This continues the story of our journey to have a family. The time frame for this chapter of our story is March 2008.
If you continue to read along, you will see first hand the reality of how broken the Foster Care system truly is.
When the battle was won in the last case, I was completely at peace when they came to pick him up. There was no inner struggle. For a long while I struggled within myself that there was no struggle. I was not opening the door and throwing him to the CPS Case Worker, but I was truly happy he was going home.
It took me a while to realize that this is truly what it is about. Many people will not understand. Most biological parents who have lost their children to the system because of their own bad choices cannot accept responsibility for their actions. So when I have previously said that these children should never have gone back to their biological parents, there are people that do not understand how I can say that. I have a friend who totally disagrees with me.
The previous little boy’s case proved to me that my heart was in the right place. After a while, you truly start questioning this whole process. Am I just angry and bitter that I have not been able to have my own children, so I am seeking to take children away from their parents? This previous little boy’s case showed me that this was not at all what this was for me. I truly was fighting for each individual child, for what was right for their lives. This little boy belonged with his biological parents. He just needed medical attention.
I did not mourn his leaving at all. I truly was happy that he was going to be reunited with his biological parents.
We went back to life as normal. Waiting. Wondering if we would ever receive another call.
During this time, the children’s therapist asked me if we were still interested in adopting more children. When I told her that we were, she told me that she counseled another sibling group- a brother and sister- who were already free to be adopted. She thought they would be a wonderful match for our family. I told her that I was definitely interested, but I would have to talk to my husband, and if he said yes, then we would have to increase our license again, because we were only licensed to have three children.
I talked to my husband, and he was all for it. So I made the call to increase our license yet again. But this time I had them license us for five children. It was better to be prepared. I still knew that I had heard God’s voice, but I could not imagine how this was going to work out.
I talked to the therapist a few days later to let her know our licensing was taken care of, and she told me that there was a family member that had come up out of nowhere who wanted the children. She told me not to give up though, because she counseled a lot of children who needed good homes full of love. She told me she would help us find our children.
With that door closed, we waited to see what God had planned for us. Would it be another call from our therapist? Would we get a call from the Agency?
It was not long before we found out. I received a call from our Agency Case Worker telling me that there was a 7-week-old infant needing placement. She did not need to say anymore. I probably literally screamed in her ear, “YES!” I was so excited!
This Case Worker with the Agency was number five or number six for us, and we had not been in the Foster system but 8 months. This Case Worker knew the heart break that we had gone through when the 1-year-old was given to a family member, and she told me she would try desperately to help us get a baby.
Not only was this an infant, there was no real question whether or not he would be available for adoption. His biological mother’s rights had not been terminated at this point, because the court process had to take place, but it was next to impossible that she would not have her rights terminated. She was a foster child herself, and the baby was born addicted to cocaine.
As soon as I hung up the phone with the Agency I called my husband. I was so excited I could not sit still. I told him I would let him know the details as soon as I found them out.
Within a few minutes the phone rang again. It was our Case Worker with the Agency. I knew as soon as I answered the phone that it was not good news. I could hear it in her voice. She said she was so sorry to have to inform me that the baby had already been promised to another couple. I thanked her and hung up the phone.
There were no words for me at this point. I called my husband and told him. I told him I had to go. He asked me if I was ok and I told him no, and at this point I just did not have any words. I am sure you have read enough by now to realize that it is very rare that I have no words. I could not even pray. I could not muster the strength or emotions to say anything or feel anything. My husband told me not to worry, that if the other family backed out we would be the first ones they would call. Sure, fat chance. I would not hold my breath, I told him.
When I hung up the phone, I just sat silently on the couch. The other two kids were in their rooms playing.
I sat there that day for almost an hour. All I could do was think about what had just happened, and the years of trying to have a child. Why would this happen? It was like dangling a gourmet meal in front of a starving person. As I sat dwelling on how this could have even happened I became very angry. I knew that my heart was in the right place, and yet time after time my heart was being broken. I am very much in tune with the fact that life is not fair, but we had gone beyond life not being fair to life being downright cruel! I just could not understand why God would allow this to happen! I would rather have never received the call than to have had this happen.
As I sat there by myself, my thoughts racing around in my head, my heart breaking once again, the phone rang again. It was the Agency. The other couple had decided they would not be able to take the baby. Did we still want him? Again I screamed, “YES!” And I begged her not to let him get away from us.
My husband had been right! I asked him later if God had spoken to him that day and he said no that he just had a feeling. Why did all of this happen? I do not really have the answer to that question. Maybe it was God’s way of showing me that He really is involved in our lives. There could be a million other reasons or explanations why. I don’t think I will ever know. But thankfully, this time it really was true! We were finally going to have our baby!
As we waited for them to bring him to us the next day I could not sit still. I had so much pent up excitement, knowing that we were really going to have a baby!
When they brought him to us, he was so very tiny. When they put him in my arms, I was so scared I would hurt him. He had been born 6 weeks premature, so he was just now gestationally 1 week old. He was still red and wrinkly. His little fingers and toes were so tiny. His nose was so tiny. But he was beautiful! And he was ours! Immediately I began calling him my Angel Baby.
Not only was he very tiny, he was also going through withdrawals from the drug addiction. If you have never witnessed a tiny baby going through drug addiction withdrawals you are blessed! It is one of the most painful things I have ever witnessed in all of my life! His entire body would shake as his body craved the drugs. His eyes would get so big, not understanding what was going on within his body. We would swaddle him tightly and hold him close until his tremors would pass.
I found a song that I began to play for him when he would start going through his withdrawal tremors- “Angel Baby” by Linda Ronstadt. I had never heard it before I went searching for a song with that title. Since this is what I called him from the first day, I thought it would be fitting to find a song with that name. This became our ritual. As his body would begin to shake from his withdrawals, we would swaddle him tightly, hold him close, play the music, and rock with him. We went through this process the first two months or more.
It is very rare occasions that I have seen my Dad cry. He cried at both of his parents funerals. Other than that, I do not recall any other time where he has actually cried, until he saw our baby during one of his withdrawals.
It is amazing how much we remember. After we got through the withdrawal tremors, we did not play our “Angel Baby” song as much. After a while, it had been months since I had played it for him and danced with him.
Probably 8 months or more had passed that we had not played the song at all. One day I decided to play it. As soon as the music started, he looked up at me with the biggest, most beautiful grin in the world! He was playing in his playpen and he stood up, reaching for me to take him. He wanted me to dance with him! He remembered! I was so amazed that he remembered our song!
It is now a very common thing that is heard in our home. My baby loves to dance with me. All of my children love to dance with me, but my baby has a very special bond with me, through this song and me dancing with him. It will forever be one of my most beautiful memories of his infancy. Once again, God has taken something traumatic and turned it into something very beautiful in my life- and my son’s life as well!
Just a few days ago I played our song. It had been a month or so since I played it for him. As soon as the music started he stopped what he was doing and came over and climbed up into my lap. He would lay against my chest for a while, just listening to the music with me. Then he would sit up and look at me- look into my eyes. It was the sweetest, most beautiful, most moving thing for me. The way he was looking into my eyes was like he was remembering. It was a deep, soulful look that you don’t expect from a child so young. He just turned 3-years-old; how does he know what this song is? Yes, I know he remembers…. but it was much more than just remembering. Though we have listened to this song quite often, and he always snuggles up to me when we are dancing or just sitting, there was something different about this time. I will never forget that look as long as I live!
This will be something that I continue to do all of his life.
I am now searching for a special song for each child. Since they all love to dance, I want each of them to have their special song. It is not a process that I am rushing through. I’ve listened to hundreds of songs, and have found 2 that are perfect.
I want each one of my children to have many wonderful memories of their childhood. Since they have endured so many bad things, anything I can do to help them have beautiful memories is a bonus. I do not ever want any of my older children to feel left out because they do not have a special song like the baby does. It is not their fault they were not with us as infants. So this will be a gift to each of them that will last a lifetime.
The Purpose Of This Series: Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?
The next chapter in this series: Full House
The previous chapter in this series: Fighting For Another Child
Foster Care: A Broken System- Video