I walked into the court room with a sleeping blond babe. I walked out with an empty carseat.
They aren't suppose to stay forever. Not when their parents do the hard work. Now, I know some people will say their parents are the reason these children are in care, and you'd mostly be right. But that's not always the case.
This babe has four siblings he'll never know because they were adopted out years ago. Back when his parents couldn't, wouldn't make better choices. And it's not always because they don't want to. Sometimes they can't...whether it be an addiction, abuse, or just learned behavior (lookup trauma trainings...it is amazing what affects the brain and how we cope). Sometimes there's no one in their corner to show them the way. No one to offer grace or forgiveness.
Today I witnessed that grace and forgiveness in the sweetest form. A judge who looked past this dads past. A caseworker and attorney who worked together and not against each other. A guardian who went above and beyond her volunteer status. When that judge told dad he could take his baby home, I don't know if I have ever seen a bigger grin. And as I beamed with pride for him and unlatched his son from me, I cried. Isn't this what it's about? Coming alongside parents who have never had anyone and being their one. Rooting with all our might for them. Standing in their corner. Showing grace and forgiveness because we know grace and forgiveness.
I'm sure going to miss that smiley fat little babe, but I'm thankful for a God who grants second chances, offers grace and dishes out heaps of forgiveness so that we in turn could offer a little to someone else.