Keeping it personal

We spent the afternoon in juvenile court at the trial regarding the charges filed against our foster baby’s parents. I didn’t entirely know what to expect. The birth mom attended via phone and there was a lot of testimony presented that contained hard and emotional details.

As I sat there and listened to the arrhythmic song that only mental illness and addiction can sing I found myself reaching out the two hunched grieving figures across the courtroom: the birth mom’s parents – Two people who have lost their adult child to drugs and illness but still have the instinctive patterns of love and protection shaping their thoughts, hopes and actions.

But I knew that this was just today’s devastated family, this was only today’s abused and neglected child placed in state care. Tomorrow this story would play itself out with different parents, grandparents, and children. And this was only one court room, in one county, in one state. And if you move back far enough all of those broken hearts, tears, and anguished souls become a number, a statistic, and I find that abhorrent. None of those terrible stories should ever become easy to ignore.

And what do I do with the weight of all of that grief and pain? I keep it personal. When the trial was over we immediately connected with the grandparents and gave them both big hugs and shared tears.

We raced home and scooped up the baby and felt grateful. Grateful for an attentive social worker that rescued him in time, grateful that he was placed with us and awed at the boundless adventure that saying yes to love brings.