“I Miss My Other Daddy”: Boy’s Emotional Admission Has Foster Mom In Tears
Parents are more than the people who bring a child into this world. They are that child’s source of comfort and protection. They are the guardians of that child’s heart. Losing these people can lead to a hole that will never be filled, and witnessing this loss is heartbreaking.
For Deborah Sweet, author of the blog Because I Stay, there is no worse pain. Deborah is a foster parent who lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and she has dedicated her life to helping little ones who have been separated from their parents.
Deborah and her husband have taken in many children, and they try to make their home as happy and welcoming as possible. This couple is not what we think of when we imagine cold, unloving foster parents. Their hearts are full to the brim with love, and they truly try to improve the lives of the children they foster.
The two have recently taken in a 3 year old boy who was separated from his biological father. The boy stayed in their home for 186 days before saying something that broke Deborah’s heart.
““Last night, we were having a dance party while I made dinner. Until we weren’t,” the foster mom shared on her blog.”
“We were laughing and singing and shaking our wiggles out. We were lost in the sound and the rhythm and the smells and we forgot to think and we forgot to worry. His three year old body moved to the beat as he kept pace with his own reflection in the oven door. He was happy. He. Was. Happy.”
As you can see from her narration, Deborah truly values her children’s joy. For a moment the two danced together and all was well, but something happened unexpectedly. The laughing and grooving quickly shifted into something much more solemn, and it was entirely out of the foster mom’s control.
“All of a sudden he was sad. I missed him calling my name. I was still caught up in his joy. I felt the tug on my sleeve and looked down to find him standing motionless. His mouth was moving but I couldn’t make out his words. His quiet body in the noisy room caught me off guard. I bent down to find his voice.”
When Deborah held her ear close to the boy’s mouth, she was immediately brought out of her happy state. “‘I miss my other daddy,” he said simply.
These words hit her like a ton of bricks. Suddenly Deborah was crushed under an immense weight, and all she wanted to do was lift this little boy’s pain.
“The music still filled the room, but his grief was a sudden rival. I felt the oxygen thin. His little body looked vulnerable. I couldn’t imagine how exposed his heart felt,” she shared. Deborah had taken this little boy as her own, and she felt his pain as intensely as if it were her own.
“When we become parents, we feel powerful in our ability to fix booboos and ouchies,” the mother observed. “We give bumps and scrapes cute names and we patch them with colorful bandages as a ritual, but also as a distraction from the pain and discomfort of getting hurt. We cajole our babies into covering their wounds and into forgetting they’re there. Witnessing pain in our little ones is almost unbearable for our great big hearts and so we do what we can to make it better. Or to believe it’s better.”
As badly as she wanted to fix it, Deborah knew that there was nothing she could do. Crippled by this inability to alleviate the situation, she did the only thing she could – she comforted her foster son.
“The loss of a primary caregiver is a primal wound. There is no remedy. There is no distraction. There is no bandaid or central location to kiss the booboo and move on. There is no moving on.”
“So we sat with the pain. Right there on the kitchen floor. We felt it together. We let the sadness win. We let the air feel heavy. We let dinner run late. We let our guards stay down. We let our new connection to one another meet in the place the grief lives.”
Debbie comforted the little boy all night, hoping that one day his wounds would heal. This moment would be a difficult one for any caregiver, and she handled it in the best way possible.
This story reminds us of the impact we have on children’s lives. Love is a powerful tool, and when coupled with compassion we can use it to connect to someone deeply and meaningfully.
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