Grief and Relief
It has been a strange couple of days at the Cash house.
We miss the girls. I specifically miss the way that the littlest would whisper “Hi. Hi. Hi.” through her pacifier when I woke her up from her nap, and how she’d likewise greet every person on the planet. I miss the way she would melt into my body in the rocking chair, holding my arm with the sweetest little death grip. I miss the way the oldest would flutter upstairs to get dressed in the morning (she never did just walk) with her mermaid hair bouncing behind her. I miss her general excitement about everything – outings, food, information, and new people. All of the mothering energy I’d created for them now has no place to land. I can’t direct, soothe, encourage or teach them anymore.
The first night, I laid awake wondering if they were sleeping okay in their new beds. The kids have both, more than once, volunteered that they miss the girls. Our life and home were so full and now there is a void: it’s less like a cavernous hole, and more like a wispy cloud of lost experience. We don’t really know what to do with ourselves.
But, the four of us have been breathing much deeper. I can’t even explain the general feeling of health that’s fallen upon our home… everyone just seems to be functioning from a place of peace for the first time in months. I know it is partially logistics – no toddlers, no diapers, less laundry, less fighting, fewer attitudes, etc. However, there is something more. Previously, being at home was largely about surviving, just making sure everyone was alive, fed, and occasionally bathed. But for the last few days, I’ve been enjoying my home and kids. Slow meals, quiet mornings, lots of snuggles, no appointments or visits or paperwork. Long bath times and lots of eye contact are small graces that compile into huge joy. I think my children subconsciously shrank to make space for A&A, and I didn’t notice it until this week when I’ve watched their little souls expand again. They are holding longer conversations, living more freely, asking to read more books, finding themselves more frequently on our laps and in our arms. Being a family of four again has been so deliriously sweet.
I just keep thinking about the significance of my two hands. I’m sure God has a myriad of reasons for creating our bodies in specific ways, and I certainly don’t claim to understand those motivations. But, very practically, having two hands means that I can carry more than one thing. So, when it seems contradictory to feel two very opposite emotions at the same time, my hands seem to mirror my soul’s ability to stand decidedly in both joy and pain. It’s grounding to look at my physical fingers and imagine them grasped around separate experiences, validating my dichotomous experience of losing ‘our’ girls.
In those same two metaphorical hands, I hold the truths that (1) the girls were a genuine blessing to our lives and (2) the girls were an exhausting drain on our lives. I was feeling guilty about how much I’m enjoying this new season until my counselor kindly reminded me that fostering puts an amazing amount of strain on even the healthiest, most faithful families. Which is why, for the moment, we won’t be accepting any new placements. We are going to give our family soil some time to “re-mineralize” before we even discuss reopening our home to a new foster placement.
We are so grateful for all the people that have carried us through the last eight months – we would not have survived this experience without the support and prayers of friends both near and far. And please, please continue to pray for A&A! Pray for them to powerfully bond with their new parents, to settle easily into new routines/places/therapies, for a case without major hiccups or delays, and for them to trust Jesus as the restorative force for their lives.
Emily Cash lives in Houston, TX with her husband and two children (one biological, one adopted at birth). After several years of championing foster families in multiple churches, she and her husband became licensed foster parents in September 2016. Her days are filled with homeschooling, freelance editing, kitchen antics, bookselling, sporadic writing, gardening, voracious reading and serving her local church.