Tuesday, September 25, 2018

To the woman who will take my place

Hello. I've been putting off this letter, but time is running out. In a few days, Little Man will leave me and find himself in your arms, in your house, eating your food, riding in your car. And it won't matter that I rocked him through the night at three days old as he went through withdrawals. It won't matter that I held his legs down when he got all his shots. Or that I was there when he learned how to walk.
He'll be yours.

I don't begrudge you his love or his smiles. I'd be happy if every woman in the world could have them because they're the best love and smiles around. It's just that here with me, in this house...well, this is the only life Little Man has ever really known. It's not your fault that you weren't there when he tried peanut butter for the first time or saw his first horse or had his first birthday. It's not your fault you don't know what his favorite foods or best tickle spots are. It's a broken world and a broken system and that's why we find ourselves in this situation. I don't blame you.

But I need you to do something for me.

When Little Man walks away from me and goes home with you and starts his new life--when he looks back wondering why I'm not going too--don't pretend it's no big deal. Don't believe that just because I know it's best for him and knew it was coming that it doesn't hurt like hell. Or that what I did for him doesn't matter.

He won't remember me a year from now. But you will. You will always know there was another woman who loved Little Man during the time when you couldn't. So please, I beg you, if he ever asks what happened to him when he was a baby, don't just say he was in foster care for a little while. Don't just say someone else had to watch him until you could take him home.

Tell him he was loved. Tell him he brightened the lives of the five people who took him in, cared for him, shared with him, sacrificed for him, opened their hearts to him. Tell him that even though he was in foster care he never spent a single day unwanted or unloved.

Not one single day.

There's more I could say about all the things I'm hoping and praying for Little Man and his future, but I think you know. I believe you want what's best for him, just like I do. So I will simply say this: I will never forget him. Ever. And despite the pain of loss, the buckets of tears, the sleepless nights, the desperate prayers...I would do it all over.

For him.

Take good care of him.