The end of Belfast was a whirlwind of visits to Child Protective Services, harsh words from angry kids, and an overall sense of having failed, massively, on almost every front.In July, when an email from a little girl informed me that all of my efforts with CPS had only succeeded in getting her friend removed from her home--nothing helpful or restorative, nothing that would mend the situation, I found myself on the floor of a Croatian bathroom, unable to stem the flood of tears that finally were released after leaving Belfast. My heart has never felt more broken.
A couple years have passed. The weight is somewhat removed; the long separation has helped diffuse the water in my lungs, but my heart still has not fully come home to me either. It's still on a dozen doorsteps in Northwest Belfast, which is why it was so hurt again tonight: the Irish arrived, ready for Peter and Malia's wedding, bearing news that my Hawthorne Effect boys are both dads.
Scott and Jamie, in true northwest Belfast style, have now both become fathers before age 16.
I don't even know where to start describing how much I love these boys and how much more I want for their lives. It's a familiar sense, the heaviness that has settled onto my chest tonight, but so unwelcome.