Life is strange.
Yesterday I sat in a meeting for foster care that was just a very weird experience.
I have to keep reminding myself that I am not taking anyone’s baby. A baby needs a home, and we are making our home and family available to her.
Semantics, I know. But I must keep the metal tape deck playing to assuage the guilt that occasionally creeps in: “We are not taking a baby … We are not stealing a baby … We are not telling anyone else that they cannot have this baby.”
We’ve been asked to love on a baby. And we are.
The whole foster-to-adopt scenario keeps me wondering, “Am I really old enough for this? And if I am, how did I get to this place? Could life really fly by so fast?”
Sometimes I still feel like the awkward junior high girl that doesn’t fit in, and wonders if she ever will. I still feel like the college girl who flitted from coffee date to coffee date with friends, and whose life was wrapped up in papers, projects and potential husbands. I still feel like the girl with her first big job, thinking “Now I’ve made it!!” I still feel like the girl who got home from the hospital with a newborn, exhausted and overwhelmed, bearing the weight of 5 lbs 11 oz of sheer responsibility, wondering how in the world I had was supposed to care for this tiny creature.
I still feel like the bereaved mom who carries with her the sadness of having her babies die.
I guess I’ve never really shed those other girls as time marched on. They’ve just morphed and gotten more complex as I add to my life experience.
And now I’m adding on the girl who finds that the desires of her heart are being fulfilled in unexpected ways, and wonder if I am really be mature and old enough to run a household, take care of kids (plural!!!), and go through a (fingers-crossed) adoption? Is this really happening?
It honestly feels so surreal to have your life just change so quickly. Just a few weeks ago, I posted pictures of an empty crib, certain that it would forever remain a mausoleum of baby blankets and stuffed animals that had nowhere else to go.
And now that crib is full most nights with this cute little girl I can *almost* call mine. My hope and dream to adopt that I’ve had since I was a young girl now has a face, a name, and the most kissable cheeks you’ve ever seen.
The time of transition has gone quickly, and I found it to be both good and trying at times.
It’s like when you’re pregnant… There are days where you are happy and glowing, and you enjoy showing off your baby bump to all the world, wrapped delightfully in the latest belly hugging fashion.
But then there are the days where your reflux won’t stop refluxing, your sciatic nerve feels like it has struck a nerve, and though you are completely exhausted, your big belly and aching back revolt against the idea of shut-eye.
Imagine, for me if you will, what it would be like to be pregnant when it’s fun and convenient… Then for a few days when your body desperately needs a break, you could just go back to being not-pregnant … Knowing full and well that your baby would be just fine, and you could resume the pregnancy in a few days when you felt better.
That’s a little bit what transition has felt like to me. I’ve had the opportunity to be full-time mom for a few days at a time. But the full commitment hasn’t quite sunk in yet, because for the last month and a half, I have to give her back. And I get a break to catch up on sleep, I go back to a normal schedule, and the housework I’ve invariably procrastinated on while she was with us finally gets done.
On days where she is with us, it is so much easier to accept this new reality that this is the way life will be because I’m all wrapped up in the joy of who she is.
It’s on the days where she is gone when I struggle. I remember what it’s like to just care for one, and wonder if I’m crazy for wanting to expand my life with a baby.
When she’s here, I can’t seem to keep the house picked up or laundry done (not to mention putting food on the table) … And I really wonder if i’ll ever have a clean home, or dinner ready at a decent hour again.
I am trying to give myself some grace. Trying to remember that when Maddy was born, I always felt behind in laundry, and grocery shopping was a big event. That things were cluttered and messy for a time as our household grew and stretched to accommodate all the gifts, baby gear, and furniture that came along with our new addition, until finally everything had its place and it felt like she’d always been there.
While our new little miss isn’t very new… She’s new to us. And we have the same growing pains as our hearts, household and schedule all stretch to accommodate her and everything that she brings.
But there is so much joy in her presence in our lives. I find myself holding her little tiny body so close to mine, and kissing her soft, squishy cheeks. We play peek-a-boo, and make raspberries, and pretend to cough and sneeze, all in hopes of making each other smile. I snuggle her soft, sweaty body each night as I rock her to sleep, and think there must be nothing more peaceful in this world, than rocking a sweet baby who seems to know you and trust you. And everything feels right again.
No matter if I’m ready or not … Little miss will be moving in in just 2 short days!!! I hope that in the next few weeks, I can start to figure out a routine. I can start to figure out who this new me is who is a mom to 2 on earth and 2 in heaven.
And I hope I can put in the background some of those other “mes” that so often clamor for my attention… And my self-doubt. Because as much as I tend to be introspective… The truth is, it’s not about me. And it never really was.