It’s a boy! Again!

Baby Boy
You know that bit about being on a foster care break? This is what we do on a foster care break: take in another newborn. It’s what we do.

Seriously, I keep thinking I was prepared to say no to any other kind of request – our family really did/does need a break from anyone who can talk back and drop the f bomb on us for a while, but this? I just can’t say no to this.

And he’s a little Mary Poppins baby: practically perfect in every way. And he’s going to break my heart again here in a few weeks.

Once again, it’s what we do.

Babies Again

Y’all, I know. We’re supposed to be on a “break.” A4 and R3 have only been gone 10 days and we communicated we needed a month before taking another placement and we’re going out of town in two weeks and my own case worker through Angels is on vacation so I thought we were “safe.”

And then I started getting calls from the director of our agency. She called our home phone. She texted. She called my cell phone. I knew something was up.

Emergencies. They just keep happening. Two babies, a 23 month old girl and her 5 week old brother. They were taken tonight and needed a home and could we possibly?

And it doesn’t make sense and we are extremely exhausted and yet…they need a home and we have one. And I said, “When should I be there?”

So now we’re back to babies again. I’m really really REALLY thinking this is going to be super short. They apparently have a good family network and someone should be cleared to take them in soon. So in the meantime, we will love these little sweeties while we have them and pray for their soon-to-be home to be a good place for them to be.

Missing Baby M

American Girl Baby Doll
I just did a double take when I passed by the baby swing. One of the girls dressed up this baby doll in the bunting we bought for Baby M when he was living with us. Apparently I’m not the only one in the family still missing that baby in a fierce, fierce way.

 

Emergency Girls

How to begin this? Honestly, I wanted a few days off between handing over Baby M and getting a new placement. I’m not sure if I thought I *needed* the time, or just selfishly *wanted* it. One thing’s for sure, I wasn’t done grieving the loss of my sweet little baby boy.

I’m still not.

In fact, you might think this weird, but I slept with one of Baby M’s blankets right next to my face last night. Yep. True story. And I pretty much cried myself to sleep.

And if there is ever a time that Lamentations 3:22-23 self-fulfilled, it was today: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Mercies are new every morning. Every morning. It doesn’t mean that despair doesn’t eventually return. It often does and sometimes it does right away, but mercies are available and fresh every single morning. I awoke to that this morning and was grateful.

And before I even rolled out of bed I glanced at my phone, which I don’t normally keep next to the bed, but have grown accustomed to over the past month to check feeding times and such, I saw a message from our foster agency worker. She needed me to call her asap. I cleared my throat to try to sound a little less like I, you know, just woke up, and called her back.

In a nutshell, there was an emergency need for two little girls (sisters) to be transferred to a new short-term home as their foster father was in a serious car accident this morning. They were sorry to ask us since we’d just given up Baby M the afternoon before and knew we were still processing through that. I woke up quickly and was all, “Of course. Bring them. When will you be here?”

And that was that. We are now keeping up with J4 and M1.5. Sweet, sweet, SWEET little girls. With a sad story, like everyone else who spends time with us for a short season. Craig is absolutely smitten and wants to adopt them on the spot. If only it were that easy and if it were, would we survive, because we would adopt almost everyone who comes here. Crazy.

We don’t know how long these sweeties will be with us, but I’m thinking it will be shorter than the other kids we’ve had, as they’ve been in emergency care with the other family for a while now. But for however long they are with us, we will do our best to love and care for them.

It’s true. I wanted my cushy safe life back for a few days. I wanted to wallow in sadness over the baby. But what I wanted wasn’t exactly what God wanted. And I hope I will continue to want what He wants above what I want. I hope.

There were pockets during the day in which I was alone for a moment and something would remind me of yesterday. I folded a bunch of laundry and came across several of the 0-3 sleepers he looked so cute in and I fought back some tears. I saw a baby at Walmart tonight and teared up on the spot.

But then I had to snap back into the present and our present is that we have two extra little girls right now who really need us to be present with them. We’ll do what we can.

Today we said good-bye.

Today I bought a new purse.

I bought it from Walmart.

It cost $18.

I shopped with Baby M today.

The purse stayed in the plastic bag until much later.

I carried my scruffy scrappy purse with me to drop Baby M. off today for his long-term placement.

My friend offered to drive us to the appointment.

I usually don’t accept support like this, but today I did.

And I’m glad.

Because I cried.

I cried very hard.

Then she drove me home.

I cried some more.

Then I went to the school to pick up the girls for choir practice.

I cried some more.

I took them to choir practice.

Then I met Craig for dinner.

This was the first time in over a month that we’d had dinner together without any kids, ours or otherwise.

And we talked about Baby M.

And I cried very hard some more.

And later tonight I dumped the contents of my old purse into my new purse.

I still need to organize it, but for now I’ll just keep it that way.

And like I do with everything else, I casualized the purse pronto by clipping my scratched up carabiner to it.

And I gathered up all the random baby bottles with less than an ounce of formula still in them and placed them on the counter to be washed out.

And stored.

And saved for the time another baby joins our family for a short season.

For now, though, we mourn he who was ours for a little while and pray he is comforted and safe tonight.

Tomorrow we say good-bye.

Numbers 6: 24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Feels like we’ve been here before with this little guy. And so we have. Only this time, it’s for real. And so I reiterate my words from before: Baby M, we love you. And even harder than not getting to continue to raise you up through your childhood and beyond is the not knowing anything about what will become of you after tomorrow. I think that’s what hurts the most.

We give you over to the hands of God. May He watch over you and guide you all the days of your life.

Fostering by Committee (I mean family)

Craig got some baby rocking time in today which means he also got some puppy rocking time. So here’s Craig with his two babies… *grin* When we got Baby M, E3 had been with us for 2 weeks already. Then he left and J5 came. Now he’s gone and we still have Baby M and I’m telling you, caring for JUST a newborn *almost* feels easy compared to caring for a newborn plus a needy 3yo or a newborn plus a behavior-challenged 5yo. We had a heart to heart talk today at lunch as it was just the 6 of us around the table and we couldn’t really even remember when the last time that had happened was. We asked each other a lot of questions. Questions like:

  • What do you think? It’s been a month. Yay or nay?
  • Should we make one of the bedrooms a permanent foster kid room? (This one from Maddie and Chloe who are saying they are willing to move in together in Maddie’s room and turn Chloe’s room into the permanent foster kid room)
  • Did you feel like you got neglected during this process of us caring so deeply for these hard needs of the other kids?
  • What do you think we should do differently next time?
  • Should we stick with one kid at a time or are we okay with two?
  • Could we do two babies at once? How about two 5yos? Maybe we should stick with one baby and one older if we do two?
  • Is it okay to take a break sometimes?

And more and more and more. We couldn’t be more proud of the way our four girls have jumped into this new stage of life with full intention and just downright hands-on help. And we want to be super sensitive to how they are processing each situation as it arrives as well. And we want to be reasonable with what we can do while at the same time not mistaking saying no to hard cases which God might have planned for us for a short season. I was honest today when I said I needed a breather from a really tough case for a while. It’s not to say we won’t end up with another one at some point, but not yet. Maddie and I are taking a little trip later next week for a speech and debate tournament she’s competing in and we told our case worker we couldn’t take another older child at least until after that trip. We’ll reevaluate as a family when we get back.

It’s easy for me to say I want to keep nurturing the newborns. I was born to snuggle babies and I don’t mind being tasked with having to wipe a lot of undesirable things off of a lot of unusual places at really random times of the day. Of course, the newborns will tear my heart out the most because it’s just *so* easy to get attached to a newborn who is dependent on you for every single thing and doesn’t really know another family except you. So, yep, pretty much hard every time. But that hard is easier for me than the hard of being screamed at for segments of each day and kicked and called all kinds of names. Some of us are better suited for one type than the other. Maybe. But maybe God will ask us to take more of those kids on occasion as much for our own good as for the kids. We’ll see. I do draw the line at my own kids getting hit. I need my own kids to know we won’t compromise their safety and security in our home while we try to provide the same for others.

The last month has provided a steep learning curve for all of us and I have a feeling we’re not quite done yet. And as hard as it’s been, I think the only thing I’d really wish away would be the hard, sad stories each of these kids has come to us with. Because if I could wish that away for them, I would. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Yawn

Nighttime arsenal at the ready. This has been our reality for the past two weeks now and we’ll keep it up for an indefinite number of days, but most likely less than two more weeks. I’m so thankful for these extended days we have with Baby M and will miss him terribly when the time comes to day good-bye. For now, though, I’m trying to remember how much I’ll miss him when he wakes me up 2-3 times each night. *yawn*