We had our good-bye meeting with Max yesterday. The wait was hard, anticipating what it would be like. The good-bye itself? Well....we were glad to see Max walk in and come over and hug us right away. The first few minutes of seeing him and seeing how he was doing were sweet.
A (therapist) came over and took Davan to a different room while we cuddled a bit. Then, when A came back, she reminded Max of what was happening. He held onto me and cried. He'd been told the day before what was happening and had helped A write a letter to us. I offered to read him the letter we'd written to him. He wanted that and stopped crying right away and smiling and laughing at the pictures and the memories. He was also his usual fidgety self and moved so quickly past the crying...It wasn't long before he was bored with the pictures and wanted us to all go upstairs so we could play. That was when A took him to see Davan.
They drew a picture together and Davan tells us that Max was acting up and silly, but it was okay because she hadn't expected him to be otherwise.
When they came back up, we gave Max the good-bye cards and things that people had given us to give him. Then it was time for good-bye. A took Davan out of the room so we could say our final good-bye and then get Max into Barbara's car. Max, at this point, was mostly concerned with his snack and juice and sticker. He had no trouble getting into the car. He did look a little hang-dog, but it really felt like it was a "practice" emotion, as A would say - something he felt like he was supposed to feel rather than really did.
Davan really broke down when we were getting him out to the car, great big sobs. It was so sad to see.
Anthony and I mostly felt like we'd let Max and Davan down, but that it was the right decision and we were okay. When we were processing after, we both agreed that Max mostly seemed scared by the future rather than upset about leaving us.
We talked with Davan over the course of the evening about how she was feeling. She said she missed Max and was sad for him. We talked about that she was thinking he was feeling the way she would if she had to leave, but he didn't feel the way she would. We asked if she could undo him moving away, would she? It was a very fast, emphatic no for that one. We hugged her and reassured her that it would never happen to her. We stayed for her gymnastics practice, as she was feeling a little fragile. I also read to her extra long at bed time last night.
This morning, she's been back to normal so far. As I was typing in the last paragraph, Max's case worker and new foster mom showed up to get his things. We loaded up and they were gone in about 15 minutes. Davan helped carry out. Davan and I were hugging when his new foster mom came up to us and gave us both a hug and said, "Don't worry about him. He's going to be okay. Take care of yourselves."
His case worker said, "Okay. Thanks. Take care." And they were off.
Davan and I came back in the house and I said to her, "Kind of awkward, no?"
"Yeah. A stranger hugging us. Weird." Then she was back to enthusiastic play with Ari (her rat).
So, that seems to be that. They only thing I'd wanted to get done and didn't was making a disk or two of all the pictures we took when Max was living with us. I'd hand picked some, which still totaled nearly 100 pictures, but there were a lot more. Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties. I'll still do it and give it to Barbara who will be able to pass it on.
What it all seems to boil down to is that it was the right decision for us. The only thing that might have been better would have been to do it sooner, like when we'd first met and knew it wasn't right. That would have been better for all of us, probably. Although, my mom pointed out that, by hanging on as long as we did, we've probably cleared ourselves of "What ifs" - What if he was just wiggy about meeting new people when we first met? What if he would have settled into our family given a few months? What if we'd tried homeschooling? What if we'd sent him to school? What if we'd tried medication? What if we'd gone to therapy? What if I'd tried this technique or that technique for parenting troubled kids?
Well, we have our answers to those questions. It still didn't work. We were still a poor match. I hope, really, really hope that he finds what he needs. Good-bye Max.