Finding Strength in Letting Go and Appreciating What is Now
Getting that call after waiting all those days, weeks, months, or even years. After those sleepless nights praying, wondering, and hoping that you will be chosen. Just wanting a chance to be a parent, even if the child would not be biologically yours. Each time that phone rings, your heart skips a beat and you think, “Maybe this is my time.” Then looking at the phone number you recognize that this is not your caseworker calling but rather a friend calling to chat. You exhale a deep breath and accept that this is not your time and you prepare to wait some more.
Difficult Situations and Decisions
You have done this before though and you know that you can push through a bit longer. Just how long is the question. It just seems that today is harder than yesterday and well beyond what it was just a month or two ago. In the agony of waiting, you are also forced to contemplate that in order for you to have a family of your own through adoption means that another family must be torn apart. Your heart breaks for these parents, and even more so for their children who are left in the middle of this chaos. These are the children though that need love the most and who you would willingly take in your home to raise at your own despite the challenges of their past trauma and abuse. These are the children who may otherwise linger in foster care with no real place to call a permanent home, or so it seems to you.
Then one morning, as you sit in your office chair working on your computer, you hear a “ping.” Looking down at your phone, you see a photo of an unknown little girl appear and you question her identity. Written below the image was a message from your caseworker. “Do you want this little girl? She is available for adoption.”
With no real thought to your response, you eagerly type, “Could I really?” Then within moments, you are on the phone with your caseworker pleading to hear more. Your enthusiasm runs high as your caseworker begins speaking. You attempt to keep pace yet your heart distracts you from the dialogue somewhat and you only catch every few words and miss out on some of the context of the conversation. Context which is essential when making such a monumental decision of accepting a new person in your home as a permanent member of your family.
Realizing the Truth
As a licensed foster home I get those occasional phone calls for children looking for a loving forever home, children with no real family of their own to be available to step up and take the responsibilities of parenting them. Due to excessive behaviors, medical needs, location of providers, and other challenges, I have yet to be able to accept a child for permanency and to pursue adoption. This doesn’t mean that those dreams of watching a child of my own grow and mature goes away.
Just recently, I received that text. The text with the image of an adorable five year old girl with a sweet smile on her face and bright blue eyes. I immediately imagined her as my own. I envisioned doing her hair, taking her to the park, cuddling on the couch with her favorite movie and chatting over mac and cheese for dinner. However, when I looked past the desires of my heart and considered the full reality of the situation, I realized that her needs did not fit into the life that I would be able to provide for her and I needed to say no to this placement. Although she was never really mine, I grieved for her. I grieved for letting her go. I grieved for the relationship that we could have had. I grieved for it all and then… I found some strength to move on.
The Strength to Move On in All Areas of Life
Finding that strength to let go was hard. It was, and usually is, heartbreaking, life changing, and emotionally exhausting. Consider the what if’s of your decision, but don’t dwell on them extensively. Practice living in the moment and enjoying where you are today, realizing that saying no to one dream, does not mean saying no to all your dreams. It is just giving your heart more time to be prepared for what is to come.
Finding that strength is important no matter the situation and what you need to let go of. Here are some other things to consider.
- Letting go is forgiving yourself for past decisions and moving forward with a clearer conscious. It is accepting that we all make mistakes and that we all have the opportunity to make right the things of our past.
Be Present Minded
- Letting go means that you can live more in the moment. It is not allowing the distractions of your past to pull you away from the people and places that mean the most to you today.
- Letting go allows you to be available to accept new possibilities and to chase new dreams. As your time is not wrapped up in the past, you have the freedom to choose something new, in the moment that pleases your heart even more.
Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed
- Letting go limits the what if’s and the what could have been. It minimizes the possibility of getting overly involved in the decision making process before you become paralyzed with indecisiveness.
- Letting go releases you from the time constraints of activities in the past that no longer appeal to you. Without being so tied down to what has happened, you are able to set new routine as for what is happening now and for what is to come.
For you it may be letting go of that job offer that you would have loved to have but couldn’t take due to scheduling. Maybe it is letting go of that relationship that was never meant to be. Or maybe, just maybe, it was losing your beloved possessions as a result of a fire or other natural disaster.
Whatever it is, letting go of what could be is a brave task to do. This is because we often need to let go of the past in order to accept what is to come. So, I ask you know, what do you need to let go of? What is holding you on to so tightly? If you find that it is past choices, forgive yourself for the hard decisions that you have made and accept that you have many more opportunities to come. Take advantage of the things that you learned and move on.
If you need to reach out to someone, find our wonderful behavioral health staff at CHI Health.
Tracy Glantz, MS, is an Educational Therapist at CHI Health.