the crib - which Noah willingly assembles as needed for a flat fee of five dollars
I've been quiet here lately. We spent this past weekend switching around our girls' bedrooms and getting ready for "the baby." We moved the two older girls together and set up Miss P in the room she'll share with "the baby." All the girls are happy in their new arrangements, and we now have an assembled crib ready for "the baby." And the rooms are now known as the "big girls" room and the "little girls" room.
It's a bit surreal to wait for a foster placement. There is a strange mix of anticipation and excitement - combined with the knowledge that you are really anticipating someone else's world falling apart. With the two babies we've had with us before, I was able to form a relationship with their birthmothers over the months that we worked together. In both cases, I will never forget my first meetings with them (they call it the "ice breaker meeting", but it should really be called the "figure out a way to connect and reassure this grieving mother in the span of ten minutes that you really will do everything in your power to help her succeed as a mom and that you will protect and love her baby with everything in you" meeting) when they were fighting back tears, clearly terrified and heartbroken, and having no choice but to let their little one leave with a stranger. In both cases, they were caught up in circumstances that were much, much bigger than themselves. So knowing that someone's world is moving toward that moment where someone steps in and takes their baby from them is a sad weight. We've all had those moments, haven't we? Where it feels like the entire world shifts under us and we aren't sure how we can continue. I may not ever reach a place where someone takes my child from me, but I can still remember those terrifying, world-shifting moments and imagine what this baby's mother is experiencing.
In a sense, I feel like we have a unique advantage in being able to approach a relationship with our foster babies' mothers - we aren't seeking adoption, we aren't "hoping" they fail, we aren't holding out for termination of their parental rights, we aren't waiting for the other shoe to drop. We can freely hope and pray that they receive the help they need, that they succeed in their treatment plans, that they seek out support and community, that they are able to decide and participate in whatever future is best for their baby.
In general, I spend time with these moms twice a week when I bring the babies for their visits - time we are able to spend communicating about their child. Over time, as we begin to trust each other, it becomes a team effort and we even begin to build a sense of being on the "same side." I really look forward to that aspect of this next placement. I've enjoyed getting to know our babies' mothers. I think of them often. As I wait for our placement call, I also wait to meet this baby's mother and wonder about the ways I can reach out to her during what will likely always be one of her life's most terrifying and world-shifting times - I pray that we can build a sense together of being on the same side.