I spent thirteen and a half months repeating, "Who of you by worrying can add a single day to his life?" I spent over a year clinging to the truth that God knows the plans He has for each and every one of us. I spent nearly 60 weeks living a nightmare. In that time I tried not to think about what it would be like to hand my son over to a social worker.
I don't know if I ever explained that our case wasn't as simple as Matthew growing up here or with his father. The case was simply to decide whether or not to allow the adoption to continue. If we'd lost in court, Matthew would have been removed from our home and placed into the foster system. We may have been able to petition the court to allow him to stay with us instead of being placed in a separate foster home but, as our case was being heard in California, the court may have wanted him in that state. There likely would have then been a custody case between Matthew's mother and father. If his father had won that case, Matthew would have remained in foster care while his father completed a series of necessary steps, classes and evaluations before he could have custody of Matthew. It's possible that those steps never would have been completed or that, after further evaluation, custody never would have been granted. Had that been the case, Matthew would have, again, been placed for adoption. But I don't think we would have been allowed to adopt him because our process would have already been stopped by the court.
Those are the facts as I understand them. Clear as mud?
Back then, I couldn't allow myself to think beyond the trial. I had to simply take life one day at a time. When it was over, and Matthew's father had agreed to a settlement, I tried to pick up the pieces, rejoice, and work through everything that had happened. I never let myself think about what might have happened. Maybe that's okay. Maybe there's no point in speculating--especially about something so painful.
Or maybe we should confront such emotions so they don't sneak up on us. Yesterday the thoughts piled up on each other one after the other after another.
What if I'd never heard that sweet voice? What if I'd had to hold that one-year-old's head in my hand, whispering that everything was going to be okay and that I was going to love him forever even though I would never see him again? What if I'd had to trust someone else not to lose his favorite monkey? What if I didn't get to watch him fall in love with a kitty named Cupcake at Petsmart? What if he picked dandelions for someone else?
What if he wasn't here?
The thought was suffocating. Matthew is such an enormous part of what makes us, well, us. The days with a toddler are long and filled with foot-stomping, button-pushing fights for independence. But he is here and I couldn't be more thankful.