Living In Between

They don’t have a name for it, really. This post-parenting feeling. Postpartum gets the closest in diagnosis:: anger, guilt, hopelessness, fatigue, fear. It comes close.

But we were bonded—that, generally, wasn’t an issue. It’s the emptiness after they are gone. The deafening quiet. That’s the space that is often the most difficult.

What Comes After

Living In BetweenIt’s part of the gig, I get that. I won’t pretend that our goal isn’t to one day grow our family through adoption, but we were fully prepared that until that day comes, we would be standing in the gap. Helping those that needed us.

For the ones that return to families who have worked hard, we are proud of them. Then, some return to situations that are known to be unsafe. And for those, we worry—and we pray.

I agonize over situations that could have gone differently or listen to videos to infuse their laughter back into the stillness. 

However, no training class prepared me for the silence that followed. No one walked me through what to do when I would walk through empty rooms prepared and waiting for children. The loneliness swallows you whole when you dust off toys that haven’t been used.

No seminar puts venting the closet door on your task list because it’s getting musty from months upon months of being closed, clothes hanging undisturbed.

It’s everything that comes after. No one warned me about that part.

The Empty

Living In Between

It’s been a year. A year since someone needed a snack. Since I had to race the clock to pick out clothing to prevent them from going to school looking like Punky Brewster. A year since I cut the crust off sandwiches or put chicken nuggets in my shopping cart.

There’s isn’t a name for being a parent—and then suddenly not. What term do you use to describe the listlessness that follows the emptiness left behind by child-sized shapes in your heart?

Books go unread. Stuffies go unloved. Blankets gather dust.

Filling Voids

To fill the voids in between placements, I often nest. The problem with nesting for 36 months is I have quite the stockpile of items from books to T-shirts. When you don’t know if a newborn or an 8-year-old will show up, best to be prepared. {There are plenty of organizations that can assist with placements. This is my own neuroticism.} The good news is I’m prepared for most children’s birthday parties at a moment’s notice.

During the in-between, I do my best to put away {a.k.a. hide} things for my own sanity. Toddler plates are pushed to the back of the cabinet, doors get closed, clothing is boxed up.

And the world keeps turning—we keep moving. The dogs endure reading time when I reach my limit for untold stories. Friends mercifully bring their children over to mess up the playroom occasionally. We donate items to other families who currently have children or placements that can use them.

Now and again I dust the room so we’re ready, just in case. And until I can be “mom” again I’ll be here, living in the in-between.


Pin this post and be sure to follow
Houston Moms Blog
on Pinterest!

Previous article3 Plant-Based Meals to Take Advantage of Summer Vegetables
Next articleAbandoning “Should”:: You Don’t Have to Do it All
Kirsten C
Kirsten C. was born and raised in Texas Hill Country. After becoming a hopelessly devoted Bobcat and earning a degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations at Texas State University, she was wooed by the never-ending culinary options and vibrant street art of Houston and became a transplant. By day she is a marketing enthusiast for a downtown engineering firm, and by night, an over-the-top {and unashamed} dog mom. She and her husband William are licensed foster parents—advocating for children and families—who hope to one day grow their family through adoption. You can follow their unruly journey on their blog, Cornell Chaos. When she’s not trying a new restaurant, playing behind the lens of a Cannon, piddling in the yard, or scouring markets for hidden gems, Kirsten is often found teaching student ministry through Kingsland Baptist Church or escaping at a local coffee spot.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here