Just yesterday, my wife and I had to say good-bye to an amazing ten-year-old who we were guardians of for more than a year and had fostered for eight months back when he was five years-old. The first time he was with us, he was taken out of our care abrubtly and we didn’t have any closure. Throughout the course of these past few days and weeks leading up to his departure, we have done everything in our power to make the transition to his new home with some of his family to be smooth and easier, if that was indeed possible.
Though my emotions began to overcome me a few weeks ago about the thought of him leaving us again, this time under much different circumstances, I wasn’t prepared for what I felt yesterday. There were many ups and downs in the parenting-child relationship for us all, I did have the chance to speak from the heart just how much this boy’s presence and spirit had affected me in a powerful way.
My wife and I were never blessed with children, but twice now, with him, we had the opportunity to make a difference and form what we hope and trust will be a long-lasting relationship that we have worked so hard to nurture and build. It was very hard work, and the circumstances surrounding his life situation affected him deeply. He had a lot of trauma that he was able to begin working through. We created a very therapeutic environment for him to feel safe in. This time around, he had a much deeper understanding of how things affected him and his perceptions and we realized there was a certain maturity that he was forced to adopt as part of his development. He was not your average nine year-old (now ten as mentioned above). Four years after his first departure, we were having very different conversations with him and imparting many different life lessons.
Looking back, I can honestly say that things happened for a reason and the way he came back into our lives was no mistake, by any means. No matter how hard things would get, I can honestly say that we were blessed both times. At five, there was this amazing longing in his heart to know about the mysteries of the Divine, an innocence that was magnetic. Understandably so, four years later, his perceptions of Divinity were some what confused and warped due to what happened in his life as he grew in the ability to interpret what was happening in his life. In his time away from us, he was exposed to so much harmful and damaging things. Most of this made him resilient of course, but nonetheless, he was deeply scarred. But his healing journey began again due to the support we and many others were able to provide to him throughout this past year. We again, consider ourselves blessed to be a conduit in preparing him for the next chapter of his life story. He has a bright future ahead of him.
I will always cherish the bond we built with him, and for me personally, I had the chance to share my faith with him in a different way than I was able to when he was five. Yes, there was still an innocence to him that I admired, but he yearned in a different way. I saw it come alive especially near the end of his time with us. His anger at the Divine and his feelings of abandonment were brought to the light and he gained a new understanding of what the Eternal and Unconditional Love really was all about. Again, I feel blessed that I was able to share the Eucharist with him in our home and then at an inclusive and reformed Catholic Church that made him feel a part of something bigger. I am glad he had that opportunity to meet people, total strangers who would embrace him as one of their very own. It was deeply meaningful to watch happen. I hope he remembers his time of fellowship and prayer, holds it near and dear to his heart and knows that he touched the lives of others with his smile and willingness to help and give of himself.
I was able to see him flourish and grow in other ways as well as we shared time together doing art and being creative too. He is so talented and has so much potential. A medium once told me, when I was so intently wondering if I would ever be a father in the physical sense or just in the spiritual sense. Though this boy was not my biological son, he was and will always be like a son to me in the spiritual sense. I feel like I was able to leave a lasting impact. Yes, there are things I would like to do over again and through hindsight I would have made some different choices in the time I had with him, but I am confident that I will always be a part of his life in some way. I am content for having been able to tell him what he means to me. I hope he knows how much I care and will miss his presence everyday waking up in the same house, preparing for the days, and then venturing off to individual responsibilities each day. I have to give a lot of credit to my wife, for all that she did for him. Her strength and mothering instinct was something he needed very much as well. I feel we made a great team. Buddy, you will be missed, but as we told you many times, we want to be a part of your life and will be always so long as you want it to be that way. Best wishes to him. I believe firmly, that he knows how loved he is. What an amazing young man he is. Thank you, Father-Mother God for bringing him into our lives. Divine Allness, watch over him and guide him. Comfort and protect him. Counsel and heal him. I love him and he will always be considered to be like a son to us. Peace and joy, young man! Best of luck on your new adventure!!!