Ozzie has a little sister.
And she sits in the center of his heartbreak.
She is the person he mourns for most. She is the person from his past he longs for most. She is the hardest “goodbye” he has faced.
It is interesting to listen to Ozzie as he opens up about his past. He has been in many foster homes and experienced more than his fair share of hurt, heart breaks and losses, and yet the one that he struggles most with is the loss of his sister.
Zoey, although still part of his life, no longer is a daily part of his life. They reside in different houses, call two different women, “Mom,” attend two different schools and churches, and now take part in different traditions and daily rituals. Even though they speak weekly and visit monthly, Ozzie feels like he has lost his sister.
When the decision was made to place these two kids in different pre-adoptive homes, I struggled. We had been doing respite care on the weekends with both of them and I had seen the great love Ozzie has for his sister. The separation seemed cruel and unjust. I struggled to understand the judge’s reasoning.
Over the past year, however, I have seen the behaviors and the witnessed the open wounds that led to the judge’s decision. I better understand now why the judge made the hard, very hard, decision he did. What seemed so cruel may have in fact been a gift of mercy. I have watched as these two blessings have blossomed in a way that perhaps would not have happened if they had been kept together…I don’t know, but after our visit on Monday I had a better understanding of God’s whisperings when He led us to Ozzie (alone) rather than the two of them (together) that we were pursuing originally.
He has a plan.
When He is whispering “No” to our plans it is out of love…love for our family, for Ozzie and for Zoey.
But even though I can now see His mercy in saying “No” to our desire to adopt them together,
it doesn’t lessen the pain of the loss for Ozzie.
The fallout of his “sister visits” are hard and often emotionally draining.
They are such a good thing, such an important thing, but often a very hard thing.
On Monday we were off school so we had arranged with Zoey’s mom to pick up Zoey and take her out for the day. We decided to take advantage of the generous adoption gift that we received from my parents, a membership to the Carnegie museums of Pittsburgh, and take Zoey with us to the Science center.
We had no idea what we were in for!
When we arrived we discovered, unbeknownst to us, that it was “Free Day.” I think half of Pittsburgh showed up to enjoy the free fun. I knew that adding Zoey to the mix was going to be challenging. I now had three hyper little ones to herd through the Science Center, but when I saw the crowds my stomach really began to flip and flop with anxiety. I said a prayer that we would survive the crowds and leave with the same number of children that we began the day with. 🙂
The big kids were all assigned a buddy. They were in charge of being with their buddy at all times. It worked out well and gave me peace of mind knowing that there were two sets of eyes on each little one.
Grace and Zoey were partners:
Rusty and Ozzie were partners:
And Molly and Tyler were buddies:
Despite the crowds the kids all had a fun day!
Mid-day we took a break and ate our packed lunches in the cafeteria before we walked up to the planetarium. While in line for the “Stars over Pittsburgh” show we ran into friends from church: the Grundburgs and Debakers. It was amazing we saw each other with the sheer number of people there that day.
One of our last stops for the day was the Omnimax theatre where we watched “Born to be Free,” a documentary film about two women and their conservation work with baby elephants and baby orangutans. The movie was wonderful but the theatre was what really made it thrilling for the kids.
One final stop to play at the water table and we were on our way. Gracie decided she wanted to practice driving in Pittsburgh traffic and did a big part of our driving to and from the Science Center. I was so proud of my BRAVE girl!
It was a good day.
but the night was hard.
As I tucked in Ozzie the emotional fallout of our day was evident.
The adoption process is heartbreaking, and messy, and painful even in “best case scenarios”…
even when the story ends with “Happily Ever After.”
This is when we must trust God,
and watch as He softens the loss and multiplies the LOVE.