We arrived in the Family Court waiting area, to find her in a privacy room. The man she spoke with walked out, and she looked me in the eyes and said, I need to talk to you now.
I closed the door, and Momma wrapped her arms around me. Me, who most parents would consider the enemy; me, who some would challenge as the competition; me, who has been the runner-up momma of her daughters for two years.
I'm going to surrender my rights to their brother.
And then she wept. Not the silent grieving, the gut-wailing grief from loving a child you have given life to so much, it means your own death within.
Are you sure? I asked.
They've raised him. They love him. They can give him a father. I love him more than my life. That's why I think I have to do this.
I pulled Jamie into the room. Together, the three of us, from different worlds who would have never met, held hands. She looked at us and said, I need to know you guys support me in doing this because this is the hardest thing I ever done. I need to know you'll stand by me.
And my husband disappeared, and Jesus came forth, We have never been more proud of anyone than we are of you on this day. For almost three years you have stayed the course and finished the race. Your girls will not remember how they came into foster care; they will remember how desperately their momma loved them and fought to get them home.
It has been one of the greatest honors in our lives to walk this course with you. You are one of the heroes in my life. What you have decided to do today, I am in awe of your love and your courage. We can't but stand by you. You cannot get rid of us. Today, we will celebrate our girls being reunified with their momma, and we'll grieve that their brother's future isn't the same, but you've got us for life. We are committed to you and to our girls. We are so proud of you.
And three heads bowed as a mother's heart shattered, leaving her greatest treasure on the altar.