Today was court day for the momma of our Little A. I knew and actually prayed that the judge would agree that it was time for our little 24 pound bundle of joy to go home. So I was not surprised when my phone rang at 11:50 this morning and Little A’s case manager was on the other end. What was a surprise was that I was going to get to deliver Little A to her momma. No one was coming to transport her back home.
At 11:51, I jumped into action and gathered up the toys her mom had sent home after visits as well as some of the toys we had bought for her. I washed the clothes she was wearing this morning and her blanket from the playpen (baby kennel) and gathered up all her medicines and medical supplies. In my head I’m trying to remember everything and knowing that I will be finding single socks and miscellaneous toys for weeks and weeks. Finally, I get my favorite little girl up from her very focused nap, get her dressed in her finest going home clothes and hit the road a good 30 minutes later than I needed to get to the destination, that is an hour and 15 minutes from our house, on time.
On the way there I sing to Little A. That’s been our thing. I sing like I’m auditioning for The Voice but my repertoire is limited to nursery rhymes and Jesus Loves Me. Baa Baa Black Sheep is her favorite. I have sung that little ditty probably 600 times in the past 51 days. I run through her favorites about three times, Baa Baa Black Sheep (of course), Old McDonald, The Wheels on the Bus, ABC’s and Jesus Loves Me. I also have a lullaby that I sing to her and the words change depending on the message I am trying to impart. It usually goes like this:
A, A, we love you, A, A, you are going to school
You’ll be brave and you won’t cry
You’ll see Miss Kay Kay and so will I
A, A, we love you, A, A, you are going to school
See the message was, you are going to school (which she hated) and I really, really didn’t want her to scream her head off from the minute I pulled up to the school, all the way into her class room and then I as I get back into my car and take my totally guilty butt to work. It never worked but she learned to say school. How cool is that!
Today’s version was you are a good girl, God loves you more than we do only at the time it was really cute and rhymed. I can’t remember it exactly now. And wouldn’t you know as soon as I sang it, the tears came. Thankfully I learned with our first fosters that my tears are for me alone and in front of the kids I must be celebratory and thrilled for their reunification with their family. So I sucked it up and went back to Baa Baa Black Sheep.
The hand off was great. Mom and I have developed a tentative relationship and she promised to schedule a play date with us once our little girl gets well. (Yes, I handed her back a pretty sick little kiddo.) That makes this bearable. Just getting to know that she is doing well and growing up surrounded by people who love her is what makes this heartache manageable. Her mom is good people and from my tiny little window into the situation, it seemed like taking her kids while she was trying to get to a better place in life was cruel. But I’m not a case worker and clearly don’t know the whole story. I’m just glad the little girl I put into her arms was missed and will be well cared for and loved.
On the way home, I started my mental list of all the stuff I needed to do to get our home back to normal. We have weathered so many daycare diseases in the past 51 days that I need to disinfected every square inch of this abode – again. And there is the stuff. We send the kids home with a lot more than they come to our house with and usually a few pounds heavier. But there is the stuff we box up and store for the next kid that comes our way. This time we have lots of that stuff thanks to our impromptu Amazon baby shower developed by Kim Gossage. And then there is my car. It is disgusting. There are baby droppings all over the place, not to mention my numerous fast food receipts that piled up from running here and there with little time for things like food and rest. As I was looking around the car, there sat our baby bag – okay really not a bag but a backpack because we are way too cool for a baby bag. And in the big compartment sat the three board books I checked out of the library for Miss A. First thing off my list, returned the books on my way home. Second thing, to put to paper my thoughts and feelings as I say good bye to the beautiful little girl that has so occupied my thoughts and dreams and days and minutes these past 51 days.
No doubt we will miss her like crazy. Our house will be very quiet and my life will become boring once again. We will hopefully both recover physically from the germs that have plagued our lives of late. We will once again have a quiet dinner out as a couple without a package of crackers and a sippy cup of milk leaking in my purse, there to keep the baby occupied while food is prepared and brought to our table. We most definitely will have a loud evening out and enjoy the nightlife that our great town offers. We promised each other that we would get to the Y and hit the three trails that are within minutes of our house. You see, we are taking a break from fostering – a two month hiatus. We need it. As much as we loved having this little girl be a part of our lives, it was hard. The hardest placement yet. I am on first name basis with the entire staff at the pediatrician’s office. I have taken 16 full days of leave and probably that many partial days for sick kid pick ups at the daycare, well baby check ups, not so well baby doctor’s appointments and family visits an hour away. Tim has missed seven days of work with pneumonia and other ailments. So yeah, we need a break. But then it will be back at it. Praying for the next child before we get the call. The first day jitters and sleeplessness and then developing and settling into the routine. Meeting the parents, hopefully developing a relationship with them. Getting to know the new case manager and others involved in the case. Yeah all of that again.
I will confess that this baby made me want one of my own, a foster to adopt from infancy to baby to toddler to little kid to big kid to teenager and beyond. But that is not what God has asked me to do. He has called me to foster. And he will equip us to do it again and again and again. My heart will look like Swiss cheese after we are done since a piece of it goes with each child. But I’ll take my holey worn out, stretched out heart over the hardened, stressed out one of the former corporate ladder climber and resume builder that I used to be any day.