There is not any easy way to start this, so I’m just going to say it.
He’s not coming.
We found out yesterday afternoon that Soccer Boy has been returned to his biological mother.
It was a hard day.
In the morning, we were told he was coming, and his photo went up and we sighed with relief and started making plans. I need to start thinking about the activities the boys might want to do together. I will need to bring his bulldozer over to Stephanie’s. I wonder what he will think of the Christmas gifts I have already bought.
The email came in the afternoon.
We’re so sorry for the confusion. We just heard ourselves. The hearing just happened.
It was a shock, but so was my response. I was okay. And so was Stephanie. He was home. He has a home.
This boy deeply loves his mother, his little brother. He talked about them a lot. We bought so many gifts for them. He missed her when he was here. So I can’t say I’m surprised.
But I also can’t say that my heart doesn’t flip-flop every time I walk past that bulldozer.
He is still on his country’s version of Facebook, and although I haven’t talked to him in about a week, I’m sure I will hear from him again.
And I will hold out those gossamer threads of connection. They are stronger than either of us realize. He is loved from across the ocean. I won’t let him forget that.
It is scary to think that I don’t know where he is now. Scary to wonder if his mom is going to stay strong for him. Scary to think that the boy I knew could be lost. Physically. Emotionally.
But perhaps not. Perhaps the boy I knew will be happier, and safer, and better. I hope so. I pray so.
And perhaps he will carry the seeds from my heart with him. He will know. Soccer Boy is kind. Soccer Boy is funny. Soccer Boy is smart. Soccer Boy is loved.
And perhaps he will plant those seeds in the heart of his little bralis. That little one just starting to walk now. Little chubby cheeks, a face with Soccer Boy’s eyes. You, little bralis…you are smart. You are funny. You are loved.
Perhaps I will never know. And that makes my heart ache.
I will probably never see him again. I knew that this was a reality a long time ago. But to be faced with it is a different thing.
But I don’t think I believe it.
I don’t think our story is over.
I don’t know how or when or if I will know in this life.
But the story isn’t over.
Because we aren’t the ones in charge of telling it.
And the One who is telling it knows us both. Knows us all.
He knows the heart of Soccer Boy’s mom. He knows what events need to happen to reach her soul. He knows what precise word I spoke or what special item I gave that Soccer Boy will carry with him and display before her, and how that might breach a broken relationship. He knows her to her very core, and he loves her.
And he knows the heart of Soccer Boy. He knows the events that will shape him. He knows his every flutter and giggle and tear. He knows his past, his present, and his future. He knows what will come, and He knows how to be there.
And he knows the heart of Stephanie and Bryan. He knows how Soccer Boy touched them, how his smile softened something in their souls, and how they were changed. He knows what is best for their family, how their faith is being built through every turn in this journey. He knows how he will use them in a way different from what they first expected. And he knows the joy that comes with the new day.
And He knows my heart, too. He knows my fears. He knows my confusion. He knows my dreams, and my desires. He knows how they all fit together, even when it doesn’t make logical sense to me. He knows how to show me his care and his plans and how they are so much bigger than I ever thought possible.
He knows how to tell this story. He knows where this is going, even if the rest of us don’t.
And after this news, there was unbelievable grace. Stay tuned for more. Soccer Boy connected me to so many people, and the next chapter of our story was being written even as Soccer Boy arrived. We just didn’t know it.
The story isn’t over. I can’t wait to tell you about the next chapter.
But today, I want to celebrate the pause in this chapter. I won’t close it. I want to display it. I want to put the words “Stay tuned for the further adventures of Soccer Boy…”
I can’t wait to see what gets written.
Man esi mil, pertikis. Man esi mil.