I praise The Lord she didn’t abort him. I praise The Lord she tested clean -meaning no drugs in her system and mostly for being a woman brave enough to say, I’m not in a place where I can provide for him.
I was home packing and preparing the teen who had been with us for a couple of weeks to return home when his caseworker said, “Hey, be watching your phone. They know your house is about to be empty.” The dust had barely settled in the driveway when I heard my phone.
“Hey, we’ve got a baby being born. It’s likely to be a long-term placement. Are you willing?”
Even though she said, “..long-term” placement I didn’t let the words settle in because none of the others had been. The baby, if we took it, would have been the 34 or 35thchild to stay with us in just under two and a half years. So, the words “long-term” didn’t carry a lot of weight.
Next, I did what I do when DHR calls-I called my husband at the feed store.
“Hey babe, DHR called and said they’re going to have a baby ready for pick-up soon and want to know if we’re interested. Are we?”
“Is ____ gone?”
“Yes, he’s been gone about a half hour.”
“A baby is a lot. This is our peak season at the store so it will mostly be you, babe, but I guess I’m game if you are?”
He didn’t say no. Why didn’t he say no?
“The parking lot if full. I’ve got to go. It’s up to you babe.”
Up to me.
“Hey let me know what y’all decide. I’m going to have to keep calling.”
I wish I had timed how long it was from the initial call and then her text but my best guess is there were about fifteen minutes in between.
“Hey, yes. We’ll take the baby. Is it a boy or a girl?”
“I’m not sure. I think it’s a boy. I’ll let you know but it will probably be ready to be discharged from the hospital by noon tomorrow. The caseworker will be in touch with more details”
After we hung up I grabbed the broom and headed toward the room that just an hour ago was home to a teen. I needed to lift the window partly because I smelled feet but mostly because I needed a breath of fresh air.
A baby. A baby? Are we ready for a baby and not just a baby but a newborn? The youngest placement we had had was nine months. We’d done a week of respite (which is rest/or help for another foster family) for a six-week-old baby boy but that was short-term.
My nervous energy had kicked in. I stripped the bedsheets and cleaned the room in record time when I found myself standing staring at the walls.
This little room has seen me through my greatest sorrows and joys.
It was the room I had prepared for our Samuel, and then the next year for Karson who neither made it home from the hospital. It was the room that saw sorrow transformed into joy when we brought home our precious Tucker. It was the room that had become a haven for the many and varied children in need of a safe place and it was soon to become a nursery again.
Now, what does a baby need?
My ‘baby’ was nine almost ten so it had been awhile.
Let’s start with something to sleep in and something to wear.
I sent a group text to my sister, MIL & a friend from church. In just a few moments The Lord had lined up all we would need.
One thing FOR SURE God has used fostering to show me time and time again -the body of Christ works best when it works together. No way could we or any one of us in a solo effort meet the needs of the many and varied kids but together it is truly amazing!
The boys were ecstatic when they heard we were getting a baby. Our afternoon at the store and then home on the farm kept a quick pace much like it does this time of year when the afternoon becomes evening and finally night.
The next morning, I took the boys to school, hurried back home to tidy up before heading to the feed store to reset and rearrange the flowers for the day. I had a meeting scheduled later that evening to finalize details for a vintage pop-up shop that I had planned to attend after I picked up the baby.
It’s funny that it’s taken me a whole year to write this post about the baby that changed everything. I know, I know, that’s sounds so cliché’ but it’s also very, very true. For those of you who have biological children, you have weeks and months to prepare. We nest and decorate and have baby showers and get tons of stuff we never use. We’re anxious, excited and scared to death and we have lots of time to sort through it all but with fostering everything is different…especially fostering to adopt.
I’ll spare you the wacky details that transpired once I got to the hospital. It was very Jerry Springer but that’s another story for another day or never.
It’s taken me a long time to choose the words that best describe what happened when I first saw him.
Blameless, precious, new.
I weep at the words but that’s the beauty of the Gospel.
Out of respect for all involved, I will keep the hospital conversation exchange tucked in quieter places but I can tell you from the moment I first held him and breathed him in I knew he was a part of us.
Happy first birthday Baby J. You are chosen. You are cherished. Now forever & always.
We LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And to ALLLLLLLLL of you who have helped us by praying and providing for baby J’s needs THANK YOU!!! A gazillion thank-yous!
Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus! THANK YOU for loving us so well.
We pray God blesses you for blessing us!