Mijito/a- Spanish for ‘my little boy/girl’
Trauma can be a hard, ugly thing that barriers the beautiful soul of a child.
My husband and I met Mijito and Mijita in February 2018. Mijita was about to turn 12, and younger than we had imagined taking in but our priority was to give permanency to a sibling set. I felt the love the second I laid eyes on them. Mijita was a shy ginger (I miss those days sometimes, ha!). Mijito was a 9 year old bundle of joy and energy. He was so excited to meet us and talk about his interests.
We had several more visits with them and transitioned into weekend overnights until they moved in with us in late June. In early August we met Mijito’s trauma. It was so much more than we were prepared for. Trauma therapy and behavior coaches were put in place 5 days a week. We struggled to find the right techniques and structure that would work.
After two hospitalizations we had to admit that we were not enough. We still held out hope that with help from the right therapeutic foster home we could eventually reunite him with our family. The time between his release and a potential home being found was over 3 months. The day we were supposed to meet the placement his trauma took over. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We could no longer seek solutions for him at the expense of our’s, or Mijita’s, security. The path we were on would not provide the life we intended for our children and risked us being allowed to keep either of them at all.
After 10 months of fighting for him and being told we were doing everything possible, by everyone who would listen- we were broken. I sat on the floor of my closet, shaking and sobbing as I called to have Mijito removed that mid-April day. It ripped a part of my heart that I don’t think will ever feel right again. Sometimes love is not enough to fix the brokenness inside of a child’s heart.
Even now, with all of the things that have happened, all of the ways that everyone else has told us to give up on loving Mijito- I know we never could. He might not be in our home but he will be forever in our hearts.
On the hardest days, I look at Mijita, and the growth that she has made since we started looking for outside options to help Mijito. It’s certainly been a rough transition but she has proven more resilient than I gave her credit for. She’s not just surviving- she is thriving. Her grades did take a hit during the tumultuous transitions with her brother but in every other aspect she has found balance. When we met, her life’s ambition was to be a teen mom, now we talk about colleges and career paths.
This was never our first choice and our fighting for both of their best interests is far from over- but I wouldn’t take any of it back for a second. More than anything these kids need someone to believe in them and to show them what a healthy love looks like. We are far from perfect but I know we have shown them those things. Life has been so unkind to Mijita and Mijito. Mijita has had to make hard choices and take a stand on being adopted without her brother. Mijito is facing a hard reality where we are not able to be his parents anymore. We will always keep them connected, we will always support Mijito in the best way that we can. I still believe in both of them. I know that Mijita has a brighter future because of the fighting we did to ‘be enough’ for them to stay together for as long as we did, even though it didn’t work out.
Disruption catches me on good days like today. On vacation for family reunions, and Mijita’s first time to the beach and Knott’s Berry Farm. My heart misses him and the joy he brings to our lives but we carry him with us everywhere. We provide Mijita with a life filled with the stability they have been lacking, and I am hopeful for a future where she keeps us connected to him and his forever home.
For all the foster and adoptive parents out there who question themselves when faced with such hard situations- don’t shy away from fighting the good fight. It’s the hardest thing to do, and nothing anyone can say will make it feel any better, but there are cases where disrupting one sibling is what is best.
For anyone interested in becoming a foster parent- don’t let the worst-case scenarios turn you away from opening your heart to kids in need. If you are worried about getting too attached and it being too hard to think about giving them back- that’s exactly the kind of love they need!