If you’ve followed my story where any of the various bits of it have been presented for perusal, you know that the first toe I dipped into the adoption pool was shaped like foster care and has a name that begins with T.
Through dire circumstance, T came to our house and stayed for a couple of years. Although the bonds that built between me, Mark and T did not start out all buttered with love and oozing schmaltz, we did get around to that pretty darned quickly.
Mark held out the longest, with “This is going to end in tears!” as the mantra he chanted until he threw in the crying towel and fell as deeply in love as I had. Of course, he was right … he actually is fairly frequently, but don’t tell him I said that.
Just after T’s fourth birthday — a fab occasion celebrated during a trip to the States that found me under one roof with daughter, granddaughter, brother, SIL, niece and nephew AND T, my youngest — things changed. A week after we returned to Seychelles, T’s mother returned from her galavanting and wanted him back.
With what every foster parent will understand at the root of my being, we stepped back and she stepped forward. They weren’t far, however, so we had some contact and kept up to date on how he was doing. Living nothing like the life style we hoped for him, he was at least healthy enough and reasonably supervised.
Shortly after, however, his mother took T for what was supposed to be a two week trip to her home country. I knew she wasn’t coming back, and she knew that I knew. The only one who didn’t know, or pretended not to know, was T’s father, a 70-year-old with many 20-something girlfriends who had no problem letting one slip away for “a few weeks”.
The scene at the airport was drama and trauma and nothing I ever want to live through again. T clung to me like kudzu to an oak, screaming his head off. I cried, His mother tugged. His father wore a bemused expression. The goodbye was horrible.
Amazingly, it turned out that T’s teacher at the school he began attending shortly after the relocation to this far distant Asian land happened to be a friend of mine … a woman who had taught in the International School here and was now teaching in one there, the right one in the right town out of all the places in Asia. Imagine how thrilled I was to learn that I could still follow his progress and send him letters and photos and such!
I was less than thrilled when I learned that his mother was pregnant, however, but not at all surprised when she and T ended up back here shortly after she delivered. T had a baby brother, but baby brother had been left in Asia never to be seen again. Her relationship hadn’t worked out and she didn’t want the child, so left it with the father … “didn’t want” being her own explanation, although hers was a bit more callous. T’s dad had money, and she was in need of that again.
Although concerned in the grand sense, I was so happy to have T back … not with us, of course, but within sight and some access.
By this time, Sam had joined our family, and then Cj. It took T a while to get the hang of how our family hung, but he figured it out without finding any slight to his own importance. Both kids were a bit young for play buddies; after all, what self-respecting 7-year-old boy wants to spend a lot of time with a three-year-old? He was kind and gentle, however, and Sam absolutely worshipped the ground T trod.
It’s time to say goodbye again, however, as his mother has once again decided to leave the country. His father is dead now, and a “new dad” has plans that don’t include a lifetime in Seychelles. Mom is already gone, and T has been left to finish out the school year with someone who doesn’t understand our relationship or how important it is to all of us to have time for a proper farewell. I will try to track him down before he goes, and will stop by the school if that ends up being the only way to kiss and hug this boy and tell him that we will always love him.
I don’t expect to see him again, but there is no telling what’s around any corner.
I can’t believe how many times I’ve had to say goodbye to this kid, and every time rips my heart out. I’d do it again anytime, though, if it means another hello first.
My boys … well, two out of three