I went to the TPR (termination of parental rights) pre-trial on Tuesday for Baby Brother. I sat through two hours of cases before it was our turn. Mom wasn't present and the judge wasn't messing around. He set the TPR trial three days later (Friday). That's unheard of.
Looking back, I should have seen the signs. Something was amiss, but I was too wrapped up in conversation to notice. For an hour or so on Friday, I met the only family Baby Brother has ever known and soaked in every detail his precious foster parents shared.
Their love for Baby Brother was so evident, I came home with a deep ache in my heart for the loss they are about to experience. In the courtroom, we exchanged one story after another, binding our families together in a bond so special, only a few can understand. Tears veiled their eyes with every story and I was taken back to a faraway place.
I remember the first time I realized Rebekah loved Tyrus as much as I did. When his eyelashes started to come in, we "oohed" and "ahhed" as if it was the first time such a miracle had been performed. One boy; two mothers. Both, fiercely protective and crazy about him in every way.
Over the last few weeks, God has given me a deep love for our new little guy. I don't know if it was the emotional decision or place of sacrifice, but I know Baby Brother's placement in our family is significant.
As I sat across from his foster mom, on Friday, I experienced her profound affection for her son and saw the breaking taking place in her heart. When parental rights were being terminated on "all known and unknown fathers", the court used language like, "no father has stepped forward to care or support this child", and I could hear the silent shouting of his foster father beside me.
Baby Brother's biological mom is in prison, but was present in the court room via two-way video. The trial ended before it really started, when her attorney argued under statute such and such that mothers must be, physically, present for termination trials.
Why these people can't pull the law together before wasting everyone's time, I will never understand.
All I really heard from the two-way feed that wasn't visible to me was uncontrollable sobbing.
That's when it hit me.
The brokenness no longer lies between two mothers. Now, there are three.
Adoption can be beautiful and redemptive and regenerating. But it's also ruinous.
It leaves ache in its wake to which some are unable to recover.
Foster families are one of God's greatest treasures. Baby Brother's family was thrilled to hear that we already consider them an extension of ours and look forward to a lifetime of friendship. My gratitude will never be able to offer repayment for what they have done for our son.
Baby Brother spent many weeks in the hospital after his first breaths of life, as his little body required special surgeries and attention. Many days went by before he was matched with a family and when they walked into the nursery for the first time, it was evident how loved the surrounding babies were. Baby Brother's corner was not loud and cheerful. It didn't support attention, affection, or thought...Until. Until this gift of God walked into the room. Everything changed.
Knowing what THIS family did for my family, clogs my throat with tears. They showed up when no one else did. While most say no for fear of falling in love, they stood up. While most would have turned their back on his medical condition, they opened the door. They cheered and cried and nursed Baby Brother through surgery and health.
Families like this deserve medals and honors and floods of public affirmation.
I am more than humbled by their quiet generosity.
They waved off my thanksgiving and, instead, thanked me for saying, yes. I couldn't help but feel inadequate in the presence of such giants.
As if my heart wasn't wrecked by this growing story, already, I felt sick over the casual regard the courtroom displayed for mom.
I get it. This is baby number three. Same story. Same progress. The courtroom sees a drug addict, a convict, an unfit mother.
I see a girl cycled in curses; broken by addiction. And I believe in her.
My heart is so inter-tangled with the heart of our Father, I only see a horizon of hope for her. I know this is her time and I am thankful that she is, finally, serving a prison sentence. I was never able to write her in county jail due to restrictions that existed, but, today, she is at a long-term facility that will allow me to write and email and send pictures.
Sometimes I step out and look around me and I can't believe where I am. Sure, the girl who couldn't have babies is about to have five. But it's so much more than that. The girl who couldn't have babies understands deep treads of love that rest on painful stories; the reward that comes with embracing all those who loved my little people first; God's heart to pursue the lost at all costs; and, of course, the inexplicable joy of offering Light in a world of darkness.
I have no idea what our new time frame is. We left the courtroom without a re-scheduled trial date. The foster family and I have already exchanged several communications since Friday, which included the most life-giving photos of Baby Brother. He looks just like Little Miss! I scroll through the pictures at least once every few hours.
In the eaves of heaviness, I have great peace. I know this time is on purpose and I'm giving God enough room to move as he sees fit.