20 Mar How Do I Prepare
LAD is still with us. For this I am grateful.
There has been no change of plan– he’s still going back to Bio-Mom. But there has been no implementation of plan, either. So he’s with us until…?
Yes, this is hard.
Of all the kinds of people in the world, we’re the preparing kind. Nothing satisfies us quite as much as a well-planned, well-executed idea, so in the face of a known quantity with an uncertain timeline, what is there to do but make lists? Short-term goals, long-term goals, hopes & dreams, contingency plans– they each get their own Post-it Note, though in some cases their own notebook. Worries, struggles, achievements, milestones, favorite moments, ideas for LAD’s Life Book– yet more Post-It Notes.
Knowing that Beloved Spouse and I are not done fostering yet, and knowing that our support network would need an opportunity to say a formal goodbye to LAD, I put together a short ceremony. The text only took up a single page, but the process to create it was much longer– both in terms of time and emotional investment. I wanted to begin with an explanation in extremely general terms of what was about to happen with LAD so that people would know why we had gathered in the first place. It was a trick finding a balance between the two information curbs: too much and too little.
Next I needed to recognize and articulate both what I was feeling and what others might feel in the face of this news, so that those who were gathered would know that they had permission to feel whatever they felt and that, whatever their feelings might be, they were not alone in feeling that way. To be honest, this bit came quite easily, but required much editing afterwards.
Then I felt compelled to work my way beyond the immediate term and figure out what it was I wanted myself and others to think and feel by the time the ceremony was done. This, of course, was the real purpose of the ceremony all along, and thus became the most therapeutic stage of the writing process for me. Many Kleenex had to be sacrificed before the week was out! Finally, having discovered the emotional goal I wanted to work towards, I then had to orient the whole ceremony around achieving it.
Much like the whole of our experience fostering thus far, this little ceremony– both its preparation and its execution– were hard, but worthwhile. Energy was poured, but not lost. Tears were shed, but not in vain. And no matter what happens next or when it comes, I will always be proud of the work we did.