Baby J has been with us a little over a week now. I have fallen in baby love with him. I don’t remember feeling this much connected when I had Baby (Infant Girl Foster child 2 years ago). Call it pregnancy hormones, I really don’t know. All I know is that this little man has captured my heart. If I have to go to another room and he starts to get fussy, all I have to do is say his name and he will calm down. When I burp him, he cranes his face toward my face and looks in my eyes. He holds my finger while I am feeding him his bottle. We’ve had many conversations over those midnight feedings. They have progressed from me simply saying his name and telling him he’s so sweet to telling him I love him and wonder if there is any way he could stay with us forever? He’s become so precious to me.
I had about a week to trick myself into believing he might be able to stay as there weren’t any birth parent visits yet. I told myself logically it is probably temporary. But, in my heart I was hoping for more. I felt like he was mine in some ways because he is reacting to me as he would a mother. He just knows that when he smells me or hears my voice, his needs are taken care of. Securities any baby should feel.
That’s why last week’s visit with his birth family hit me so hard. I saw birth mom who resembled Baby J very much (of course). She cried tears and I felt so much compassion for her. I hugged her and said, “I know this must be so hard for you”, at which she began to weep. But, inside I couldn’t stop wanting him. I felt so selfish. My job as a foster mom is to support whatever is best for the foster child. But, all I could think is that I love Baby J so much and want him to stay forever.
I can’t discuss the case of course. But, it seems that it is very possible Baby J will be leaving us at some point. It might not be right away, but it seems there will probably be a point of departure for him unless certain details don’t align.
I expressed to Jeff how guilty I feel wanting him so badly. I am conflicted with compassion for the family and my own emotions of love for this precious little guy.
Jeff is such a winner of a husband, let me tell you. He is very understanding and compassionate with me. He assured me that I am feeling exactly what anyone else would be feeling if they took care of a baby straight from the hospital 24 hours a day. There is no way not to get attached. He told me that is why so many don’t foster children. It is very difficult to give a child back. As he spoke, I knew it was truth. I didn’t need to feel guilty as much as I needed to accept that this is part of the “title” foster parenting.
Our conversation proceeded into the topic of what foster parenting really is. It is a much bigger picture than the child. We always say that addiction can’t be truly broken without God. Here is an opportunity to be an extension of Christ’s love to this family. Then, Jeff said something that made me cry. He reminded me of something we learned in foster parenting training. Babies that aren’t held, nurtured and fed from the beginning almost always face huge struggles, whether it be bipolar disorder or ADHD, etc. When a baby’s needs aren’t met, it puts a huge toll on their future. Jeff told me that me just holding him, feeding him, answering him when he cries might forever change his life for the better. He has a chance to start life out on good ground. That probably would not have been the case had he not entered foster care.
Foster parenting is such a beautiful sacrifice. All of your love is given freely to a precious child. Often the child who has been a recipient of your love is moved on to a situation the courts deem in the best interest of the child. Because we are not related to any of our foster children, we are not often considered in the best interest of the child. But, you have the chance, for whatever window of time, to show Christ’s love extravagantly.
I have often told Baby J that for as long as he lives here, he is going to get all of my love. That’s the most I can promise him. All of the love I give my own children is his also. Nothing held back. Nothing guarded. He doesn’t deserve to participate in guarded love. He needs it all. When or if he leaves, I will cry my tears, but my trust and my hope are in God. I will not crumble. My feet are on the solid ground of God’s love to me. I know God sees all things and knows all things. Somehow, God knew He could trust Jeff and I to love on this precious little guy, even if he has to leave. Maybe that’s part of our having experienced miscarriages multiple times. We have often known what it is to love and to have it taken away, but still find our strength, peace and hope in God and God alone.
Once again, writing on this blog has produced many tears. 🙂