Here One Minute, Gone the Next

This past weekend my friend had to do something that I find unimaginable. She had to give her baby back. Now when I say her, it's all relative. It was her baby in the sense that she brought him home from the hospital at just a few days old. It was her baby in that she has loved him, rocked him to sleep, snuggled him and cared for him for the past two years. It was her baby because she was the one mothering him.

She, along with her husband, don't have any biological children so signing up to be foster parents with the hope that they could adopt a child who needed a home made sense. She is adopted and knew first hand the difference an adoptive family can make to a child.

They also knew there was no guarantee that they would get to keep this baby, their baby, but they loved him as if he was their own all the while praying he would stay with them forever. Yet they knew that he might not.

This is the part I can't imagine. As a mother, I can't imagine loving my baby with all of me while knowing that there is a greater chance than not the baby will be taken away. That the baby will be returned to his birth mother. This is the most self-less thing, and my friend did it regardless.

I believe in second chances and the truth that you can make a bad choice and still change your ways and make good on things. This baby's birth mother made some bad decisions. She chose drugs instead of what was best for her baby. It was because of these choices that her sweet baby, who she no doubt loved, was taken from her.

She should feel beyond lucky and blessed that her baby was cared for and loved by my friend for the past two years. I hope that she understands that she missed some of the sweetest and most difficult times in having a child. The long sleepless nights, the sweet cuddles, the temper tantrums and the first everythings (steps, words, kisses, etc) that my friends relished in as if it was their baby. This birth mother's poor choices led her baby to a family that adored him every single moment of every day.

It is a bittersweet story though. Amazing for the birth mom that she got clean, made good on the poor choices of her past and worked on changing her life so she could regain custody of her son. As a mom, I can't imagine anyone taking one of my kids and me not doing anything and everything in my power to fight to get them back. It is just instinct for a mother to want her children. I am happy for this mom, that she was able to do that if not for her son, for herself.

I also know there are millions of mothers who are brave enough, who love their babies so much, they know in their hearts they aren't the best mothers for their kids. They do the least selfish act of all, they give their babies up to parents who might not otherwise get to be parents. I know giving your child up for adoption and losing your child to child protection services are two very different things, but I also know if it wasn't for this mom's life choices, my friend would have never known the joys of being a mother.

I can say that I've seen my friend change so much in the past two years. She has told me repeatedly, usually when I am wanting to cry at the thought of her returning her baby, that she knew this was a possibility when she agreed to foster him. They are heartbroken and will most definitely have a whole in their lives and in their hearts that their little boy once filled. I also can't think of two more giving people and am so proud of my friend for always doing what was best for that baby, even when she knew it would leave her without him. She not only cared for the baby, but she supported the birth parents in their journey.

I wish I could say I would be able to give my baby up for adoption or be a foster parent, that I could be that altruistic, that good of a person. I know I couldn't be. For that, I am thankful for all the parents and families that are. For the parents who have given their babies to so many of my friends, making them parents and allowing them to know the love of a family. To the people who take these babies and children in and foster them, that love them with all they have, knowing that the time may be short and they will have to eventually go home, these people make this world better. They also make me appreciate my kids and how lucky I am to have them.

To my friend, I hope you find peace knowing that you changed that boy's life. You made it better and he will know what it feels like to be loved because of the two of you. xoxo


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