Jun 12, 2007

On the Occasion of a Child Leaving for Another Home

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I am sad this morning, knowing that you are gone and that our home will not be the place in which you grow up. We have fostered dozens of children over the past thirteen years, and felt love for all of them, but I suspect that this might be the hardest parting ever.

You are a beautiful young woman with a sharp mind and sharper wit; if you do not wind up a lawyer you have a bright future in standup comedy. Yet despite all your wonderful qualities, we made a decision some time ago that we did not want to adopt any more children.

This makes it even harder to have to say goodbye.

You have been with us off and on for quite a few years, and we watched you grow from a precocious fourth grader into an athletic junior high school student. We forgot to have that last race; you were convinced that you could outrun me now, and I am pretty sure that this time you would beat me. The last race saw me winded and reaching the finish line only by the fact that I have really long legs.

You are a child who has been in many homes over the past decade, and for quite a long time we thought we might have to break our decision about no more adoptions. I know that you must feel disappointment that our home was not meant to be your forever home, and to tell you the truth: so do we.

I did not want to say goodbye yesterday, and I spent most of the day thinking about all the memories I have of you, like the time you got mad at me and threw a hard-boiled egg at me, or how you good you were at conning me into taking you to Arby's, or sitting down with you when you had "read to a parent" homework, or taking the dogs for a walk with you.

I also could not watch as you drove away with your new dad; he seems like a terrific person, as does the rest of your new family, but it is difficult to let go of someone who has been a part of your family for so long.

You will be missed, my child, and even by those in the house who pretend that you are a pesky kid. I wish that I could have been a better father, especially that time I got really mad and dragged you up to your room when you wouldn't go, or the times I growled when I was working and you just wanted someone to play a game with or tell someone about your day, or when I got irritated when your radio was too loud and we got into a tug-of-war over the blasted thing (I sure showed you, didn't I, taking the removeable plug and leaving you with a powerless radio).

You are the kind of kid who keeps in touch, so we will probably talk again, but you will always be a source of happy memories for everyone in our family. I am sure that you have a bright future in store, and I know that anyone who can figure out who to make a profit from a school lunch has the potential to be a successful business tycoon. You will be missed here, daughter.

And you will always be loved.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm bawling and I don't even know the child.

Historychic said...

That was really good. I don't know how your wife and you do it, but I admire the both of you for what you do for all of the children you have welcomed into your home over the years. The kids who have been a part of your family are probably the luckiest ones in the foster care system.

Lisa Renee said...

I cried too and I agree with what historychic wrote.

:-)

historymike said...

Thanks for your comments, all. I needed to exorcise these demons today.

Roo said...

Mike - Bless you and the Mrs. for being so kind-hearted and caring. The emptiness you must be feeling can not be soothed by words, so just take comfort in the memories and cherish them.

microdot said...

Man, how do you do it? I see from your piece that you will be in touch with each other, but for me, the hardest thing is the letting go.
Youu and your wife are truly big people!

LTLOP said...

Mike as a former adoptee, luckily days old, you have probably done more to help that young lady on her journey through life than you could possibly imagine. DNA doesn't make you a parent, its the blood sweat tears and head/heart-aches.

Stephanie said...

Well said and well done...

The blessings shared as your lives touched with remain with all of you.

Man with the Muck-rake said...

I know and have felt that same lump in my throat. Time heals all wounds. Savor the memories and the new opportunities for growth.

historymike said...

Yes, Roo, "empty" is a good word, and I might throw in "guilty" and "depressed" to describe our feelings about deciding against adoption.

historymike said...

Microdot:

I consider our work to be in part penance for my rambunctious childhood.

:-}

historymike said...

Agreed, LTLOP. Too many people think that genetics = parent, but we know that there are a lot of dysfunctional biological parents who can't even manage their own lives, let alone the lives of kids.

historymike said...

Thanks, Steph, and it is even more meaningful coming from someone who has the burdens that yo do.

historymike said...

Man with the Muck-rake:

Thanks, and welcome to the blogosphere!

Stephanie said...

Now, I would say that you are of those who raise the bar on accepting compliments. If you have the time, I'd very much appreciate your opinion on the matter.

(Skip 1 & 2, you know the back-story)

Michael said...

I definite agree with anonymous and many of the other commenters. You, Mr. & Mrs. Brooks are special people. That's a part of your life I didn't know from your blog. I have that much more respect for you and your family.

You are definitely leaving the world a better place (whenever you leave it; no time soon) than it was when you arrived in it.
-- Mike

Cyndi said...

That is amazing, I have nothing but respect for the foster parents out there who truly make a difference in the lives of young children. What you do blesses the lives of future generations. Thank you.

historymike said...

Thanks, Mike. I am not much to crow about fostering, but my wife is the real saint. She has infinitely more patience than I, and keeps the house running like, well, a relatively well-oiled clock that occasionally needs to be hit with a hammer.

:-}

historymike said...

Thanks, Cyndi, but the truth is that fostering children is its own reward.

There are moments of sudden awareness when you realize that you just made an important connection with a child, and that this young person has benefitted just by being in a stable home.

Hooda Thunkit said...

It takes a very special family with a very big heart to share your lives and hopefully influence those in your charge; God bless you both for caring, sharing and loving like you do.

(Sniff...)