On July 23rd, 2009, we loaded our sweet baby girl in the car and drove to the hospital to pick up her little brother. He's 4 months old and he's in the hospital because the humurus in his left arm has been snapped and during a full body x-ray they found an old healing break in his left tibia. We knew that becoming instaparents of two hurting children would be hard...we didn't know how hard. I remember seeing his teeny broken body for the first time. He was wearing a diaper and a cast, he weighed 11 lbs. I didn't know how to hold him, he made me nervous. The nurses weren't really much help, they filled us in on how much they spoiled him but they told us very little about how to care for him. He cried when we put him in his carseat, he cried the whole ride home. When we got home we fed him...that's what you do when babies cry, right? He kept crying, we kept feeding, he was throwing up everywhere. While we were trying to cope with this, there was a knock at the door. It was a guy selling security systems. Has someone been casing our house? Our life? Remember when I said that I had a huge fear that a parent of one of our children was going to find me and kill me? Well here was this guy, showing up the very day we bring the baby home, coming to ease my fears. We invited him in, we signed a 3 year contract, and the security system was installed that evening. Wow...yeah I know. So...in all this chaos, the baby definitely threw up all over us, the couch, the carpet, and the sales guy. I'm ashamed to say this but I believe he was the one that suggested we might be overfeeding him. We googled it and fixed one of our many new parent oopsies:) He was a baby who cried almost constantly. Just like his sister, he was traumatized, taken from his mother, and found himself in the home of complete strangers...combine that with broken bones, severe acid reflux, and an opposition to sleep and you have a new parent's nightmare. We had no idea what to do with a healthy baby, we were simply not qualified to care for a baby diagnosed failure to thrive. But a wise friend had just told us a few months earlier that "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called". That was a powerful statement and we believed it.
My heart was broken for this baby. He was at an age where he wanted to start scooting and rolling over. But he couldn't move because of the huge cast on his arm which was wrapped against his body. He reeked of sour milk because he spit up constantly (even when he wasn't overfed;), as in 70% of every bottle, and it soaked into his cast wrap. The material used to cast and wrap him had irritated and cut the skin on his chest, armpit, and back. He had a horrible bloody rash under his chin from the continuous flow of acid in his spit up. He was near impossible to bathe. He slept between 3 and 4 hours a night and napping was not on his favorite things list. He cried SO much. I was advised to get a baby bjourn and I was able to borrow one from a friend. I owe my sanity to that beautiful contraption. I would have him strapped to my body for months to come and that was perfectly fine with me. It was a huge comfort to him and he liked to fall asleep in it...bonus:) I dealt with alot of guilt because I didn't have time to love on his sister the way I wanted to. He took almost every bit of my time, attention, and energy. It was better when JT got home from work, but I spent alot of time crying during the day. I was a new parent of two, I slept between 3 and 4 hours a night right along with our new roommate, eating didn't cross my mind all day, my heart was broken by the state of the baby, I was just plain overwhelmed by it all...as was my husband. I'm a naturally scrawny person, but I got down to 94 lbs in that first week or two. I ran on adrenaline and Jesus. This wasn't quite how I pictured entering into motherhood, but the pictures God paints for me are much more beautiful than the ones I scribble:) God was molding my character and growing my strength. He was forcing us to live out our "it's not about us" motto:)
In our first week as this unconventional family of four, I called the ortheopedic medical facility who took care of Bubby and cried to the lady on the phone about what I was experiencing with his sour smelling, skin irritating cast. She told me to come in and a man named Gilbert would help us out. I'm pretty sure Gilbert was an angel...he took our tiny baby and cut all the material off his body. The sight of his arm literally made me nautious. He talked to the baby through the entire process and then rewrapped his arm with a gentleness I can't describe. He took a big soft wrap and secured his arm against his body. The wrap velcroed together at the desired level of tightness and when it got dirty, we could take it off and wash it, he gave us two of them. I cried...sobbed actually, almost the entire time Gilbert worked on him. There were some interns watching him work and they kept asking me if I was okay. I think JT tried to blame it on lack of sleep, and that may have been partly it. But the other part was the ache in my heart for what this baby has been through combined with immense gratitude for the love and compassion this stranger was showing our precious baby. Bubby didn't cry at all...I know Gilbert was an angel;)
Despite the chaos and craziness that now consumed our lives, despite all of the difficulties, I was more in love with life than I had ever been. Just before we started training to become foster parents, I had read a book titled 'Seizing your Divine Moment' by Erwin Raphael McManus. In his book he explains that Christians generally have the good and evil part of life down...as in we know the difference and do our best to live a good life. What Christians really struggle with is the doing something or doing nothing part. Living a good but passive and comfortable life is our specialty. He poses the question "What can I do today to make a difference in the world?" That struck a chord with us and is definitely something God used to inspire us to become foster parents. So for the first time in my life, I really felt like I was doing something, putting my heart out there, giving of myself, and loving in a way I'd never loved before. It felt amazing and at this point I had no idea what God had in store for us. His ways are perfect.
Our teeny broken bundle of baby boy is now a happy, healthy, hyper, ROTTEN 2 1/2 year old who just started potty training and is doing great! His little body is perfect and he's developmentally exactly where he should be! We are full of hope and peace that he will soon be forever ours...God is SO good! Until next Monday...
Crazy Mama Crook