To The Baby Boy I Called Mine For Only 404 Days

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“For 404 days I was able to watch him grow. For 404 days I helped him achieve his milestones. For 404 days I was able to love him unconditionally.

Now it has been 792 hours since I was able to see his little face. 792 hours since I was able to hold him in my arms. 792 hours since I was able to hear his giggle as I chased him around my house. 792 hours since I was able to kiss his perfect little cheeks.

He isn’t coming back. This is what we sign up for as foster carers. We are TOLD not to get emotionally involved. We are TOLD to not get too attached. We are TOLD foster care isn’t always forever.

When that baby arrives at your door, your heart opens up like you never imagined it could. You see this innocent baby staring up at you with beautifully crafted eyes. Your heart melts as he nuzzles into your neck and falls asleep to your scent. You watch him grow, you cry as he achieves his milestones. You BECOME his mom.

You see, being a mom isn’t about birthing a child. It is so much more than that.

We always remember tummy mummies but on this journey, we become their heart mommy. You. Get. Attached. I wouldn’t be the carer I was if I didn’t love, so hard, it damn well hurts!

Then one day, you are told your little baby is moving on. You are told there will be only two visits before he leaves you for good.

I PANIC. I knew him best, how could they decide this without consulting me? I contacted every person possible, to say he needs to stay with me. It’s what’s best for him. Please! In a heartbeat, I decided he can stay with me forever. If he wasn’t going back to his family then he should stay with me forever. I am his family. I am all he has ever known.

My biggest regret was contacting THEM, those up the ranks who decide. How was I to know that it was going to backfire on me? How was I to know the people I bypassed would get angry at me for going higher? How could this system be so cruel? They used culture as an excuse.

Members of our little man’s community, directly contacted them to say he should stay with us and it would be detrimental for him to leave, but it still wasn’t enough. It was out of my hands. I was reminded I am ‘just the carer.’

To the system, I may be JUST THE CARER, but to that little boy, I was so much more than that. I had no rights. I screamed so loudly but I had no voice.

I fought so damn hard for this innocent child. I am the only family he has ever known! It wasn’t good enough. The love and attachment this child formed with my family and I, was so strong that you would fail to even recognize he was a child in care. Why didn’t they see that?

So instead I had to make memories with my baby. I had to make memories as though he was dying. It killed me knowing I would never see him again.

I am now mourning the loss of my baby. Mourning the loss of my baby as though he died but the reality is… he is not my baby and he did not die. I feel so stupid to feel this way.

34 days ago, I said goodbye with tears, love and anger, as this new carer smiled and ripped him from my arms, with no care in the world. Not even a simple ‘sorry’ or ‘we will visit you.’ She knew how hard I fought.

I’m mourning the most beautiful little boy. It’s the little things, the dummy he left behind, his breakfast bowl sitting in the cupboard, even his little fingerprints on the fridge set me off. The car hits me hardest, I no longer have his tiny little voice to sing along with.

They warned me foster care is never permanent. They also said they are desperate for carers and they don’t have enough of us.

They say to keep emotions out of it. How can you raise him like your own child without emotions? How can you love him more than anything in this world, without emotions and not get attached? Our babies bond with us too. How do you tell a baby not to become attached? How can I open my home again, my heart again, when I feel like I’ve let this little boy down?! I don’t think I can.

The biggest impact this situation has had, is the fact I planned on taking the biggest leap of faith, opening my heart and home for the rest of my life, to a little boy who wasn’t even my own. Now, I don’t even know if I can open either of those things ever again, even momentarily. Will he know how loved he was and how hard we fought for him to stay with us?

Will we ever see him again?

Is he okay?

Will this trauma surface in later years through behavior?

The very people who decided his fate were supposed to be minimizing trauma. They are supposed to be preventing these children from attachment disorders, but they are unsettling them further by unnecessarily removing children from homes they often know from birth.

I’ve often heard people tell me not to worry because these babies are so resilient. My argument is that HE didn’t have to be resilient, he just had to trust me to feel protected and kept safe. I know I’ll never get him back, but so long as I am breathing, he will always be my little baby.”

Foster mom holds pinkies with her young foster son while cuddling
Courtesy Skye Burden

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Skye Burden. Subscribe to our free email newsletter, Living Better—your ultimate guide for actionable insights, evidence backed advice, and captivating personal stories, propelling you forward to living a more fulfilling life.

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