Written, February 6, 2019
Recently a dear family in the foster care system had to face the day they never wanted to face. The little girl they have loved as their own for over two years was taken away and given to her forever family. They had big hopes of adopting this little sweetheart which came into their home when she was three days old. My heart aches as I watched the pain these parents and their four- year- old daughter are experiencing. The deep love they have for this foster daughter, along with not knowing how she is doing, has left a hole in their hearts that feels like it will never heal.
Being on the sideline pain of these precious friends has brought back memories that still hurts deeply to think about. Don and I became a part of the foster parent system after we had been married four years with no children. Two little red headed, freckled face brothers from Germany changed our lives when they were placed in our home. Their German mother and American soldier step-father had left them for a visit with an aunt’s family but never came back for them. After the added stress of keeping them almost a year the aunt turned them over to the social services. They were two and almost four years old when they came to our home.
Alfred and Peter spoke mostly English but often used a German word in the middle of the sentence. Don’s mom and siblings spoke German so we would call on them to help us know what the boys were saying. Those two little men stole are hearts immediately and easily became our own. They loved to take turns riding the tractor with Don as he plowed the fields…. they spent hours outside on our farm playing Superman with a towel pinned to their shirts…..they enjoyed playing with Gretchen, our German Shepherd…. adored our Sandra June that was born while they were with us….and looked forward to going to church, learning and participating with other kids.
After they had been with us for two years, Don was called to a pastorate across the mountain in Packwood. We talked to our case worker and she made arrangements for us to take the boys with us. She gave us permission to use our last name for them at school because we were starting the process to adopt them. Alfred would share about the abuse he had received in his parent’s home and say he was glad we were his mom and dad now. He told the new case worker, “my other mom and dad were always fighting and this mom and dad are always kissing.”
Since their parents had never tried to contact the boys, the Social Services petitioned the courts for us to adopt them. It was required of the SS to put a notice in papers across the country that they would be adopted if the parents did not show up in two months. After they had been a part of our family for over three years, we received the letter we hoped we would never receive. The boy’s mom and step-dad had petitioned the courts for their sons and we had to be in Grant County for the court case. The aunt, case worker, Don, and I shared privately with the judge our concern with the abuse. Alfred also had opportunity to tell the judge what happened to him. To our dismay, the judge awarded the boys back to their parents. We were allowed to take them with us for the night and bring them back with their belongings the next day. We spent that night with Alfred crying and begging us not to make him go.
The next day we watched our boys being hurried away, both crying loudly. The step-dad was talking above their cries saying, “We have new bikes for you and all kinds of toys when we get back home to Alaska.” Don and I headed back over the mountain with exhausted bodies and a hole in our hearts that hurt a very long time. Our only comfort was knowing, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NLT