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Healing from our Loss

The remains of a good memoryThe first topic in our foster/adoption training was to learn to recognize and deal with losses in our lives and in others’ lives. We have just suffered a great loss and Saturday evening and Sunday morning it felt like a very real, tangible, permanent loss.

It truly felt like Boy had died. The pain was 10x more than losing Grandpa last month. Two catastrophic losses in 30 days was almost too much.

We came home Saturday from dropping him off for reunification and I saw the piggy bank on the floor of the living room – the last thing we were playing with – and I completely lost it. He hadn’t even felt like eating any of his last 4-5 meals (all his favorites). I did not know it was possible to hurt so much.

A day at the park

We had previously accepted an invitation from his parents to go to the park with them as an extra visit for them. Now, with the reunification, it was us getting the extra visit. We think he really enjoyed having his 2 daddies and his 2 mommies playing with him on the playground, but it was very clear that he was tired and confused. His eyes looked dead at one point, but that one point was over an hour past his naptime on a very tumultuous day.

I didn’t eat lunch before we had left, didn’t have anything except 2 Pepsis and a small bag of chips at the park, and when we got home I experienced complete meltdown #2 – our breakfast bits that neither of us felt like finishing were still on the table. Some on his toddler plate and some on my plate. Bam!

The day after

Toys no moreI e-mailed the other light tech for church and asked if he could take my shift in the morning, knowing I was going to be in no shape to have questions of any kind. He was and he did, so I slept until 9am. When I came downstairs, Beautiful said his dad had e-mailed that he was up at 6am to be awake when Boy got up, told us what they had for breakfast, and some idea of the plan for the day. Later, he said they went for a walk and that they picked up sticks and leaves in his bucket (one of his favorite things). After dinner, he told us what he fixed for dinner and that he was having a bath under his mom’s watch and that he was going to read him a bedtime story that he wrote for him!

Those e-mails lifted our spirits more than is communicable and we went to bed much, much, much less sad. I even watched the whole Sunday Night Football game with the Broncos when I didn’t have the spirit to watch an Ohio State win the day before.

Life goes on… but are you normal?

We are slowly moving on with our day, but it will be a while before we are back to normal. Evidence of him is everywhere – even a handprint on Nana’s refrigerator that she didn’t have the heart to clean off. I shaved my hair yesterday and found a ton of his hair still in the clippers from Wednesday, so we got some tape and collected it for a scrapbook page.

But! But let’s be respectful here – none of this talk about “oh, you’ll have another one,” or “they’ll be calling you in no time for another placement.” Excuse me, but are your children and pets THAT expendable that you can just replace them with another? Whoever told a grieving parent “at least you have 2 more” or “you are young – you can have more?” Yeah, it happens, and those people should attend some mandatory training.

That’s why we are staying locked up for a few days… because of people who say things like that… because they’ve already said such things to Beautiful on Facebook, including other foster parents. The next person who says that gets unfriended in real life, okay? Think before you speak. He was our only child for 6 whole months – 1/6th of his life. He will not be forgotten.


  1. I wish I could say I can’t believe people would say such things…but trying to comfort others somehow brings out the stupid in some folks. My heart is aching for you two. I am so thankful that there are people like you who are willing to do this extraordinarily difficult thing. Much love and healing.

  2. I’m so sorry about the pain Jesse. I’ll be praying for your family during this hard time.

  3. I remember those feelings well from 31 years ago. Nothing can help but time, prayer, and processing. Such an ache! My heart aches for you both, but I’m oh so glad you had such wonderful success with Boy. I sure wish we were there to just hug you both. Oh, and try to remember that when people say that stuff, they really do mean well. They just haven’t thought it through completely. :-/

  4. We too have had people say things like that to us over the 6 years we have been fostering, including from social workers. well my response to them is, the day I dont shed a tear when one of my kids leave, is the day I need to stop being a foster parent. I really feel that way…

    • Ohhh, that’s a great response. They told us in training that if we love them well, it will hurt when they leave. We must have loved REALLY well. I need to write an update in the next couple of days. Thanks for your comment, Debbie.