Today, we attended the adoption hearing for a sibling group of three – our very first long term placement. After being in care for 2 years and 8 months, they were finally, officially, in their forever family.

Good, good news for these dear ones.

But the news of adoption is complex. For me. For them. For their biological parents.

These three lived with us for six months last year before moving into their foster-to-adopt home. They felt like ours, but they weren’t and aren’t. And I miss them.

I miss Jen’s unending stories and Victor’s impossibly ambitious projects and Nick’s sweet 2 a.m. snuggles. I miss the simple moments.

Our interactions, awkward now. Their eye contact, guarded. Their hugs, shortened.

I can’t imagine it being otherwise. They called me “Miss Liz” and then “Mommy” and now “Miss Liz” again. To process all those transitions in a little heart, awkward and guarded seem like the most any of us could hope for.

Especially as eyes of so many watch their every move. The beloved foster parents before us. Jonathan and me. The adoptive parents. Adoptive parents’ parents. Social workers. Court appointed special advocates (CASAs). Everyone there today watching.

Losing our connection to them is worth all they are gaining. Of course it is. A minor sacrifice.

The bigger sacrifice is theirs. One they didn’t choose. These precious kids won’t grow up with their biological parents. There is tragedy in that. All the “gotcha day” celebrations won’t take away the questions they have over why their parents let them go.

As another adoptee said, “…the gains don’t fully replace the losses. Nor should we ever expect them to.”

All the breaks and shifts in their storyline these past three years can’t be tied up in a bow. All the new homes. New moms. New names.

I’m deeply grateful for their new constant.

But still heartbroken that foster care and adoption need to exist. For these kids most of all. But also for their biological parents who won’t know their own beautiful children. My taste of loss is nothing compared to theirs.

And so it’s complex. But today is still a good day. A hope-filled day for their new forever. May their tomorrows look up even when they look back.

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