It was late July 2009...JT and I were keeping busy with our summer jobs, working on our adoption, and daydreaming about our baby. On July 21st, I beat my husband home from work and I got the call. It was a call from DCS wanting to know if we would be able to care for a 19 month old baby girl and her 4 month old baby brother. The baby girl would be coming tomorrow (22nd) and we would be picking up her brother from the hospital the next day (23rd). Mind racing, heart pounding, I said yes. Then I called my husband...I know that happened in the wrong order. But I also knew how he felt and that he would say yes too...and he did:) So, we would soon be welcoming two babies into our home...and we had nothing. There was nothing in our home for babies. We spent our evening making phone calls, shopping, and driving around to friends' homes to pick up donations:) I had to call the family I was nannying for that summer and tell them what was going on, that I wouldn't be able to finish the summer with her kiddos. Her response still blesses me today...not only did she let me go with grace, but she gave us a pack-n-play, a high chair, and lots of toys. Friends, family, and people we didn't know gave us carseats, clothes, toys, diapers, a crib, a baby monitor, a stroller... just about everything we needed. My sister and a sweet friend took me shopping to get small wardrobes for our houseguests as they would be coming with nothing. The support we received in a pinch was incredible. We had one evening to process this, to prepare ourselves for becoming the temporary parents of two babies, two hurting babies. Oh by the way, there's no way to prepare yourself for that;) One evening to get all we would need to care for them...all the "must haves" anyway. My sister/ best friend rushed up to our house as soon as I called her with the news, it was a crazy evening and sleepless night. Is this real life?
Our sweet baby girl arrived around 11:00 the next day. She was incredibly shy and scared. She was traumatized and taken from her mother and now she found herself in the home of complete strangers, I really can't imagine. She didn't smile, didn't say a word, and within a few short hours fell asleep in my sister's arms...still jealous about that. By the evening, she let us know that she had a few words...her favorite..."uh uh uh a bite". She said that constantly;) She also let us know that she didn't approve of men...in general...none of them. I felt bad for my husband because he just wanted to love on our new bundle of baby girl and she screamed if he touched her or even if she saw him touch me. That was a long hard phase that we finally overcame with time and trust. That night we gave her a bath that was not well received, she hated it. We didn't really know how to put her to bed so I rocked her, she cried, I gave her a newly purchased pacifier which she spit out with a confused look, I rocked her, she cried, my friend walked around with her, she fell asleep in her arms...of course. We really had no idea what we were doing, I would say much more so than typical 1st time parents. We didn't have 9 months to read books and magazines and ask questions. We had one evening that we spent frantically collecting items just so we could function. We reminisce alot about those first few weeks, in hindsight it was a little humurous. Thankfully, we are quick learners:) We had to be. She spent her 1st night in a pack-n-play in our room and she ended up in bed with me in the morning. We cuddled and she finally fell asleep in MY arms. As I held her I remember thinking this is what this feels like...even better than I imagined. She woke up playing and giggling, a completely different baby than the one I met yesterday. She smiled her way through breakfast and we went on a walk, made a trip to the park, and just played the morning away. While I was making her lunch she came into the kitchen and said "mama?". I just smiled at her, I was a bit confused about what to do...she said it again, in the form of a question. I answered back with a "yes". And she smiled from ear to ear. As foster parents we aren't supposed to encourage our children to call us mom and dad, so I felt like I was breaking a rule. But how do you say no to a baby asking if she can call you mama? I don't know how and I didn't. So mama it was. I would later learn that any female who changed her diaper or fed her would also be in what I called "the mommy club". I believe there were 5 of us. Anyway, our time together was wonderful and easy. I was home for a full 24 hours with one 19 month old baby girl and I loved it. I had a beautiful, sweet, smart, cuddly, well mannered baby that slept through the night. This would be the only time in my life when I would experience having one child, it was lovely:) I remember walking home from the park and thinking "this is the last time just she and I will be doing this...easy is about to end. And boy was it...my intuition was right on target. We were in no way prepared for the hard that was headed our way. We packed up the car that afternoon and headed to the hospital where our little guy was waiting...I'll save that experience for next week.
It was so fun to remember and write about our first hours with her. I can't believe that was over two years ago now! Our "houseguest" is still here and so close to becoming our forever family. Our traumatized, terrified, and timid baby girl is a happy, healthy, rotten 3 1/2 year old today. She has spent the majority of her life in our home and if you met her, you'd never know she was anywhere else. When I look back, I can see so many of God's whispers throughout our circumstances. I think He was speaking to me when she first asked if she could call me mama...I obviously didn't know that at the time, but I think He approved of my response. We've been through alot these last two years and we're now waiting with hope and peace...a good place to be;) But I do think we'll breathe differently when we all have the same last name...we long for that feeling of security that permanency will bring, the forever feeling. It's worth can't be measured. It's something easily taken for granted as most families don't spend too much time worrying about their children becoming forever family. But no matter if our children are adopted or biological or even "houseguests", our time with them is a gift. God chose us and trusts us to love His children, blessed. Until next Monday...
Crazy Mama Crook