A Different Kind of Grandma (Letter to my almost-grandchild)
What can I say?
What can I say to you who have endured pain I can’t begin to imagine and lived a life I can’t possibly understand?
What do I say to you for whom we wait?
I want to hold you close, to call you my very own grandson or granddaughter. You’re the first one (and firsts are always special). I want to see you taken away from wherever it is you need to leave. I want to promise you safety. I want to say you’ll never hurt again.
But I can’t do or promise any of those things. I’m a different kind of grandma, and this is our story. Yours and mine.
More than 400,000 children throughout the United States wait in foster care, some of them (for all sorts of reasons) ineligible for adoption. Many have suffered abuse. Many have PTSD or other types of emotional trauma because of the life they’ve endured. Sweet grandchild, you know you’re in this group. But you’re so much more.
You’re a person. You’re someone with hopes and dreams and needs and desires. You care about the people in your past—even (and maybe especially) the ones who have hurt you. You don’t know what to expect from the future, but you press toward it anyway. You accept help from many who want to give it and some who don’t. You push against rules even when you know they’re right. You don’t always understand what you do or how you feel.
And, deep down inside, you wait. You wait for that moment when you know you’re home.
You’re right. I’m not your grandma yet, and you may never choose to call me that anyway. But I can tell you this: you are loved. Your almost-parents have endured paperwork and more paperwork and red tape and training and inspections and lectures and self-doubt and more paperwork and more red tape and awkwardness and questions and paperwork and more paperwork and more red tape, all in pursuit of you.
I hear the longing in their voices. They can’t wait to bring you home. They know the road ahead will have plenty of bumps, maybe huge potholes or lengthy detours. But they want to travel it with you. For you, they don’t want to be just one more stop, one more waystation. For you, they want to be Mom and Dad—no matter what the legal system calls them.
As your almost-mom, my precious daughter, told me, “Even if we can only have this child at home a few years, at least we’ll give them a family to come home to.”
That family is ours. And we’re waiting—
with so much love,