Friday, May 15, 2015

Goodbye, my sweet baby girl

There is a time for everything. "A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance." (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Today we weep.

We stayed home all morning to maximize our time with Baby M. The county social worker would pick her up before 2:00. I was running around trying to remember last-minute things to pack.

The boys played outside in the rain while Baby M watched for a bit. I sat down on the floor with her, stared into her huge eyes, and gave her lots of hugs and kisses. It's been a wonderful three and a half months with you, precious girl.

She had seemed extra clingy the past few days and I wondered if she had a feeling that things were about to change. 

My mother-in-law stopped by to give Baby M kisses and hugs. Jeremy also came home for a moment and held her one last time.

I put Baby M down for a nap and quickly printed out a sleep and meal schedule to pass onto her aunt. The social worker came at 1:45 and took the huge drawstring bag that had originally came from Orangewood. Now, it was completely full. The diaper bag and the car seat also went out to her car.

My boys took Baby M out of her crib and played with her for just a few last moments as I changed her diaper.

We walked out to the car together but my tears didn't come until after I had buckled her in, watching my 3 boys say their goodbyes and give her many kisses. Josiah had already started sobbing. 

As we reentered the house, Jadon went straight to his room while Josiah and I sobbed on the couch. I heard wailing from a bedroom and called for Jadon. He didn't come. He was in this:

The boys had been building forts on their bunk bed the past few days.  I would have laughed if I wasn't crying already and if it wasn't the perfect example of how he felt. Crawling into a tight space like a cocoon to curl up and grieve. He came out of his hammock to me and we joined Josiah back on the couch. I told them they are the perfect big brothers for all our foster babies because they know how to care for and love them.  Questions about Baby X and when would we see him again...would we ever see Baby M again? Probably not because we hadn't known her family for that long.  More tears.  Baby X's family was willing to keep in touch. 

Josiah: Why don't we ever get someone our age? 
Me: Well, because we wouldn't be able to homeschool him and it's easier for me to take care of a baby. 
Josiah: I wish we could move into our new house quicker.
Me: We'll be moving in just a couple of weeks. Why?
Josiah: So we can get another baby again.

Oh, my dear sons I love your tender hearts. We hurt because we love. 

Judah had been finishing up his lunch this whole time and didn't know what to think of the rest of us huddled on the couch for 30 minutes talking and weeping. I called him over to pray.

Prayed for God to take care of Baby M, that she would be loved, that she would transition easily to her aunt, that she wouldn't grieve for too long, that she would one day know her Creator and give her life to Jesus.

Yes, with love comes grief. It is inevitable. If we didn't love, grief wouldn't come. She is the Lord's and we entrust her to Him. But right now, our hearts break as we learn to hold loosely all over again. Goodbye, sweet baby girl.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A mother's touch

We traveled about half an hour west to a visit with Baby M's birth parents yesterday at a library.  Our prearranged meeting time was 11:00, but due to bus delays and such, they still had not arrived by 11:30.

So after calling back and forth, I decided to meet them where they were and have the visit at a park near that bus stop instead. Both mom (I will call her Karen) and I looked forward to having Baby M's hair properly done. After 3 months, I still haven't gained much expertise in this area. I was ecstatic about a private tutorial! 

My poor baby had such dry hair compared to what it's supposed to be! I watched as Karen skillfully worked the Olive Oil "grease" (that's what she called it) through her daughter's hair. It looks like a translucent green gel. I wanted to capture more of the step-by-step process on camera, but Baby M was so distraught by the hair grooming and being with her parents, who are now strangers to her, that I had to end up holding her in order for her hair to be done. My heart went out to her father, who wanted to continue to hold her, but she kept wailing.

Little ponytails were eventually gathered and tiny braids woven. I hadn't dared to use a comb on Baby M's hair for fear of it tearing out her hair. But Karen used both combs and brushes to get those stubborn knots out. Mental notes were taken...

Just beautiful! Karen didn't finish the little loop on the top because she wanted to spend the last few minutes of her visit with Baby M in her arms. So it was my job to split it into two little braids when we got home. I could handle that! 

The last moments were spent holding their precious baby girl and taking photos with her.  They love her so much. I pray that God will bring Baby M and her parents to Himself one day through their faith in Christ. 

Thankfully, over the past 7 years, the Lord has given us birth parents who have been appreciative rather than angry. It makes things so much easier when they realize that we are here to help them, not take their children away. 

God can redeem their mistakes. He can redeem our mistakes. What a masterful plan it is when we know that we are all broken people in need of a Redeemer's grace and mercy. Two families from two very different worlds working together to bring a child home. Crazy, isn't it? 

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting." Psalm 118:1