The Goodbye Visit – Pain in Permanency

I sit and stare at two framed pictures of our beautiful boy…his toys sprawled out behind them reminding me that this is his home. I search through my Bible for a verse that is fitting…but truly, no words seem to be enough. I pray that the Spirit would guide my thoughts and my words as I ponder what to possibly say in a handwritten card…but the dull ache in my heart clouds my mind.

We have received word that the judge over S’s case has ruled in favor of the state and granted permanent custody…so over the next two weeks, S will have his “goodbye visits” with his birth parents. While this was such answered prayer in his case…the reality of it is sitting heavy on my heart. How do you prepare for a moment like this…how can we possibly do enough?

“Lord, I know no matter what we say or what we give…it won’t be enough…but let it be something.”

We have never been through this before…we have never come to this place.

While we have so much JOY and excitement…heartbreak and sadness are there, too. While we smile and cry happy tears at the thought of adoption…my stomach drops with the loss his birth parents will experience. There is this win-lose reality with adoption through foster care. Where a win is a loss and a loss is a win…and there is no 100% celebratory abandon. If they leave it hurts, if they stay it hurts…but in two completely different ways.

And unless you’ve been there…unless you’ve walked through foster care…I’m not sure you’d get it…the win-lose reality. The hurt either way. It’s this cry to the Lord “THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You are so good. You are so faithful. I am in completel awe….but God, it hurts. It’s so broken. Oh God, how they need you in this.” This breaks my heart, but yet fills it at the same time. It’s this trickle…this constant fill up and pour out…fill up and pour out. This praise and lament.

A divided heart.

Our son…and while we must wait on legalities and formalities and we don’t yet have the official word…I know in my heart, he’s staying. And with that confidence, my heart leaps with joy. But this man and woman gave life to our son…how can our hearts NOT break for them in its next beat?

While there were so many selfish decisions made…there were selfless ones, too. And we cling to those…and for those, we will be forever grateful. We will share them with our son one day. We will tell him how much he was loved and is loved. They will make up his story…God’s beautiful, purposeful, perfect story for his life. We will tell him that when faced with the big, scary decisions…they chose love.

And we will tell him that we did, too. As broken and awkward and messy as it is…we have chosen to love them. While a simple framed picture and a handwritten card just doesn’t seem like enough…I pray it will be something. And I pray that through our final words they will get a glimpse of the love that Jesus offers.

His will, His way…


7 thoughts on “The Goodbye Visit – Pain in Permanency

  1. Lisa, I was just praying for your family this morning and wondering where things stood. I will keep praying for all involved. So hard…❤️💔

  2. We are very excited for the lifetime your family will grow together. We are equally sorrowful for S’s birth family.

    We often think of the mothers in China that feel they have no choice to keep their little ones because of gender or genetics…how painful that must be; yet we thank God for entrusting them in our care to love them and teach them about Jesus.

    Our prayers are with you guys and we feel so blessed to call you friends. Much love…

  3. Aunt Janet andI were just talking wondering how things were going. I am happy for you and JJ . I’m sure Avery is excited. I often wonder how the family feels that have made the choice to put there child up for adoption but recently in Steve family that decision was made. The answer was given because I love my child and god guided me. She was happy that someone else also loved her child enough to give her child a happy home full of love. As hard as it is for both sides Love is strong and god works in mysterious ways.

  4. I’ve been struggling for months to know what to say and how to say it. We are fostering a family members son and now we are heading for adoption. You have really written words that touch my very heart about the win/loss ratio.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Our oldest son’s goodbye visit was so hard. He was too young to understand but his biological mother and I knew the gravity of the situation. We talked like crazy during the other visits but the last one definitely had moments of silence. She cried. I cried. We hugged each other. We hugged our shared son and then we said goodbye. Fast forward nine years later, she and I still talk and end each conversation with “I love you”. I totally agree that joy and sadness sit side by side. It’s a tough spot to be in. ❤

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