In honor of mother’s day, I figured I’d share with you the unusual story of exactly how we came to be mothers. I mean, how many people could say they got their kids from a message board? Added bonus, my wife will never tease me for my “social networking” again.
Settle in, this is a long one…
It all began with a thread I had started venting about our rediculous licensing process and loooong wait for a match. A fellow message board-er responded with commiseration and mentioned that a friend of hers was a foster mom in my state and was also having a hard time with her foster experience and placements.
Her response tugged at my heart. I felt terrible that there was a foster mom out there struggling so much and since we were (still!) childless, I figured I might be able to offer some support. So I asked her to pass along my email to the foster mom (lets call her Jen).
So Jen emailed me and explained that she was feeling over her head, specifically with Sprout. As you all know, he’s got some behavioral issues and they were negatively affecting Jen’s bio daughter. Not to mention, she had her hands full with a brand new baby (Rosebud). She had asked the state to re-home Sprout but they were dragging their feet and not offering her any support in the mean time. I offered whatever support I could – respite, babysitting, or behavior mod with Sprout. The email I got back was simple and direct…
“Do you think you might want him?”
It took my breath away. My head began to spin. Could this be it? Are we ready for it? Could we handle him? Would A say yes?? We need a bed! And a big-boy room, not a nursery! Should we hold out for a younger child? What should I say? What about daycare? This is crazy! Are we ready??
I texted A about the situation and she was open to finding out more info. Then things moved at lightning speed and that evening (it was a Tuesday) we got the “official” call from the state and accepted the match.
We spent that evening and the next taking apart the nursery that we had spent months working on and turned it into a room suitable for a 3-year-old. We tucked away the tiny baby clothes, mourned the loss of that possibility, and put out trucks and coloring books and race cars. Our minds were still racing – we were filled with such an odd combination of excitement and loss. We always expected (hoped) that our first placement would be a baby, but it was clear that we were meant to meet this boy, so we tried to keep our hearts open to a new reality.
Jen was fantastic in getting us ready for Sprout. She told us all about his routines, his favorite foods and TV shows, his triggers – everything she could! It’s so unusual to have this kind of info as a foster parent, it was awesome and we felt as prepared as we possibly could.
Then Thursday at 3:30pm I got another call from the state. The powers that be have decided that Sprout and Rosebud must remain together. Both children will be dropped off tomorrow afternoon. Holy crap. I was excited, nervous, scared, overwhelmed, but most of all, I was devastated for Jen. It was never part of the plan for her to give up Rosebud, but she had to make that heartbreaking sacrifice for the wellbeing of her daughter.
So that evening we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning taking back out the tiny baby clothes, rebuilding the crib and the pack n play and the swing, buying formula and diapers, and so much more. Our heads were spinning twice as much as the nights before. Looking back, I’m pretty sure we were in a state of shock working on pure adrenaline.
Less than 24 hours from that second call, 3 year old Sprout and 6 week old Rosebud arrived at our house. I was home alone because A had previously committed to bringing her grandmother to an outpatient surgery. I was nervous but had a strange sense of calm – I just had a feeling that things were working out as they were meant to. I’ll never forget laying my eyes on my children for the first time. I had no idea what to expect (I’d never seen a picture…I didnt even know what their skin color would be).
It was (guarded) love at first sight. I know how crazy that sounds, but its true. As Sprout was climbing out of his car seat, he grabbed my hand and I said, “Welcome buddy. I’m so glad you’re here.”
And, well, you know the rest.
It’s those tiny little decisions, like passing along your email address on some random Tuesday afternoon, that change the course of our lives forever. It doesn’t matter if we are called to parent them for 6 months or 60 years, we were meant to know them and love them. Being their mom has made me a better person and for that I’m so incredibly grateful no matter how short my time with them is.