A student of mine and future friend I believe were talking in class about the issue of abortion…how perhaps opposing sides are having the wrong conversation…who isn’t in favor of life??? Who IS in favor of abortion??? What we might need is the right kind of support, information, and conversation when or perhaps before hard decisions have to be made…I would like to think that everyone is understanding of free will and choice…but many think theirs is the path for everyone…so I’m not sure where to go on that note…
It all does connect here…believe it or not…for me.
We experienced two success stories as far as I am concerned…at first I received several calls that didn’t turn into placements, which was a bit unnerving and frustrating. When we finally got the boys and then their sister 6 months later, it was pretty clear at the family visits that this was not going to resolve itself with a family reuniting. The success here was that the court and system worked and did the right thing and we have three amazing children. The challenge came when, after having 9 children taken from her, their 42 year old mother got pregnant again…which is how we met Saige…their baby sister. We had her for 24 hours before she became very ill very suddenly and died. There was drug use during pregnancy, so that might have been the root cause. Knowing this little girl for 24 hours was a pretty amazing, heartwrenching experience…but I surely don’t regret it.
A few months later we got a call about a baby girl that needed a place to go. She was still at the hospital…only a few days old. I went to to get her and rocked her in the hospital nursery while they got all the paperwork in order. The OB told me that surely this little girl would be ours to adopt, because her family wasn’t any good…all messed up on drugs. It was such a strange thing to go to the same hospital where I lost a baby in 24 hours and bring one home that I didn’t even know existed the day before. She was the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen! I was terrified! The loss of life kind of messes with your head. But…this time I got to watch those wrinkled, little curled up legs smooth out, fill out, and stretch. I also got to watch a mother very scared that her children had been taken do everything in her power as quickly as possible to get her children back. The OB was wrong…this little girl had a family who loved her and was willing to do what was necessary. It was very gratifying to know that for the first 6 months of her life…every developmental, emotional, and physical need was met and cherished. Pretty wonderful to be able to do that for a child you know you are going to send out into the world…what we gave her couldn’t be taken away. We were lucky in that when she did go home, and we offered to remain a part of her life, we became godparents and now see her most weekends. It is not perfect, but we take what we can get. We have also gained friends in her family. My hope is that she will have the best of everything…a mother who looks just like her, and our love and stability when she needs us.
A really hard moment came when a social worker called and wanted to know our status, because there was a little boy at the hospital who needed somewhere to go…just a few days old in this world. Saying no was just so hard…but my three children here need all I have to give…and our weekend angel needs us too. My hope is that just through sharing what we’ve been through there will be more people willing to take a chance…to help send the message that there is not a population of disposable children just taking up space…they need us and we needed them too. I hate to think about someone convincing my baby’s other mama to end his life. My wish was that she would have had the support and love for him( probably by having more love and support for herself) to give him up before he experienced abuse and neglect at her hands…
When Mr.Z and I were trying to have our own, fertility drugs and all…I wish I could have known that I would feel no disconnect in my heart that the blood of my children is not my own…that I do not yearn to feel another life within me. This is just my truth and would not begin to make assumptions for others and their necessary path. While we were trying…my oldest daughter was born, only 4 pounds…and was shuffled around at 9 months while her mother was in jail…she was in that environment until she and her siblings were taken when she was 3 years old. I can’t believe they would have remained if there was a line of foster families waiting. The reality of licensed foster care is quite distateful. CNN came from a foster home where children were beat with a buckle, chain smoking polluted the home and everything in it…and the children who rotated through the rooms were a source of income. I’ve not closed our door forever…and I love to think that it might be possible to go to the hospital and volunteer to just rock the babies born addicted…those who don’t have family and friends clammoring and the nursery window to see them.
I come by this rightly…this blessing…one grandma fostered babies until they had a home, or while their mother decided what to do…and the other never knew a stranger…welcomed everyone to her table and left her door unlocked long after it was safe to do so. My Mom has gone and visited new mothers…just to visit – as a volunteer from the hospital, and Dad was the subject of a letter a neighbor wrote about the good sameritan, and appreciated by so many more for his nurturing and giving of self. The odd thing is that I feel really selfish and it is not seen that way from the outside…I’ve received SO MUCH joy from each experience…I guess that’s what I wanted to share…while there is a great risk, there is so much joy to be experienced.