Infertility to Adoption – Post 7 “Bring on the babies”
This season of life can be summed up into one phrase. BRING ON THE BABIES!
I can remember the day like it was yesterday. THE day we got our first foster call.
I took the day off from work. It was a Friday, and I was cleaning like a mad woman that day. Upstairs, downstairs, the stairs themselves.
We were planning on having a dinner that weekend to celebrate 1 year in our house. Two families from our church were coming over and we were gonna grill out. I remember telling my girlfriend that I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have our first child yet. A month had passed since we were licensed and every time the phone rang, I would get excited. But still no foster placement call.
Looking back I realize I was nesting.
Back to THE day. I was super productive that day, and I’m an over achiever so of course, I had even meal planned for the next 5 days or so. Then I showered, went to the grocery store and I was about finished with my grocery shopping when I got THE call from our local Department of Social Services.
I was trying to be super calm even though I was excited, nervous, unsure of what the situation would be. And I was in the middle of the freakin’ grocery store!!! I had to hold it together. The social worker told me that they had a 3 month old little girl. I asked if I should grab anything from the grocery store since I was already there. She said she’d call me back in a few minutes to tell me what the baby needed.
I can’t believe this is actually happening.
I quickly called my husband who was a home washing his car. He had told me he had to charge his phone and to call the house if I needed him. So I gave him a quick call and no answer. Seriously!?! So I left him the calmest message saying “I’m finishing up the grocery shopping then I’m going to DSS to pick up a baby.” Well he gets the message and tries to call me back 5 times, but I was back on the line with the social worker by then. She told me what size diapers and the kind of formula she was using. I grabbed that too and added it to my overflowing cart, and told her I would be there ASAP!
My husband is freaking out and I am the calm one.
I called my husband back and he started freaking out! As the calm one, I told him to come to the store and pay for the groceries, take it all home and put the groceries away. Then I headed on to social services and I was met at the door by the security officer. Everything was locked up since it was late. Around 6:30 p.m. I think. I took the elevator up to the second floor and I remember being so excited and a little shocked that this was actually happening.
I went into the office where she was and they handed her to me immediately. She was so still and quiet. Didn’t really show much emotion or anything. She just seemed calm. They told me she would probably eat a lot. She was underweight and had been lacking proper nutrition. She was so little and I assumed even scared to be around all new people. The social worker and I tried to figure out how to pronounce her name. We gave up and shortened it to Essie.
Look at this precious baby girl Essie I get to take care of.
After a social worker helped secure a car seat in my car, Essie and I headed home. I called Brent and he met me in the driveway. I’m surprised he didn’t run to the top of the road and meet me there, he was so excited. He had already texted our family and close friends. Our people soon started to arrive with diapers, sleepers, blankets, baby swings and all kinds of stuff to help us take care of this new baby girl.
A few days later we took her to the same doctor she had seen after birth. The doctor was so happy to see her smiling and so responsive. Take a look at what a schedule, love and lots of bottles can do for a baby. And if you are wondering, we still got together with our friends and grilled out. We had so much to celebrate! A lovely home, and now a baby girl in it!
She was such a calm and easy baby, which is funny because now she is the loudest and liveliest child in our home! She brings lots of smiles and laughter to all of us.
She was an only child for exactly one week! Yes, just one week before we receive another call.
Surprisingly, I received a call the following Friday asking if we would be willing to take another infant. I was shocked. I thought the lady was just calling to see how we were doing and then she asks if we would like to foster another baby girl. Can you imagine? I told her I had to discuss it with my husband, and to call me back in 15 minutes. So I called my husband, Brent, right away and we each said we would think and pray and talk again in 10 min to decide together. I laid my phone down and was beginning to cry.
I was crying out to God to tell me what to do. Then I heard my Dad say, “Monica what’s wrong, are you ok?” I had accidentally called my Dad and he heard me in my overwhelmed state. I told him what was going on and he said what ever Brent and I decided together would be the right choice.
So I called Brent back and we decided it made sense to say yes. I had taken leave from my full time job and business, down to just working Saturdays. We had the bedrooms, we had been given an extra crib and Essie would never be able to wear out all the clothes we had for her. So we said yes to baby #2. We will call her Mary. So we were now a family of 4 in just 8 short days. This was almost an alternate reality. I couldn’t believe that social services had called us for two babies this close together!
It’s about to get crazy up in here.
The first night with both babies was so hard. We were scared to death to put Mary to sleep on her tummy, but realized by night number 3 if any of us were gonna get sleep, that’s how she needed to be. The second night I laid crying in the bed asking Brent if we made a mistake taking two babies. I was getting real good and sleep deprived at that time and I was a brand new mom to two infants.
He assured me we would make it through. Thankfully a seasoned mom and fellow foster parent suggested a sound machine for both nursery rooms and lavender essential oil for the babies rooms to calm them, especially Mary.
The next day my wise husband called in the cavalry. I had 4-5 friends from church show up and help me go through all the clothes, organize them, decide what was not necessary, return the excess to multiple stores and get us store credits to use when we needed it! Another friend took all the new clothes home, cut off the tags, washed them and hung them up and delivered them back a day later. I had another friend bring me all her baby carriers and give me lessons on how to use them. Then a couple of the ladies made the choice to come help me during the day for several hours every week day for weeks. Talk about community! We are blessed.
We are so thankful for the community of people we are blessed with.
I was loving being a mom. It was challenging, especially around dinner time. Both girls would get hungry at the same time and fussy. We had to keep a log of how much they ate, when they pooped, if they had medicine and how long they slept. It was a lot. I began to dread the bewitching hour of 4:30-5:30 if my husband wasn’t home yet. But we made it through. I had a friend who is the father of 4 girls tell me, it’s ok to put the girls in their beds and step out to my porch for 5 minutes if I felt overwhelmed. And that was great advice. It’s amazing what some quiet and fresh air for a few minutes can do for you!
We began settling into our new normal. You know, being a prisoner of your own home, or so it seemed. I guess it’s what house arrest feels like. I’ve never watched so much television as I did that first year of parenting! We thankfully got into a good routine. Our girls would go to bed around 7:00 pm and get up 1-2 times a night. It still amazes me how much we can do on so little sleep in those first few months.
People can be so nosy.
Taking the girls out in public was always interesting. People would ask if they were twins which would crack me up. Mary was blonde with blue eyes and Essie darker complected with brown eyes and dark hair. Not to mention they were a few months a part in age. Sometimes I would answer honestly and say “No, they are both babies we are fostering” and other times I would say yes because I wasn’t in the mood to hear about how much of a saint someone thought I was.
People always ask too many questions too. I began to lie and say yes more and more. It was just too exhausting to explain things 10 times in the grocery store every trip.
We were settling in and becoming very attached to these two precious girls. But, how long would we be a family?
I’ll pick up next time with what it was like to go to family court and the reality of loss for foster families.Thanks for reading.
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