Friday, August 7, 2009


Today was the day we knew was coming.
I've just waited to blog about it until we knew the final outcome.
Baby A will be returning to the Navajo Reservation. Back with members of his biological family. Not mom. Because she tested positive again recently. June 23rd to be exact. Why is that date important? Well, it is our anniversary. Guess what else? It was Baby A's birthday. His second.

We were told in no uncertain terms in July that he had "a slew of family," and that they were working on reunification with . . . someone. Told that they "never" use the terms "severance" and "adoption" with Native children. Told that the tribe has stepped in as late as one day before an adoption is final and taken the child. Told that, because of the color of our skin, we are unfit to be his permanent parents.
When we learned the real truth, we began thinking a little differently. What is best for our own kids. What is best for him is no longer under our control. After this bomb was dropped on our little corner of the world, I knew there was nothing left to fight for, so I better just give in. I began detaching from him, a little at a time, hoping that this will make the transition a bit easier. I started to see him as someone else's son, someone else's responsibility. I saw the visits with his mom as necessary evil, not intrusions on our life. I began worrying what it will be like for Micah, and especially for Hyrum, to lose his "twin." How can I help in the transition? What to do for them?

When words escape a judge's mouth, they're filled with so much more finality, more importance, more weight and meaning. Today, we were told that Grandma will gain custody of the two youngest siblings--Baby A at 26 months, and his sister, Baby D, who will turn one on August 23rd. Baby D, who went straight from the hospital to a loving foster home. Soon. Probably within a few weeks. Definitely within the month. Finality. Did it matter to the court that Grandma tried to kidnap Baby D in December from a visit? No. Did it matter to the court that Grandma is an enabler who stood by and watched her daughter, living under the same roof, deliver THREE drug-positive babies? No. Did it matter that Mom will be right back on the Reservation with them? Or did it even occur to them, as they were busy sweeping these kids from their docket?
The system is SO BROKEN that there is no good solution for this case, and thousands more like it. Just names and birthdates in files in courtrooms across the nation. Nothing works the way it's intended.
What angered me most was Mom's reaction. "Thank you for standing by me and helping me get my kids where they should be." Is she really that naive, that blind? We don't want the kids back with her mom for her--we want permanency for the kids. It was all I could do to not retort something unforgivable.

I can't express how this feels.
I know I did all I could for him these past 11 1/2 months. I know we taught him about love and sharing and schedules and Church and praying and "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam." But will all that really make any difference in the course of his life? Most likely not. He's too young. He'll never remember his four foster brothers with whom he fought as the youngest Jedi. He'll never remember swimming in the pool with his two foster sisters, initially petrified, finally ecstatic. He'll never remember Roxy dog, and making her mad when he dug through her food. He'll never remember baths and Nursery and vacation to Idaho and Utah and seeing Grandpa T's horses. He'll never remember what it's like to love a dad. He'll never have these things back.
But I have to trust in a God who sees all and knows all and knows this little boy and what will happen with him. Who knows our family and what is coming in the next few weeks, months, and years. Even eternity.
And I'll remember. We'll remember.
Angelo. Jell-O. Jello-O Joe.


  1. How could you write that entry without tears flooding your computer? I hope that you have completed the detachment that is necessary so you will be able to be strong for your kids. Wish there was something we could do to help.


  2. Jenny, I am so sorry. Words can't express, and I know they don't really help, but I am so sad for the pain your heart will go through as you say good bye to this child of your heart.

  3. Oh Jen, this is heartbreaking. I can hardly bear to read it and am so sad that our system lets these children down as dismally as it repeatedly does. And I'm even sadder for you. And him.

    Having said that...While he will not, I agree, remember specifics, he will remember at some level what real love feels like because his little spirit has now experienced it. I truly believe that a profound piece of goodness will be carried in his heart forever, no matter where he goes or what he experiences.

    In fact, I'm sure of it.

    Much love to you all.

  4. This made me cry. It's amazing how I've come to just recognize him as one of yours. I'm so sorry you have to go through this, and even more sorry that the system sucks so bad that this sweet little boy will have to suffer a lifetime of CRAP instead of amazingness in your home. UGH! Good luck friend.

  5. I am so sorry. I agree with Sue that you and your family have given him something to make an imprint on his spirit. This is something that the "tribe" cannot deny. I am sure there will be many terrible days for his heart but maybe a song or a smile from your home will soothe and carry him through. Any love given and shown has made a difference even if we can not see it right now. God Bless

  6. My heart is breaking for you. I, too, can't help but think of the eternal "imprint" you and your family have given him. You're completely right in trusting in a loving and just Heavenly Father, when we obviously can't depend on agencies created by men.--Janette

  7. From a Psychological standpoint, it was extremely important for him to experience strong, loving bonds...especially before the age of 2. Kids who don't get that (by age 2) can be messed up forever. If nothing else, you gave him that...that is huge!! All I can say is Pray for him... Pray that the bond that he has with your family will be a benefit to his future adjustment, and that breaking that bond won't have permanent detrimental effects. Pray that he will get love in his new home and that somehow, the Lord will protect him from the things that are wrong in the world and that he will be the one to break the chain of abuse, drugs and whatever else plagues his family. You may never know the difference you have made in his least not in this life...

  8. I knew this must be coming soon. I'm so glad the last time I was over, I took the time to play and wrestle with him and get him out of his usual shyness with me. He wouldn't even let Tucker take him away from me after that! :) He's such a sweet sweet boy. He may not remember physically, but his spirit will remember always, and someday if he reunites with the gospel, he will definitely recognize the familiarity of it. How could he not after all this time with your family? He's in my prayers.
    ~Karli W.

  9. No one can know how deeply you hurt and feel at this moment. And having to know it's coming would be excruciating. Just know that you have done what most women can't do- completely love another woman's child. His biological family may not ever fully appreciate all your family has done for him and how deeply you all love him, but I truly believe that on some level, somehow, he will know. I know it's no comfort in times of such sorrow and loss to just say something canned, just know you have a lot of people who love you who would love to be there for you at any time. We'll pray for you and for him. Love you.

  10. That right there is the reason I don't think I could ever do foster care. But bless you for doing it. He will be blessed for being in your home, even if it's only for a short time. Good luck, sweetie.

  11. I remember exactly where I was when Heidi told me about Jello. I was so happy because I knew your family was wonderfully capable of taking in a little kid and loving him completely, like he needed to be loved. I can only say that Heavenly Father must know what He is doing, and is aware of Jello just like He is aware of all of your family. I'll pray for him too.

  12. Oh my. I hadn't gone back thru your archives to get to know your history--just assumed that what was on the front page was your life. Thank you for directing a new reader to your blog backwards to get to know you better, Jen.
    What a profound experience. Bless your motherheart.

  13. wow....what a blind can they be to what a child truly needs...yes we all want children with their birth parents...but only when they mean them no harm...she doesn't deserve them.

    the court should know by's not who birthed ya but who raised ya!

    i'm sooo sorry!