Today we said goodbye

Note: I wrote the following letter in late July 2017 after I thought we had lost Gavin forever. Our case took several unpredictable turns after we returned him to his mom. We have since gotten Gavin back.

Today we said goodbye to our son.

We said goodbye to you, Gavin.

Sixteen months ago, you came into our lives with a phone call and a simple answer: “Yes, we’ll take him.”

I will never forget the first time I saw you, later that same night. You were so tiny. You were swaddled and asleep, hanging out with the nurses at their station in the maternity ward. You were with them because on that night, you had no one else.

As we walked up to the counter and I laid eyes on you, I knew you were the one- that you were ours. And I was right.

From that moment on, there was no doubt that we would move heaven and Earth to provide whatever it was that you needed. And today, it does indeed feel like we gave up everything for you. We gave you to another family – we gave you back to your family – and in the process, lost a piece of ours.

Foster care is equal parts beauty and brokenness. It is the hardest thing we have ever done. No advanced degree, challenging job or physical feat that we have achieved compares to what it is like to be a foster parent. At the same time, foster care gave us you, and because of that, we find it beautiful.

And, it is beautiful because you are returning to a family who would also move heaven and Earth to provide for you.

What a privilege it has been to play a tiny role in that. And to be your parents for sixteen months.

Gav, you are capable of great things. Everyone who meets you immediately falls in love with you, and I don’t think that will change as you grow older. I pray that you use your gifts to further His kingdom, and to love other people. That is our constant prayer for your future.

And, we pray that God will protect you when we aren’t around to do so. We know He has a great plan for you. We are just so sad that we may not get to see it unfold.

But we want you to know, above all else, that you are loved – by Him, by us, by your mom. You are so loved, little boy.

To those of you who walked alongside us for the past sixteen months: thank you. You never signed up for this crazy world of foster care, yet you willingly became grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a community to a boy who would otherwise have had none. We know this has been hard on many of you, too. Thank you for helping us show Jesus to him. We could not have done it without you.