For most of the babies I have known, when they were born, they were greeted by many open arms. They arrived safe and sound from a womb that carried them and kept them safe. When they arrived home they were welcomed with visitors and admirers. Most times both mom and dad left the hospital with their little bundle of joy and welcomed it home. That was not the case for our new bundle.
While baby girl was being discharged from the hospital into the care of her DFCS worker, I was at a doctors office having her brother examined for his intake visit. I only had so many hours to get this done and the clock was ticking. The communication with DFCS can be spotty sometimes because of the overburdened schedules. I had waited most of the day to here from them concerning our new arrival. While at the doctors office we agreed to meet at our house when the visit was over. I had been told that she had discharged earlier in the day but was hanging out at the DFCS office until she could be transported to us.
I drove straight home with a sweet and content boy in the back seat of my car and when I saw there was a car in our driveway my heart started pounding. There she was. Waiting for me. I parked in our driveway next to the caseworker and my oldest son started unloading brother. I went immediately to the nice lady holding an infant carrier and a white plastic hospital bag that was full of formula, pacifiers, and nipples. I couldn't wait to get into the house before looking at her. As the caseworker turned the carrier towards me I drew in a deep breath. There in that carrier sat the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen and probably the tiniest one I'd seen in years.
I carried her into the house and as I unbuckled her to pick her up the caseworker told me about the situation, she tried to tell me her birth name and details of her birth. She handed me the plastic bag and discharge papers, asked if I needed the carrier (which I didn't) and went on her way. Everything in the world that belonged to her was either in that bag or she was wearing it. Cooper, my oldest, was behind me holding her big brother and I introduced them. I'm not sure if they had met before he arrived but I cherished that moment. He simply wanted to go about his business while I went to the couch sat down, held her up and onto my chest and proceeded to cry tears of joy and tears of thanksgiving. You see in the instant I saw her my heart exploded but I couldn't let my emotions be known. I adored her. God had been faithful and He knew for months she was on her way, even though all we heard was silence.
I quickly snapped a few pictures of our tiny bundle and sent them to my husband to tell him to hurry home. There was no welcoming committee, no balloons or bows, no family or photographs, just she and I. She was wearing a preemie sleeper and I had nothing that small. I immediately put out a request for preemie diapers and sleepers, gowns, etc.
We had prayed for this baby. When we started the journey to adopt we started praying for our future children then. We prayed for the mother and her heart. We prayed for their safety and that the mother would make smart choices concerning the baby's health. We knew that in order to receive a baby through private adoption a mother would be making many choices concerning the welfare of her baby. When we decided to go through the foster system we know that would not be the case. We knew the baby would need to go through something tragic in order to land in our arms and so when we started the foster to adopt journey we prayed fervently that the mother would to the best she could and whatever the circumstances would be that would land the baby in our arms, not be traumatic to that child. God answered all of our prayers. He answered every single one and now our prayers are for the birth parents. Because even though I would love to see a healed world were all mothers and children were in each others arms, that just isn't the case. We don't live in such a world. Our world is broken by sin. Families are broken by sin.
Even though in my heart I always know that her birth family can mend, can find Christ, can do all the things they need to do to get their babies back, I love these little ones like my own. Fostering to adopt is probably the scariest way to grow your family in that you could happen upon a great deal of grief if the birth family mends. However, in my experience, I have known many babies who were adopted into their forever families through the foster system. The goal is always permanency for children where ever is best for them. I pray daily for the hearts of the birth parents. I pray that if we do adopt their babies that they have peace knowing they are well cared for and safe. I pray that they make better decisions concerning their own health and the possibility of future babies. I pray that our babies hearts know they are loved. I pray for our own hearts that we truly love them like our own every second of every day. I pray and pray and pray for so many details, all the while knowing that these babies belong to Him. They aren't mine and they aren't the birth parents. They are HIS! They are not possessions for us. We are entrusted with them.
And so, a new chapter in our foster family lives was opening up. It had bee 8 years since an infant lived here. Just like with any newborn baby, they are born their own person and have their own needs and wants. We had to get to know both our babies. We went from a perfectly relaxed routine to sleepless nights, 10 pm, 12 pm, and 2 am feedings that were each cherished.
Since we didn't actually know her name (mother named her something I couldn't pronounce and had never heard of) I simply asked her what she wanted to be called during one of our 2 a.m. awake times. She was so pretty in her navy gown that night. What we call her is a variation of what she was named. It's a stretch but it's easy to remember and I believe it fits her. Mostly we call her Baby Girl or Sissy.
Our lives are forever changed. She is 5 months old today. In 2 days we will have had her for 5 months. She knows us as her family and is very attached. We are very attached. We have extra place in the car, around the table, and in our hearts. We are in love.
I will never regret the decision to foster-to-adopt. Until the "adopt" part is final we are still just fostering. What God holds for us next is bigger than even this thing we are doing and we believe we have a much to prepare for. It's amazing to me how He helps you see over the horizon a little at a time, just when you think you've seen His Will and glory He has more for you. We try to be obedient even when it's scary.
With the arrival of these babies we have been brought back from the deep, the raging storm. When they landed in our arms there was a calm and peace among all of us. We are a family, perfectly loved and put together by our Lord Father.
He is calling us away from the calm and into the deep again where the storm is again raging and scary BUT we know that in Him and with great faith, He will bring us through to something amazing. I can't wait to tell you about the new vision He has given us.
She was beautiful designed, created, and loved. She is beauty among us.
Blogging went straight to the bottom of the priority pole on November 19, 2015. Not because it wasn't important to me, but because a life changing event took place and I'm proud to finally sit down and start sharing what our family has been going through for the last 4 1/2 months....
I won't go into detail about the babies case or their life at all prior to crossing the threshold of our home. Out of respect for these babies who didn't choose this life I will wait and let them tell their own story one day if they so wish. What I would love to share is how it has shaped our family, our home, our friendships, and our faith.
I would love to walk you through our journey as it continues to unfold. My goal in blogging about this is simply to encourage other families to open their hearts and homes to fostering or fostering to adopt. It's not easy, it's not pretty, and it's not smooth sailing. If it's in Gods Will it isn't even guaranteed to be sunshine and rainbows but you know it is safe.
Let me back up and start from the beginning...
Prior to receiving the call for the two babies we now have we received two calls previously. Both calls were for sibling sets of 3 and we were approved for only 2 children. It absolutely broke my heart to say "no" However, it was necessary. Having 3 kids of our own we nearly have a full house as it is. The thought of 3 more was not frightening, it was a matter of overcoming several important obstacles. It broke my heart to say no. I wanted to make it work. I wanted to say yes but we couldn't. I started a private prayer group after the second call because I felt these 6 children needed prayers. See, we had been approved to be foster parents in July and had not received a call until November. I knew God was moving and something was about to change.
On a Tuesday evening my husband and 2 sons sat in bleachers and cheered on my middle sons football team. We were sad they didn't win their last game to go on to the championship but we were relieved it was over. Wednesday I washed and put away all the football uniforms and practice equipment and breathed for a minute. It had been a crazy football season and I felt I was traveling alone from game to game and practice to practice many nights and weekends. It was hard but fun while it lasted.
Thursday morning dawned and the boys headed off to school as they were approaching Thanksgiving break. I was home alone cleaning house when my phone rang. I couldn't get to it in time. It was in my office and I was is down the hall. There was a message. I didn't bother to listen, I called right back. Our agency was calling. It took several tries but they finally answered as they had been leaving us a detailed message. After talking to my husband previously about what to say if it came up I knew this time our answer was "YES!" We were always only expecting 1 child but we were told there would be 2, a newborn and her older brother.
I called my husband and let him know a little guy would be arriving that evening and his sister would soon follow. I casually made the comment on Facebook that I was glad I had a crockpot going because there would be no cooking on my part, we were about to be Larsen Party of 7.
I made a few phone calls to my closest friends and received a few as well. We were only prepared for 1 child...we needed a bed, high chair, clothing, EVERYTHING! Like always, God comes through and people you haven't seen in years show up with gifts in arms. I was nervous, the kids cleaned, I cleaned, we all cleaned and waited. It wasn't long before our door bell rang and a caseworker was standing at our door, holding something small, precious, and scared.
This little guy immediately took to my boys and once the caseworker left after giving me a few details about the case, we knew what to do first...eat! I stood in the kitchen with our new arrival sitting in his chair. I watched him. He watched me. I took pictures. He was wide eyed. He shook his head "no" at everyone but he ate.
Next was a bath...that was a huge challenge.
The dynamic of our house was one of excitement. We had a visitor or two bring by gifts for him as he had come with nothing he could use. Clothing,, sippy cup, snacks, and soft things arrived for him. We sat in awe and watched him. We tried to introduce him to new toys and we really wanted to hug and hold him but he really just wanted to explore.
My husband came home from work to meet our little fellow. That was a sweet moment.
We eventually got him to sleep and we laid in bed that night in silence for awhile but when the silence broke we had so many questions and concerns. If we weren't ready, too bad. It was time. The next day would be a whirlwind...
I can't wait to share with you the arrival of Sister.
In the mean time I want to leave you with this... God's plan is real and bigger than we can imagine. When you need proof that you are doing what you were called to do, he takes the time to show you that you are. If you're not, don't fight it when you realize you're on the wrong path. As for guidance because something extraordinary is waiting.
Come on in...