Saying Hello to the Next Goodbye


We lost a baby a week ago. Not to death, but to life.  A new life-one without us in it.

With one last lingering kiss, my lips sank into his soft cheeks and his life with us was over. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe him in, knowing when I opened them again, the world would look and feel so very different. Every minute, every memory thus far was filled with me-with us.

I was still his mama for a few more fleeting moments and I found myself holding my breath as if the act of not breathing could stop the next steps dead in their tracks.

I opened my eyes and forced out a smile as I passed him back to his aunt. I turned to go, praying I would make it out the front door before the reality of the day hit like a tidal wave. With each step I took back to the car, I collapsed further into the arms of husband’s firm embrace.

And then the tears fell. They fell hard. That’s what tears do when you leave your heart in someone else’s hands. Pieces of my pain dripped down my face as the moment enveloped me fully. This was the ending I had prepared myself to experience for the last seven months.

Every fiber of my being had hoped and ached and longed for this very moment even though I knew it would cause my heart to shatter into one thousand tiny shards.

And that it did-my soul shattered.

Since the day we carried that six-pound baby home from the hospital, I prayed for paperwork to move swiftly so he could be somewhere permanent. I spoke up in court as I pushed for home studies and background checks to be completed in a timely fashion. I facilitated visitations on my own time hoping to make the final transition to relative caregivers smoother. I sent pictures and text messages to his biological family so they could watch him grow until he was theirs forever.

I was excited for his new life to begin. But the sting of saying goodbye is severe.

Truth is, we actually signed up for this torture. We said yes to a calling that is full of hurt and heartbreaks. And yet, we continue to say yes. It is impossible to go back to the way things were when your eyes have seen the truth of what IS. And what IS is closer than most of us care to admit.

So we look to the next one. The next baby to love. The next family to pray over. The next court dates to set on our already-full calendar. The next case worker visit. The next blue folder full of unraveling lives. There are cribs sheets to wash and clothes to pack away until the next one needs them. And in the waiting, there are biological kids to snuggle. There are emotions to process. And there is also a marriage of mine that needs a bit of nurturing and attention.

We are exhausted and relieved all in the same sigh.

We are back to the wait. Our world will change again with the ring of our phone and a caseworker on the other end. We will say yes and then say hello to our family’s next goodbye.


  1. Erica | 16th Feb 15

    So sweet, my friend. Hugs and love and prayers coming your way, as always. I hope to also foster in the future.

  2. Kristy | 23rd Sep 15

    Reblogged this on This Hard Calling and commented:

    our family is about to walk this very journey again. saying goodbye isn’t something that gets easier, it just becomes more familiar.

  3. Wendy Triffett | 24th Sep 15

    After 39 babies, we have ssid a final goodbye and hung up our booties. It hurts. I still remember so many of them very vividly. I have a photo album and I still pray over them. Good on you xx

  4. Deana | 10th Apr 17

    Thank you for this. I needed it. Said goodbye just today. Not quite ready to think about our next hello. But when the phone rings….

    • Kristy Sutton | 10th Apr 17

      Exactly. Don’t I know that ringing phone. It’s like you can’t say no to the horrific heartache coming your way. It’s so hard but so worth it.

  5. Amy Wragg | 10th Apr 17

    Thank you for the words. All of them ringing so true in our hearts. Hearts that have been repetedly shattered and rebuilt larger than they were before that last souls entered them. I call them my heart babies because they will remain there forever. A piece of them in me and a piece of me in them. And still we will say yes when that phone rings because, if not us then who.

    • Kristy Sutton | 10th Apr 17

      Amen Amy. If not us… praying for your heart. I love your words about the shattering and rebuilding snd growing even larger than before. ❤️❤️

  6. Jen | 18th Aug 17

    We said good bye today after only two short, yet incredibly fulfilling and long, months. Your words are crazy close to our exact experience. Down to handing my little buddy to his aunt. Our family of six is new at the calling of Foster Care. Only three placements in and we will never be the same. We discuss often how crazy it is that we have intentionally signed up for this heart break. This weekend we are embracing ice-cream and endless amounts of movies and feel good t.v. as therapy. God is good and we will say yes again when the phone rings. Thanks for your words. So glad to come across your FB page and now your blog. Blessings

    • Kristy Sutton | 21st Sep 17

      God bless you!!!

  7. Julie Payea | 8th Aug 18

    My worker sent this to me today and I can not stop the tears. We also started our journey in the summer of 2012. We have had 52 children through our home and have loved them all. Two are now ours forever, along with our 5 grown good. Just 6 days ago we said goodbye to a beautiful 10 month old that came to us straight from the hospital. Like you said, my heart shattered and I am having a hard time picking up the pieces this time. Thank you for sharing.

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