I thought this day could come soon and so I was right. Last night while I was up with A5w between, cough, 2am and 4:30am *yikes!* I got an email from his case worker letting me know they wanted to place them this morning. We emailed back and forth a bit as I told her I was in Owasso and couldn’t get them to her until about 1pm, but we made that arrangement and I proceeded to try to get that baby to go back to sleep. It was a LONG night.
I so seriously wish I’d gotten a picture of Katie with A23m because she really bonded with that little sweetie in a way she hasn’t with any of the other kids who have come through our home this year. Though they’ve only been with us since Monday, their leaving today was particularly difficult for Katie.
And the transition was a little concerning to me. At some point I keep hoping to encounter someone working in child welfare who places people over policy and views these little human souls as more than just a stack of paperwork, but I’m having more and more trouble finding that hope. After waiting for 20 minutes or so, someone came for them – not the family member who was taking them, not the case worker who met them on Monday, but an assistant they’d never seen before. She informed me she was there to wait with the kids and that I could go. I was surprised, but I handed her the baby and hugged the 23mo and we started to leave. The 23mo threw herself down on the floor in a puddle of tears. It was something new to us that we hadn’t seen before this week and there was no way on the planet I was walking out of there like that. She had no idea who this new person was and all she knew was that the family she’d started attaching to this week was just leaving her here with another new stranger. I picked her up and said we’d just wait until the family member showed up too. We waited another 20-25 minutes and I just held this little sweet one with her head on my shoulder, stroking her back and assuring her I’d stay longer.
Eventually the family member showed up. I expected her to just jump into this person’s arms in excitement. She didn’t do that. She didn’t cry, but she wasn’t super excited to see this person either and that was concerning to me too, but what do you do? I handed her over to her family member and told this person we’d loved having these kids this week and gave a little run down of what happened while they were with us. We kissed her one more time and walked away.
Katie and I got in the elevator and Katie burst into tears. This was a hard one for her. As it should be. Darn it.
We rode the elevator to the wrong floor and when we got off I was struck by a long line of people waiting for drug testing. I teared up then. There was just something about the hopeless long wait for someone to test you for something you’ve probably done in the past and could possibly still be doing and need to stop doing if you have any hope of seeing your kids again and that just tore at my heart.
We’re being confronted with a side of humanity we’ve sheltered ourselves from for so long that it literally takes our breath away when it parades right before us. And I wonder if we really should be so surprised. There is more of this going on than we even know.
And the hopelessness of that just breaks my heart.