This precious little girl is growing like crazy, becoming more interactive, and generally morphing from the newborn phase into the fun chubby baby phase. She is increasingly aware of and curious of about the world around her. She definitely recognizes her "mommy" and stares quizzically at "daddy" (who, because of the field work, she doesn't see all that often lately). I am very happy with her very normal development and progress.
The first two months of her life were rough. She has been a very gassy/ colicky baby that also has withdrawal issues that we are controlling with medication. She even gave Silas a run for his money at being the record breaking colic baby. I did try something different this time (which I wish I had the sense to try when Silas' tummy was all out of whack). My discovery is that pro-biotics work wonders on a babies sensitive, easily damaged, under developed digestive system. Especially in babies who have been on antibiotics or other medications that may have thrown off the natural digestive bacteria. I break open a capsule (of a pro-biotic mix) and pour about a third of it into one of her bottles each day. As soon as I started doing this we had major break throughs in the colic...when I ran out for a few days it was right back to screaming for hours at a time. Coincidence? Maybe. Either way, it's not going to hurt, it's natural, and I'll take what I can get. My other tricks of the trade are swaddling and bum patting. Those combined generally work wonders.
She has done so well as the dr. weans her off her medication a little each week. She is proving to be a bright, alert, content and strong little girl. She is a fighter. I suspect she will need to be. As usual I have no idea of what this little girls future holds. What I do know, I cannot share. She is my incognito baby...which is why I cannot show you all the multitudes of pictures I have been taking of her with my new camera...or give you her real name.
Just look at those toes! So yummy. Toe kisses are almost as addictive as big chubby cheek smooches. I'm a shameless addict. She is such a gorgeous little girl. She reminds me a little of a baby girl in Mexico that we knew. Beautiful almond eyes , jet black hair and delicate features. I've had a lot of fun shopping for her as she outgrows the newborn sleepers. I have no girl baby clothes to offer as hand me downs so....perfect excuse to doll her up with some new clothes. I have bought her little summer jumpers, sundresses and and a few other adorably girlish items. Am I having too much fun? Maybe. Don't worry, the night time feedings keep me firmly grounded.
Her and I have done pretty well at getting her on a predictable sleeping and eating routine. I'm not a scheduler by nature but having a natural predictable rhythm (that is flexible) with a baby is so important. Chaos and confusion is bad for mommy and baby. I know when she needs to eat, when she is just gassy, when she needs to go for a nap (before she gets overtired and inconsolable), and when she is getting over stimulated. All of those things can easily be confused for hunger...by mommy and baby. It's the subtle cues, that are so easily missed. I learn a little more with each baby. They are all so different.
The kids and I decided to throw together a last minute birthday party. They helped me make and decorate this cake.
Whole wheat chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate cream cheese icing.
Sounds strange maybe ,but it is a delicious recipe. It's so moist, chocolaty and rich (in good ways) that you would have no idea that I used whole wheat flour...or zucchini for that matter. I'll post a recipe someday.
I admit, I am hoping the "powers that be" forget that Cece is in my home. Maybe they will loose her file ( I don't think anyone else out there would notice. ) and never make that phone call requesting that I drop her off at their office. Yes, that is most definitely a little day dream of mine based completely on denial. I know better though. She is number 6 to come and go, taking a little chunk of my heart with them.
There is such an incredible need for foster parents where we live. The system is SO extremely overloaded with babies and children who need a loving home. Some for a short time, some for a long time...some for a lifetime.
It is a hard job. It is a selfless job. It is one of the most amazingly rewarding things I have ever done. I love it. I dread it. I'm in over my head. It's right where I want to be.
I hear over and over again things like:
"I would love to be a foster parent but it would be too hard",
"I don't know how you give those babies up, I know I could never do that",
"I know I would just get too attached "
....those are the nice, well meaning comments. I won't justify the cynical ones.
I honestly have mixed feelings about comments like those. I usually just smile and say,
"yes it is hard but it's not about me".
I try not to take the logic of those statements any further towards the suggestion that somehow I might have a heart of stone that does not actually get "attached". On the flip side, I am also not a super human saint that is more capable of loving than anyone else. The only thing I am is available and obedient to what God has laid on my heart to do. Love these babes to the best of my ability and resources. I'll leave the heartbreak, the goodbyes, the future of "my " babies, and the healing of my swiss cheese heart to the God who loves these babies more than I do.
This is the first time I've "gone there" with Cece. I live day to day with the awareness that the end of our time with her could be near...but I generally don't think about it. I don't know if I will be able to celebrate a 3 month birthday, a 3rd birthday..or a 30th birthday with my sweet baby girl. I don't know what our future holds. I don't want to think about it or talk about it...(so if you see me ,don't ask me). Typing about it...well that's different. You can't see the tears or the snot. I can maintain my dignity (What dignity I have left with spit up on my shoulder). Feel free to imagine me as a glamorous and stoic saint instead of the sweat pant wearing, unshowered, teary eyed, sleep deprived woman I am at the moment.
I honestly still grieve. I think about last years babies Kade, Peanut, and Cub all the time. There are little reminders of them in my home still. A toy left behind, an item of clothing, a memory. The goodbye with Kade (18 months) still haunts me. His tears, the fear in his eyes and his calling "MA" as I turned and walked away. I have no idea where any of those boys are. It's hard to have no real closure. I have no idea what has become of them. So many possibilities. I can't dwell on those though. I pray that they have someone to love them. In my heart they will always be my babies.
I fully intended to write about the merits and the joys of foster parenting, convincing others to get on board. I think I may have just done the opposite of my intentions. oops. I am real to a fault sometimes.
Despite the challenge, despite the uncertainty, despite the screaming colic.....
These kids need us. They need you.
These kids need a mom and a dad. They need to know that they will be fed, everyday.
They need to know that that someone will hear them when they cry.
They need to know that someone prays for them, believes in them and treasures them.
They need someone willing to get their hands dirty, to get their heart involved, and to love them through the nitty gritty details of life, as it really is.
"True Christianity breaks our hearts and makes us willing to embrace the inconveniences and pain and suffering for the people that Jesus cares about. And I think more than anything else, it is the children that Jesus cares about. "
In Matthew's gospel chapter 18 Jesus said very carefully "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in Heaven."
This gives us a glimpse of the incredible passion and concern God has for his tiniest creation. Their guardian angels always see the face of the Father.
I think as the heart of God starts to beat in our own bodies we can identify with that passion.
When we allow injustice, when we abuse or mistreat, when we turn a blind eye to suffering, when we are consumed with apathy....we are despising.
"It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should parish. "
Whether it's the calling to be a foster parent, support adoption ministries, adopt an orphan, sponsor a child living in poverty, or invest into the lives of hurting children in other ways.......
We are called to be fathers to the fatherless and mothers to the motherless.
We are called to care for the weak, protect the vulnerable, advocate for those who don't have a voice, and love as Jesus loves.
How will you stand in the gap for on one the "least of these"?
How will your life be altered and turned upside down?
I have been asked how I "do it"...honestly I have no idea. It just takes saying yes and leaving the rest up to God to figure out.