Written on Our Hearts: Parting with a Foster Child

In March of last year, my dear friend and fellow foster mama left me a voicemail one evening explaining that she had a new placement and was wondering if I could care for the child for a few hours the next day while she was at work. I called her back and accepted with a flutter of excitement and nervousness in my belly, then I lay awake into the night anticipating meeting this baby in the morning.

My husband and I were new foster parents; we were just licensed the month before and had not yet had any placement requests. Despite our training, we had little idea how the system worked or what to really expect as we became involved with caring for foster children.

That first day with Baby Girl was effortless. I wore her in my infant carrier as I went about the house. My three sons talked to her in sing-song voices and admired her petite ears. Every time I glanced down at her, she was studying me, drinking me in – this new person with a gentle voice and soft body to snuggle into. And I drank her in too – her shiny hair, taffy cheeks, and the tiniest hands and feet I’ve ever seen on a babe.

From day one, we were friends.

I asked my foster mom friend right away if I could be the one to care for Baby Girl when my friend was at work or otherwise needed a sitter. She agreed, and this little one was part of our weekly lives for the next nine months.

We rolled a blue ball during tummy time and tipped a rainstick back and forth.

We walked to the playground on a spring day and watched a faraway jet plane cross the sky, leaving behind a wispy trail of white.

We snuggled at dusk on summer evenings, her eyes rolling back in her head as she finished her bottle.

I bathed her in our sink, and when she got bigger, in the tub where she pedaled her feet and pounded her palms on the water’s surface. I sang her “her song” each time we were together—her eyes brightening with the opening melody.

She unloaded the bookshelves and tore the ornaments off the Christmas tree and stuck her hands through the baby gate a hundred times to get kisses from our puppy.

She has been so much a part of our lives this past year – a natural fit in our lively household of small humans and critters.

But our time with her is drawing to a close, as we knew it would. Baby Girl is being reunified with her birth mama soon.

Not many children are deeply loved by three mamas in the first year of their life, but she was. She was loved by her birth mama who was working hard to be reunified with her baby, cherishing their visits and trying to do everything right. She was loved by her foster mom who took her into her big, noisy family and exposed her to laughter and joy and the richness of life. And she was loved by me, the part-time mama who held her close in the carrier, who pointed to the sky and the leaves — the mama whose cheeks hurt from smiling whenever we were together.

The love from three mamas and all of our people will go with her into the future – love and earnest prayers and tears of joy and gratitude.

What an honor it has been to be one of her people – to care for her and laugh with her and watch her grow this past year. We have poured so much into her, and she has returned it all and then some with smiles and snuggles and clapping hands.

Baby Girl will probably not remember us, but we will never forget her, and I know in my innermost being that this love has mattered for all of us.

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Come again,

❤ Stacy


*Featured image via Flickr

Broken Places

This is the view from my recovery recliner – my view for the past month.

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NKOTB blanket circa 1987

It’s the best time of year here in Michigan and I thought for sure I would miss it.

I would miss my walks beneath the wooded canopy of Fumee Lake, calico leaves swooshing underfoot.

I would miss the apple orchard and the pumpkin patch, cornstalks rustling as kids dart in and out of rows.

I would miss cinnamon and nutmeg, spicy Chai, the flavors and smells of my autumn kitchen.

I’d miss it all because I’d be stuck in this stupid chair with these stupid crutches and this stupid aching hip.

Somehow, that’s not how it went at all. Somehow, I didn’t miss it.

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A Swell Day

Dear Friends,

I was draggin’ my wagon after last week’s hip surgery, but I think I may have turned the corner this morning.

I’ve already. . .

Cleaned my eyeglasses.

Color-code highlighted my appointment calendar.

Soaked my feet in Epsom salts.

Swatted four houseflies from my recliner.

Took my blood pressure three times.

Cleaned and oiled the foam pads of my crutches.

Clipped coupons from the grocery store flier. You wouldn’t believe the prices they’re offering on Ensure and Metamucil! (I wonder if they deliver…)  Continue reading

On (Re)naming an Adopted Child

The boys have been talking about what their names would have been had they been girls. Gray would have been Ana (these were pre-Frozen times, people). Reed would have been Fern. And Miles would have been Brooke. Funny how, even though they are boys, those other names still seem to suit them. Or maybe mother dreams just have a way of sticking.

I’ve thought about names a lot lately. We submitted our last piece of adoption assessment paperwork last week. (By this point, I feel we should be cleared for jobs with the FBI or CIA — we have been fingerprinted NINE combined times and evaluated from angles I didn’t know we had. Wondering why I haven’t been writing much? My hand is still cramped up from recording my relationship history from the 90s to the present day on more than one form. But I digress.) 

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I Almost Said No

It has been rainy for the better part of two weeks around here, and while we’re grateful the river is high and the green beans are watered, we’re just a little bit over cloudy skies and 60 degree temps.

Yesterday, during a downpour, my six-year-old approached me with a handful of fishing lures (no hooks) and asked for a bowl of water.

I almost said no. I was in my mess of a basement packing away winter coats (finally) and trying to figure out which water shoes from storage will fit my third son (and going blind doing it because all the size labels are worn off). I wasn’t sure I could navigate through my fortress of plastic totes to the stairs if I wanted to.

And honestly, I didn’t want to deal with the request. I didn’t want to stop what I was doing to go upstairs for a bucket and a towel. I didn’t want to clean up water messes or hear the post-water-play whining about wet shirt sleeves. I wanted the boys to find something quiet and orderly to do while I got stuff done. Something like Latin flash cards. Or piano chords.

Ha. Continue reading

I Used to Know Things (But Then I Became a Parent)

It is too perfect that Her View from Home published my newest post on a day where the boys and I had to go into SEVERAL public places on errands. There were whoopie cushions sounded at the dollar store, ice cream spilled THREE times at DQ, and bully stick butt-poking wars at the feed mill. If you don’t know what a bully stick is, you should probably Google that.

You’re welcome…

Read full post at Her View from Home –>


Thanks for visiting me here!

I’d be happy to connect more on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter  (I might even tweet).

To receive new-post-notifications (just a few times a month), type your email address in the box and click FOLLOW. Voila! (If you’re on a mobile device, you’ll find this option at the bottom. On a desktop, it’s in the sidebar.) I promise never to spam you. I mean, I don’t even know how to spam.

Come again!

Stacy

The Cusp

The bald eagle circles the river basin and returns to her nest at the top of the pine. The hungry eaglets chatter to her. Their squawks and squeals echo across the water.

Daylight is growing longer. My dog trots along beside me, sniffing the deer trails, lunging at the disappearing flash of rabbit tail. He’s just a year old, springy and deft – and today he is more attuned than usual, picking up on the new action and songs of the wild.

Back at home, the first green shoots of tulips are showing themselves along the path between my house and garage. They’ll be dusted in snow another time or two before stubborn winter gives way and spring bursts into full glory — but that’s not stopping us from dragging dusty lawn chairs from storage and setting them up in that patch of sun in the driveway where we’ll page through seed catalogs and dream about kneeling in a jungly July garden. Continue reading

Where I’ve Been

Yesterday, I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and she asked me where I’ve been. I tried replying, but I’m not sure I even knew the answer.

If this post had a subtitle, maybe it would read “That Time I Tried Working Two Part-Time Jobs While Homeschooling My Children, Supporting My Husband Through a Career Change, Becoming Foster-to-Adopt Licensed, and Why Not Throw in a Trip to Disney World Followed Closely by Influenza, a Stomach Virus, and Two Minor Household Floods.” Continue reading

Dashboard Jesus

We were the silliest of girls.

We rode around our neighborhood on ten-speed bikes belting out The Song that Never Ends, stopping to scoop up dead critters from the side of the road and burying them in the “cemetery” at the edge of the woods behind my parents’ house. We’d mark the resting place of squashed squirrels and flattened frogs with cinder blocks scrawled with our own Sharpie blessings. Continue reading

On What’s Real

As I pushed my three-year-old son’s dresser drawer to a close, the framed army photograph of my grandfather tipped over and landed face-down with a thump.

I propped it back up, blew a piece of dust from the glass, and said, “Sorry, Papa.”

Miles looked for a few long seconds at the 1940s photo — the perfect wave of my grandfather’s hair, his tan army-issue shirt, the eyes that were even bluer in real life than in that colorized photograph.

“Is he still real?” Miles asked.

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