We were married in March; our kids were born in April and December, but today is one of our family’s most important anniversaries. One year ago today we brought home our foster baby.
Like most everything else in life, this journey hasn’t gone the way I thought it would. I hoped we would one day adopt after providing a home to three year old for a couple of months and a sibling set for several weeks and there would be a heartbreaking good-bye after we kept a toddler for eight or nine months. These were the stories I heard. Ours is different.
Our licensed was signed on August 12, we got Baby on the 13th. He was just shy of five months old. I’m not allowed to tell you his story, so I’ll try to stick with telling you mine. My heart was lost within the first week.
Every month, every milestone was a new reason to love him a little more. Every sleepless night, every trip to the doctor was emotion invested in him.
I did everything I could to support his birth mom. I bought picture frames for his 6, 9, and 12 month photos, I got her a Christmas present from Baby of practical items the worker said she needed for her new apartment, I held his first birthday party at a neutral location so she could come. I encouraged her when we met for visits and calmed her during team meetings.
But please forgive me when I say that the more her life spun out of control, the more inexplicably intertwined my heart became with his.
Today when people ask I say I have three kids and leave it at that. I long ago dropped the explanation that the youngest was a foster child and my older two readily accept strangers calling him their baby brother. I tell myself it’s not their business anyway.
It is sheer terror waiting for a judge to decree what I feel in my soul. Right now, my child doesn’t belong to me.
Still, I stick with what I said in February. He is worth it. Whatever happens tomorrow, my fingerprints are all over this child. At his age he may not remember me in another year, but the first three years are the most formative and one of those will have been shaped and held and loved by me. I choose to believe that matters.
And I know for certain that for one whole year he has been changing me.