Monday, May 12, 2008
Letters to A.
I made a commitment when Oliver joined our family that I would keep his former fostermom abreast of the developments in his life. It seemed like the least I could do; not only is she a member of his extended biological family, she's also someone who loves him with a true motherlove--the kind that forces you to let go of yourself and recognize that your wants are not necessarily a child's needs. If there is anything good and pure that happened to Oliver in the long, often painful months before he came into our home, it is former fostermom A. I am determined to honor that.
Today I sat down and wrote my monthly letter to her. I let her know how his evaluation went (horribly), how his bio visits are going (as well as can be expected), and what toys he likes to play with (blocks and trucks). I told her about his fascination with friend J.'s 21 month-old son, and his seeming puzzlement at the fact that little S. can not only walk but also run and jump. I explained in detail the new depths of Oliver's relationship with his new siblings. I extolled the virtues of the Ergo baby carrier in bonding with a toddler, and gave a description of Oliver's activities during a typical school day. I listed foods he clamors for and those he turns up his oh-so-cute nose at. I wondered in writing about his teething habits, and pointed out how strong he's becoming.
And then I put the whole thing aside.
I'm mulling the letter over now, trying to find the place where the information is enough but not too much, where the emotions are real but not raw, where our joy does not trample wholesale over her pain. My heart knows that she hungers for news of Oliver. That her arms must still feel the loss of his weight, and that she still checks in the rear view window of the car on occasion and is shocked to find an empty space where his car seat should be. This is the woman for whom I am putting pen to paper: a real, hurting, hopeful young lady who has done something very good but very hard.
I have no idea what to say to her.
Having been on the losing end of the pregnancy ride more often than not in the past several years, I feel a certain kinship with anyone who must listen to those who have not felt loss as they recount the most minute details of their joy to an audience that may still be cringing from a pain unspoken. And while I know that the pain does indeed dull with time, and that the experience of sadness does not and should not overshadow the elation you have for others, I also know firsthand what a fight that is. The last thing I want to do is bring more hurt than healing to A.'s heart.
So I'm sitting on the letter for a day or two. I'm praying for wisdom, and that God can lead me through the process of bearing good news without opening wounds. Words are powerful. I want mine to bring A. joy, and an assurance that Oliver is well-loved.