December 28, 2014 was a very exhilarating, nerve wracking day. The phone rang and the voice on the other end said, “This is [so and so] from DFS calling to let you know that you have been approved and should now be expecting phone calls for baby boys – 12 months old and younger.”
During your home study you put in your specifications for what child will fit for your family. My husband, Scott, and I felt it was important to try and keep the birth order of our children which helped narrow our specifications to foster an infant. Since you can make so many specifications, we decided to be as picky as we could to start and slowly open up to a broader array of children. To our amazement, We began receiving phone calls within the next couple of days. I had 8 phone calls for different baby boys from December 30-January 11! Every phone call I received… I so badly wanted to take home each child, however my husband and I were trying to find a child that would possibly be eligible for adoption. There isn’t a guarantee to adopt a child but through some of the questions that you ask, you can gauge the possibilities of ‘long-term placement’ versus a ‘short-term placement.’ The overwhelming reality is the HUGE need for all of these children to find good homes. In less than two weeks, there were 8 baby boys that we were notified of. It makes one wonder how many children went through DFS just in those two weeks!!
*I’d like to insert my plea for anyone that can, to try and foster these angels. We met so many great people in our classes that were doing short-term placements and I love them dearly for their strength and charity.*
January 12, 2015 was my daughter, Shelbee’s, third birthday. I was so sad my little baby was going to be three; she was my baby, or so I thought. I was frantically getting ready to celebrate her birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. I was running up the stairs when my phone rang. The voice on the other end said, “Hello this is DFS calling in regards to a 9 day old baby boy.” I said, “yes, can you tell me more about him?” She replied, “His name is Baby Boy (meaning he hasn’t been given a name) his mother has abandoned him at the hospital and he is currently in the NICU and ready to be released.” Now with prior phone calls I would ask the social worker if I could call them back as I would need to speak with my husband. This phone call was different I felt so much peace and confidence. I replied, “I will be at the hospital right after my daughter’s party, so around 1:00. Does that work?”
My whole body shook with every emotion as I drove to the hospital. THE MOST surreal experience I have ever had. Yes, I have delivered three babies, but this was totally different. With those three I had been pregnant for nine months and was SO ready to have that baby out. But just that morning I was sad that I wouldn’t have a “baby” anymore because mine was turning 3; and now I was picking up a baby. As I walked up to his bed in the NICU I saw his priceless little face and fell in love.
The new baby smell, his warmth, his precious face all made for the most spiritual, peaceful feeling; just as birthing a child. There was no difference of a feeling from delivering a baby or adopting/fostering a newborn. It is Heavenly Father’s way of opening our hearts completely. It is how He wants it and how it should be. I never could have imagined that I would feel the exact same way with a child I birthed verse a child I had not. I believe this baby was always supposed to come to my family and just needed to come a different route.
Foster parents are not extraordinarily-strong people… we also fear that ‘our’ children will be removed from our homes. We have just decided that we will love them and treat them the best we can for as long as we can. These innocent little angels cannot control the circumstances that they are forced into prior to being placed in foster care. It is our job to love them and let them know that NO MATTER what happens in their lives that they are each a child of God and loved by Him. And that they are provided many people here are Earth that love them too.
Scott and I spent the next few hours holding and loving on this baby. The doctors had to do some discharge paperwork so we did not end up getting to bring him home until around 11:30 pm. I couldn’t wait for my kids to wake up the next morning to meet our newest, most tender addition. It was like Christmas Eve times a million! However as ALL of these wonderful exciting emotions were streaming I was also feeling fear and anxiety that this angel could possibly be taken from me.
The next morning our girls hugged, squeezed, kissed, and mauled him a little too much and he took it like a CHAMP. Baby Boy didn’t seem like the most normal name to call someone… so we gave him a nickname (its technically frowned upon to name/re-name your foster child) and as a family settled on Heath. We later found out that his birth mother did give him a name, but for some reason… the ‘nickname’ just seemed more fitting. We had the feeling that our family was complete and that he was ours but Scott couldn’t bring himself to kiss him with the fear to become too attached. Scott’s biggest fear throughout the classes, the home study, our individual conversations, and now with Heath was too fall so much in love with him and then be broken hearted when he leaves.
Families are an emotional rollercoaster and come in all shapes and sizes. It is not God’s plan to have families separated but through His grace, he has found a path for families to be completed. I can honestly say that I wish the foster system went extinct and that all parents were able to make certain choices to keep their children with them, but the adversary is free to do what he does. Its a catch 22, but I am grateful that we were called to pick up Heath from the hospital and bring him to his new family.
Please stay tuned as we continue our journey because IT IS A FREAKING JOURNEY after the first day!!!!!!
You can read HERE for Part 4.
- In Nevada, you do get a monthly reimbursement that is a whopping $0.95 per hour. Not sure how anyone can do it for the money!! To me, that’s the worst babysitting job of all time!!!
- According to the ‘Home Study Checklist’… I was an unfit and unsafe mother to my other three children. I didn’t have a fire exit route posted next to my fire extinguishers in my home before…but I do now. Oh ya, we also have a log of all of the fire drills that we ‘performed.’
- Lifeguard Rings and a large hook next to our pool… check!
May is Foster Care Awareness Month! Please share your personal stories below and with your permission, we’d love to feature your story too!