Yesterday I spent the morning outside with my boys enjoying the sunshine (before the heat got any more intense). That's right, we went from wearing our winter coats last week to sweltering hot this week. Something in between would be nice...but I'm not complaining. :)
We came in from our bike ride and play time at around 11 to get cleaned up, cooled off and lunch started. I had a feeling that placement might call so I went to check my answering machine and sure enough they had called with two more little boys that needed to leave the hospital. So within an hour I was showered, had a diaper bag packed, my boys dropped off with Grandma (Thanks mom!) and was on the road to the city (a 2 hour drive).
When I told Silas that I was going to get a new baby he was over the top excited. I soon realized he thought I was going to get Peanut (our last foster baby). I explained that this would be a different baby.
He crossed his arms , stuck out his lips and in his best grumpy voice shouted
"I want baby ---------" (Peanut). No want another one baby...want baby ---------".
I have to admit I had the same toddler voice inside me shouting the same thing.
I want the baby that I already fell in love with, I don't know if I have it in me to love another one. How about you take the baby I feel nothing for and give me back the one that feels like my own?
I know in my head I will probably feel the same way about this new little guy in a couple weeks.
Now that the new baby is in our home Silas is all over him and anxious to love him up too. He's even started calling him by his proper name...which is better than I can manage so far. I think every mom calls her kids by the wrong names once in a while....try foster parenting. As soon as I get used to a new name....it changes.
Each child is so unique, each child's situation is different and I'm realizing that even each picking up process is different. I went to the NICU assuming that the new baby was at the same place that the last one was but the head nurse pointed me to the maternity nursery. He's not experiencing withdrawal symptoms and is not on medication like I had originally thought. He was 6 lb 11 oz at birth and he was 4 days old (bigger than Peanut was at 3 weeks old). He's already quite a bit more alert and healthier looking.
When I arrived at the nursery I was rushed off to a waiting lounge because once again the bio- mom showed up. Unlike my peaceful and sentimental exchange with Peanuts mom. This mama wasn't leaving without a fight. Long story short...I hid....she was "escorted" out by 3 security guards...and then I was escorted to my car carrying the precious cargo. I felt like a baby snatcher. I feel bad for the mother who was forced to leave without her baby. It would have taken a few security guards to convince me to leave one of my babies at a hospital and let them go home with someone else. ....There is so much to the story that I can't share and that I don't even know. What this little guys future holds...God only knows.
I didn't make it home from the city until well past the kids bedtime. Unfortunately it was also the same evening as a board meeting at the church (which Nathanael is an elder). So I was going solo.
Pick up the three kids.
Unload a SUV full of groceries.
put the groceries away.
pass the baby to big sister to feed (one benefit of this new experience of bottle babies)
get the boys in bed. (way too late)
clean up, change baby, boil bottles, pack school lunch....
It was a late bedtime but I did it. Everyone tucked into bed and the house somewhat tidy.
"Cub" (for lack of a better alias) slept great, went down for the night great and only woke up once to feed at 2.30. (Unfortunately Silas woke up at 1.30...and I had trouble falling asleep until 3.30...I hate that!). I'm hoping for an earlier bedtime tonight and hopefully his good sleep pattern will keep up. At least for a little while.
I'm babysitting for a friend today (one of the down sides of emergency fostering never having time to actually clear a schedule and prepare for a baby). Its a bit of a crazy day with a total of 8 kids. My house looks like a hurricane hit it...but they'll all help tidy up by the end of the day. I think the five baskets of laundry that need to be folded will be hanging around for another day. At least its clean. Right now the new baby, Silas and the other two year old I'm babysitting are all sleeping and the older ones are watching a movie. SANITY BREAK!! Put on the coffee and turn on the computer!
Cub is a sweet little guy. Big jowly cheeks, rosy complexion, and a thick mop of jet black hair (that stands straight up...reminds me of Kade's hair).
I am still getting used to him, establishing a bond. Sometimes even with our own babies we look at their funny little newborn faces and wonder who this stranger is. Its even more likely with a baby that is in fact a stranger I suppose. I've learned that with my foster children the actions come first (cuddling, feeding, interacting with)....the feelings develop gradually.
As the feelings come I am constantly amazed by them. A child or a baby that initially felt like a complete stranger , I will suddenly notice I feel completely protective of. A little face that "only a mother could love" becomes a beautiful face that I can't get enough of. It always surprises me when the natural feelings I have toward my own kids start to show up with a new one.
Give me a day or two and I'll be falling hard for this little guy too. I am still trying to figure out the balance of loving with out limits...while remembering that they are not mine. Its a tough one. I may never figure that one out.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear..." 1 John 4:18
God is perfect love.
I can't fear what lies ahead for Cub or me.
In Him I can love Cub the way he needs to be loved even though my heart still feels bruised and tired. I will leave the ramifications of such recklessness to the one who commands me to love in the first place. Not only commands but shows us perfect sacrificial love. By receiving and basking in that love I am able to overflow that same love to others.
" This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10
God doesn't love us in a theoretical , out of touch ,unreachable sort of way. God the son , God in flesh and blood, set aside his glory to love us down in the dirty, dusty , messy world we live in. He loves without limits. He loved us without reservations or an escape clause. He allowed not only his heart to be bruised and broken but his flesh as well.
" We love because he first loved us. If anyone says "I love God" , yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4: 19-21
Kade, Peanut and Cub are not only "my" children but my brothers, my neighbors, my fellow human beings. They come from different ethnic backgrounds than I do, they come from troubled families....but they are my brothers. How can I not love them?
Something that has surprised me lately is how my interest and love toward the various ethnic groups in my province has been expanded. I have loved a Cree baby, a Dene (pronounced Denay) baby, and a Metis (pronounced MaitEE)baby. Its hard not to also love the moms, the dads, the grandmas and grandpas in those people groups too. Its hard not to be challenged to see them the way God sees them. He looks past the hurt, the sin ,the dysfunction of an individual person. He sees the way they were created to be...what they can be restored to through Christ. The rest is just the chains , something foreign and unnatural to that person. Something that they can be free of. Can we see people through those eyes too? Can we see the beauty of diversity?
Well my sanity break is over....the little ones are getting restless. Congratulations on making it to the end of a very long and scattered post.
Here I am back on the horse....getting back on this roller coaster. Ready or not.