On each visit over the previous week we had picked up some of his things so we already had his clothes, toys and some of his favourite snacks. The space in our home that we had made for this little boy was ready. It was real and it was about to happen.
The day itself we were advised to keep things quick and not to linger too long so that he wasn't too upset by it. All of the foster family had already said their goodbyes. As we went to pick him up the teenagers were standing outside the room visibly upset. We asked if they wanted to hug him before we left, knowing that this would be sad, but they all needed closure too. I'm not sure he understood quite what was going on as he was passed around.
I knew it was going to be emotional. How can you care for a baby and watch him leave to go and live with other people ? The foster carers always knew he was going to live with a 'forever family,' but the reality of him going was never going to be easy. He was the first baby they had cared for and who they had prepared for permanency. They were protective of him and keen to see that he went to the perfect home.
What I wanted to tell them that day was what I know now:
- You've done an amazing job with him. He has learned to trust, to play and he shows affection.
- The good eating habits he has have come about thanks to you cooking him good food.
- We won't ever let him forget how important you have been in his early life. At a time when it was crucial that he was cared for and loved you were there for him.
- He did miss you at first. Of course he did. How could he not when he had lived with you for so long.
- That first night when you sent me a message late at night asking if he was ok, it helped so much to know you were there.
As we left that day Big Boy handed over a picture of 'Auntie and Uncle' that he had drawn. We all smiled awkwardly as we headed for the door. There were tears in Auntie's eyes and I wrapped my arms around her with Baby Boy still in my arms.
"Thank you." I whispered into her ear with tears filling my eyes.
"You're his Mum now." She whispered back to me.
We hugged each other tightly until Baby Boy wriggled in discomfort.
"Ok. It's time to come home baby."