am honestly overwhelmed by it. And I would never go back.