I feel like this should really be two separate blog posts. The one in which I tell you that we met with our foster baby’s prospective adoptive family, and that they seem lovely and that we are so happy for her and for them, that it wasn’t hard, that yes it was surreal but not in a bad way. For almost two hours our boys and her birth/adoptive siblings played happily together, as though it was the most ordinary thing in the world. It was truly humbling. And I don’t use that word often.
That is the post I wanted to write, wanted to share. One of hope and positivity.
There is a second post though. The one where I strapped our family back in our car, drove away from their home, put on my sunglasses and music, and cried for about thirty miles.
Not because we will have to say goodbye to her, not because we don’t believe she will have a wonderful life with them (and therefore without us) but because during our visit I learnt that one of her other siblings has recently had their adoption break down, and they are back in foster care. And I realised that no matter how many times we do this, no matter how many babies we love, nurture and pass on, no matter how we bend and stretch and maybe eventually break ourselves fostering- it will never be enough. There are so many, so very very many children and our effort will only ever be a drop, in vast, possibly bottomless ocean.
So I cried behind my glasses, and I am crying now. With all three children tucked up asleep in their beds. I have been crying for so long I feel like I have cried about everything there is to cry about. It started as tears for ‘failed’ adoptions. Why do we call them that? I thought I hated the term ‘failure to progress’ in relation to a woman’s cervical dilation in labour…but ‘failed adoption’?! What kind of message does that send to a child? They have failed at family life, failed to be loveable, failed to be easy to live with, failed at life. How do we expect them to come back from that? Who is failing here? Not the children. I’d guess not the adoptive parents in most cases either. Who then? Birth parents? Many of who have been utterly failed by their own parents, by people they trusted, by professionals, by society. Should we blame them? I mean who’s fault is this? Is it anyone’s at all?
Even thinking about it my heart breaks. I can’t remember the last time I cried so hard. Crying hiccuping, crying with snot, crying so hard you feel like you might break in two. Crying as cardio. These are not silent, effortless tears. I am sad, and I am angry and my mind wants my body to recognise and honour that.
I am crying for A, for every baby like her, babies born to parents they will never live with. For the babies who aren’t removed but maybe should be. For the children that grow up hurting, fearful, angry, not knowing who to trust, not knowing how to recognise the emotions they carry inside without letting those feelings destroy them. For the women who choose their men over their children, for the men who use their power to control, to coerce, to manipulate and abuse- why do they do it? For the parents who can’t, just can’t because of drugs, or alcohol or some other reason, for the professionals who want to help, but who are only humans themselves, for myself, past, present and future, for my own siblings and for everyone I know. For all of us. For the messes we make, and the things we do to try and fix it.
What are we doing?
I. Have. No. Idea.
But I know I have never felt so small. So tiny. Like a spot plaster on a gaping head wound, that is literally gushing blood fucking everywhere, and only a handful of people have even noticed.