Preparing our Hearts for Loss

Where to begin?  I’ve been postponing writing down my thoughts as the fear of emotions stirred was more than I felt I could take most mornings.  However, delaying is only making me all the more overwhelmed as so much has transpired and I fear even more that I will one day forget.  So here I am at 6:30AM, having been awake since 3:30, have already downed a ginormous cup of yummy coffee, ate a delicious breakfast bar, cried, prayed, read my Bible and begged God again for His mercies…now I am ready to write.

Lulu has been with us for over 5 months now.  She is as much of a part as this family as my girls and though our days can seem completely chaotic at times (with the additional of a baby); her smile and her sweet laugh make the sacrifice more than worth it.
Just this past week she has shown a real attachment to me…reaching for me when I am near, crying when she sees me after I come home after a rare trip into town ALONE (until I manage to put the groceries down and hold her).  She wants to be in my lap all of the time (even though she is totally squirmy and sometimes impossible to hold) if I put her down, she’ll attempt to crawl into my lap again.  She buries her face into my shoulders and chest and likes to have a hand on me at all times (on my leg when I sit near her on the floor, or on my clothing).  It is wonderful to feel the love of this little one…affection finally returned!
OCS has been increasing the number of visits with her mom (now it is twice a week and one of the visits is from 9AM-2PM) and Lulu always seems stand offish when she returns, though I am not sure if it is because she feels like we left her or if she is just tired (as she does not get much of a nap during visits).  Her mom is doing well where she is at.  Since she is complying, OCS is planning to transition Lulu back with her Mom full time, moving Lulu in with her mom possibly as early as two weeks from now.  Needless to say, this has my heart completely wrenched.  We had hoped to adopt Lulu though we have earnestly prayed for God’s will in her life as well.  I have tried to protect my heart but simply cannot keep this precious baby at arm’s length for selfish fear of loving and being hurt.  I have to love her as Christ does and if my heart aches in the end, I can at least know that we gave her everything we could…even our hearts.

I’ve started preparing the girls for her departure which has brought on many tears and lots of explaining about Faith and God’s will.  My prayer is that this trial will become part of their testimony and that somehow God will use this in their lives to bring them closer to him.  My prayer is also for healing…quick healing (for all of us).
I woke today at 3:30AM to give Lulu her pacifier and could not go back to sleep.  My mind began to wonder and soon I was imagining our room without her crib, the living room without her jumper and toys and our days quiet without the sound of a baby.  I couldn’t hold back the tears so after an hour I found myself in the bathroom sobbing over her changing table and once again picturing the room empty without the baby clutter to give it life.  At 5AM I waited for the coffee and sat down to read the Bible and pray.  I picked up in 2 Corinthians reading over Paul’s trials…My goodness.  HIS trials were something to cry over.  Reading His words however, offered much comfort.  It helped me not to feel alone in my heartache and to know that, like Paul, God will deliver us…He will get us through it and it will become a part of our testimony as a family.

To back track a bit…I was able to see Lulu’s Mom last Friday for the first time in months.  She looked good and I told her as much.  When I walked in Lulu was in the high chair and her mom was feeding her baby food…Neither of them saw me at first and I couldn’t help but notice that Lulu looked totally emotionless (dead panned…no smile, nothing) and they both sat in silence (not the happy, smiling play times we share at the table).  But when Lulu saw me she immediately smiled and started jumping up and down in her seat.  Yes, it makes my heart happy to know Lulu loves me but at the same time it makes my heart ache to think that she could be sad when she’s with her mom.  We chatted briefly about Lulu and I was able to share a few of her likes (like her crazy love of blankets and her new head shake back and forth that she’s been doing when she’s feeling extra playful).  It was really good to see her looking well and when we left she was heavy on my mind.

The next morning while reading the Bible and praying I was stuck with the urge to buy a Bible or other Christian book for Lulu’s mom.  It was so overwhelming at that moment that I began to pray that God would lead me to the right book for her that very day.  So when Ron woke up I told him that I to go to the Christian book store that Afternoon.  There I found two books: One called “Freedom from addiction through Christ” and the other (a small, fun to read book) called “Miracles” (as well as a ‘First Bible’ for Lulu), a card and a bag.  Once I had checked out and gotten back in the car I felt like I was supposed to give them to her right then (instead of having OCS drop it off with Lulu on Wednesday).  So rather than finishing my list of errands I sat in the car and wrote in each and every book as well as the card, the words I felt lead to say.  I then drove over where she was, found an unlocked door on the side, signed in and in a matter of seconds had her Mom in front of me welcoming me into the living area to talk…Totally not my plan for the day…better.  We spent the next hour and a half sharing stories for the first time.  I was able to share with her all of the wonderful little quirks about Lulu, our story about the loss of the baby and how Lulu had filled that void, how we had hoped to adopt but how we could see that God’s plan was greater than ours.  I reassured her of our love for her daughter and for our prayers for her.  I wanted her to know that Lulu was special…set apart and unique and told her that she was worth the sacrifice.   She laughed through her tears through most of our visit, especially when I shared with her about how special Lulu really was.

She also told me that once she had met us and had seen the girls that first day that she was relieved.  She said that she could see that we were caring and she had tried to be completely compliant with OCS about us, in hopes of keeping Lulu with us (as she felt safe in knowing Lulu was in a loving home).  I told her that after meeting her that my heart ached for her loss and that I had not expected to feel for her as I did but that both Ron and I felt the immediate need to keep her in our prayers.  I also told her that I hoped she would call us if ever she needed help and she said that she would and that she wanted to keep in touch even after OCS was out of the picture.  I hope that this is true.

I gave her a hug before I left and expressed how glad I was to have had the opportunity to get to know her better (as she did the same).  I left there praising God all the way home for that time…For showing me her heart and her intentions, for getting to know her better.  I left thinking of her as a real person and feeling comforted that Lulu would be loved and treasured.
When I got home, Lulu was playing on the floor in the living room and upon seeing me, immediately cried to be held.  Looking at her, I could see her mother and I couldn’t help but love her all the more deeply.  I kissed her for her mom and gave her another huge piece of my heart (I didn’t even know there was more to give).  I felt closer to Lulu having come to know her Mother better and though I know it is another step closer to letting her go, somehow I am finding freedom in loving her all the more.
God is good and He will provide as He has done before.  I know my heart will be torn and I dread the last time I will kiss her and turn and walk away.  The thought is simply unbearable.  But I think back on Moses in the basket…what did his mother do?  She had the ultimate faith that God would provide, that HE would be his father and she did what she had to do.  So I strive to be the same.  Like Samuel in the Bible, I will give this child back to God and thank Him for blessing me with the time I did have with her.