Baby C is over six weeks old now! I expected the interrupted sleep, endless diaper changes, and piles of laundry that come along with a newborn. I was excited that Parker could share in the midnight feedings since I wouldn’t be nursing. And we were ready to enjoy sharing the newborn experience with our three older children.
However, I didn’t quite understand the extent of all the meetings and appointments! On top of the frequent pediatrician appointments, we sat in the WIC office multiple times (all foster children under 5 are on WIC), visited with various case managers, went to court, participated in the FTM (Family Team Meeting—to establish the case plan for the biological family), attended more foster training sessions (for continuing education hours), scheduled developmental assessments, and helped coordinate weekly visitation with Baby C’s mom.
If it weren’t for the help from Uniting Hope for Children and a number of families, I have no idea how we could have pulled off the last six weeks! They have been baby-sitting, coordinating meals, helping with housework, schoolwork, and groceries, picking up children, buying diapers and baby gear, etc. Some families are getting trained to do baby-sitting for foster children and one family has finished the full home study in order to be a respite family for us. They kept Baby C for a week while we were out of town.
I have been told that 50% of foster families stop fostering within the first year. Now I see why—and I haven’t even mentioned the deeper issues.
We love Baby C. My older children cried when we left him with our respite family. Before leaving for school, my 3YO kisses Baby C on the head and says, “Don’t worry, your bruvver will be home soon.” We would be delighted to enjoy him for many years in our home. We love Baby C—and we love his mom. And we know it is best that he goes home to a safe and stable environment with his mom. We are praying for this and encouraging his mom in her efforts.
This tension is no surprise. So many people hear our story and say, “I could never do that! I would want to keep him.” Well, we do want to keep him! But, more than that, we want to love him and love his mom. Others express concern that Baby C will be sent home to an unsafe situation or will be pulled back into the foster system. I am too! But I must trust God’s sovereignty together with His goodness. I must choose to trust, even when our family grieves. Because we will. When Baby C goes home, we will grieve—while we rejoice in the reunification. If he must be adopted, we will grieve the absence of a safe home—while we rejoice in his presence with us.
Tomorrow, we go to court. So, this could be our last night with Baby C—or he could be with us for months to come. Lord, give us rest—and grace to believe!