After speaking with CPS Thursday night, when our case worker came to take the babies to their grandmother, I asked if Hakeem could please stay the weekend with us.
Of all the kids, he can be the toughest as he battles what he's come to refer to as his 'anger problem'. In spite of his temper, our kids, especially our boys, had loved having him with us and were sad to see him go. CPS agreed to let him stay the weekend, calling it an 'extended sleepover'.
It was homecoming weekend for our youngest four so we spent the weekend going to various events, one of which including the crowning of the Covenant Homecoming King and Queen.
Hakeem asked from the sidelines, "Do it mean they gonna get married?"
I love that kid.
This afternoon, preparing him to go home, we packed up the few things he had, the things we had bought for him, and the souvineers he'd gathered throughout his weeks with us. He took one of Tee's Pine Cove t-shirts, a fake gold chain necklace with a giant dollar sign hanging from it, the allowance he'd earned from making his bed and brushing his teeth every day, and a Covenant Homecoming spirit ribbon.
I told him over and over how much I loved him as I hugged his little body and kissed his face. How proud I was of him, and what to do if things got bad. "Come get us - tell us right away."
"What if she won't let us go outside again?"
"Then you tell your teacher to call Mr. Trey. You tell anyone to call Mr. Trey. Buddy, we're gonna be checking in on ya'll all the time. We'll know if something isn't right, o.k.?"
Trey loaded him up and drove him the 1/2 a mile to his apartment. When he dropped him off, Hakeem ran inside, said hi to his granny, and then left again before Trey could even say goodby.
A few minutes later, Trey walked in our door, and we looked at each other, listened to the comparative quiet of our house now officially minus three children, and hugged each other.
And then there was a knock at the door.
We opened it. It was Hakeem...with the biggest grin on his face, "Hey! Whatcha'll doin'?"
He'd run all the way back to hang out and play some more before dark.
"Not much, Hakeem, come on in."
And so we are back to our life as we knew it. We are praying that Hakeem's and his siblings' lives will be, somehow, radically different and the Lord will use us to do whatever it takes to make it so.