We didn’t hug Him.
He still didn’t like physical affection, even though he’d learnt to trust us.
We knew this day was about Him.
We didn’t exactly know what He would be feeling but we knew He’d be struggling.
We all were.
I don’t know what you’re supposed to feel and how you’re supposed to react when you go and live with a new family.
We’d fostered this Little Kid for 15 months.
He’d arrived aged 3 years 7 months and was ‘toilet trained, a good sleeper, doesn’t say much’.
His adoption has been a few months in the paperwork and the planning. He’d had two weeks of introductions to His new family, and had already had a sleep over in His new home.
Today He was moving to their home, or rather to His home, for good.
We’d got on pretty well with his adoptive parents and we thought we’d probably be able to keep some contact with them.
This ball however, was entirely in their court, and we knew we may never see the Little Kid again.
It was a Tuesday.
Our front door closed and the Social Worker drove Him away.
We watched them disappear and burst into tears.
It was like a funeral and a birth all rolled into one.
I went to work.
Our birth kids went to school.
My wife went to work.
I guess there was a spare seat in his Reception Class where He’d been sitting for a term.
I remember the next few days were ones of relief.
The transition to adoption had gone as smoothly as it can, but it’s still a tense time.
We were all physically and emotionally exhausted.
Dealing with such exhaustion is relatively easy.
We slept, we went to the cinema, we ordered take away, we watched TV.
We watched whatever we wanted on TV.
This was an exciting novelty, although I did once find myself watching Peppa Pig just out of habit.
We went to bed knowing we would not be interrupted by a distressed child in the middle of the night.
We knew we’d done a good job, and that gave us a sense of pride.
A few weeks later, we rang our Social Worker and said that we were available to foster again.
We had redecorated the Foster Room.
We were rested and relaxed
I thought I had recovered.
6 months later the grief hit me.
A few other tricky things were going on.
There was some stress at work, I had a couple of minor health issues, and it seemed to be constantly raining.
Normally, I’d be able to deal with all these things.
This time I couldn’t.
I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t eat.
I’m a middle aged, middle class man, who has bumbled through life quite happily.
I did not know what I was experiencing, and certainly did not have the vocabulary to describe it.
My wife is cleverer than me.
She got me to talk.
I talked to her and I talked to a couple of close, wise friends, who just listened.
I began to explore what I was feeling.
I went to the parks I’d been to with the Little Kid.
I watched the programmes I’d watched with the Little Kid.
I made a Playlist of the songs that reminded me of him.
I did some crying.
I looked at photos.
I did a bit more crying.
I began to write down a little bit about what I was feeling.
Some of those writings turned into blogs.
You’ll grieve one way or another.
You’ll grieve sooner or you’ll grieve later.
Not every Foster Kid has impacted me like that one.
But he certainly left the biggest imprint.
That Kid is happy, healthy and thriving in a loving home.
It was worth it.