Court was yesterday. In the foster care world, those three words carry a lot.
So much weighs on that day. On those minutes as the judge decides.
Months out, it looms heavy. And every day it gets closer, it grows.
Lacing every moment with bittersweet as we wonder if it will be our last. Our last trip together. Game together. Snuggle together.
This time I knew. I imagined the outcome and made its case. I understood why it had to be the way it had to be. Why one dear foster son would be headed to live with a relative several states away while his brother would stay with us.
I knew the boys would be devastated. They were all they had.
In all my surety, I still asked the boys to write letters to the judge. To tell her what they wanted and why. To plead their case. To use their voices.
And they did. They wrote powerful, articulate notes naming just what they wanted. They hoped to go home with mom. Impossible. And they asked to stay together. Improbable.
I couldn’t have been more proud seeing them boldly name their heart’s desires. And I couldn’t have felt more sick. It was like asking Santa for a pony.
The night before, we prayed. Me asking for wisdom for the judge. Them naming specific verdicts. Me sweating as I feared their faith faltering when the judge didn’t say “yes.” When God didn’t say “yes.” Would it hold? Or would this be one more betrayal?
The next day, we sat together.
We played tic-tac-toe in the midst of court proceedings too big for small ears. We stepped out for a bit and then back in. The judge was talking. Reminiscing about her own siblings. Referencing the bond they shared. The bond these boys shared based on their letters.
And then she looked right at those little ears and told them what they yearned to hear.
Yes. You aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You will stay here with your brother. Together.