Part of me is relieved. I mean, a baby is hard work, you know? Let his mother get up with him at all hours of the night. Let her try to force-feed him medicine when he gets an ear infection, and change diaper after diaper after diaper. Let her wash endless piles of tiny clothes and get to the point where she doesn't even bother changing her shirt when he spits up all over it because she knows he's just going to do it again in three hours.
Right? That's what I want, right? That's what's best, isn't it?
Sure, the look of anticipation on his face when I hold out my arms and reach for him is one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. Sure, he makes the sun shine when he smiles and fills our home with laughter. Sure, his arms around my neck and his cheek against my cheek touches something in my soul that words cannot describe. That only the vibrant, uninhibited colors of the sun rising with hope over the Bridger mountains can describe. Sure, I love him. I love him.
But he's leaving soon.
I knew this day would come and I don't begrudge it. How could I? A family being reunited is a wonderful thing. It's what I want. And I'm honored to have played a small part in this laborious process that brought a young man and woman from the pit of addiction to stability and life, and brought a boy back to his home. Because that was the goal. That was the plan. That he would be able to go home.
Yes, home. He's going home where his flesh and blood will have a second chance to do right by him and give him the love and security unique to biological families. Not more or less or better or worse than families whose DNA don't match, but certainly unique. No, I don't begrudge him that. I want what's best for him.
So I will hold back my tears and wish him well when this "soon" day comes, and I will rejoice for the sake of family. Family ...in all its broken, beautiful, messy, hopeful, bittersweet glory. Family.
But I hope his mother understands if I hold on to his hand a little longer than I should as I place him in her arms and say goodbye.