This is the fifth draft
I've sat down to write an update many times over. Even now I am struggling to find the proper words. I hesitated to write anything because I didn't want to regret saying something. During the first two months we were exhausted and sick. My attitude to say the least was far from positive. I was lacking sleep (believe me, I don't do well when I don't sleep) and we were just thrown into a crazy life. So every time I went to write about what was going on, I felt like I was complaining. That wasn't what I wanted to do. I want to show you the truth- the good and the bad and everything in between. But I knew my heart needed to grow and be encouraged before I could write something of substance.
We've had foster babies in our home for three months now- two beautiful and sweet sisters. Depending on when you ran into me during these three months will vary on what part of this journey you know about.
Before that phone call on February 5, my life was comfortable. I went to bed at 10, woke up at 7, we hung out with friends, traveled when and where we wanted to, and ate dinner when we were hungry. Then one little 15 month old girl (if you read my previous post you saw that I was saying 14 month, but when she arrived she was 1 day shy of being 15 months) arrived at my house at 11PM and that all changed. I laid awake all night thinking about her. I wondered about what home she had left, what her favorite food was, if she liked to read books, what words she could say, if she liked to sleep on her back or her tummy...
For three days I would look at that sweet girl and think she was perfect. She had the most gorgeous smile and seemed to just enjoy being around people.
Well, a switch was very quickly flipped and that perfect angel baby changed. She would scream when we would walk away from her. She would scream when we didn't give her food fast enough. She would scream when she took a bath. She would scream when we changed her diaper. She would scream when we walked to her bedroom. We never knew what trigger her screaming. And she only did it at home. And when I say scream, I mean loud and very angry screams- unlike anything I've ever experienced before. It was discouraging because we'd go to friend's houses and she'd be amazing and the caseworkers never saw this side of her- just our sweet, smiley and goofy girl. Then we'd walk in the door at home and it would change immediately. I knew our sweet girl had experienced something at her own home that made her feel like home was not a safe place, but it still didn't make it easier to endure the screaming.
On Saturday mornings I'd wake up ready to leave the house with the girls because I didn't want to be at home and listen to the screaming. My hubby would say, "Babe, we can't leave the house every time she's awake." But neither of us knew what to do.
Screaming plus sleepless nights with a newborn plus being sick every day equals one worn out mom and dad. In two months of getting our girls, we (some variation of the four of us) had bronchitis, pneumonia, pink eye, the stomach flu, bad allergies (I mean taking three different medications to help), double ear infections, and strep...to name a few. I went to the doctor for the girls 9+ times, I went to the ER once, took the youngest to the ER once, Kevin went to the ER twice and I lost count of how many times I went to the Pharmacy to pick up medication. We also had caseworker visits, CASA visits, attorney visits, bio mom visits and WIC appointments.
Had I written this a month ago, that would've been the end and I would've been pretty discouraged about how things were going. Not that it was harder than expected, but because I honestly felt like I was weaker than I expected and I didn't think I was going to make it. I didn't think I was a good enough mom to care for these girls. Certainly they needed someone more experienced, more patient and someone who could love them better. Kevin and I had countless conversations that led to me saying I just couldn't do it one more day. Yes, the girls were safe and in a better environment, but I was barely surviving.
Luckily, this isn't where the story ends.
First of all, my husband is stronger than I ever imagined. I knew he was patient, loving, and was going to make an amazing dad, but whoa... he has just amazed me at how he's stepped up, even when we were literally sick and tired. Also, we are surrounded by friends who have come around us and will do anything to help us. Kevin and I were both so sick that we couldn't get out of bed and one of them came at 9pm to pick up our newborn and take care of her over night. Without me even mentioning it, they came to court with me, so I wouldn't have to be alone. I went to the ER one Sunday and had a text saying one of our friends was headed over to watch the girls for the afternoon. These are just a few of the ways our community have come around us. They've loved our girls (and us) since day one.
And ultimately, God. The verses from Lamentations 3 were so true in my life! Can we really succeed at anything in our own power?
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
But what you are really wondering about is how are the girls now? The oldest has found her personality in the last month! Recently, we've been picking her up from the nursery or daycare and the teachers say she's been goofy or silly all day. She's so fun! She can tolerate baths and diaper changes. She runs around the house laughing or giggling and has her favorites toys (her doll, baby bottle, and stuffed bear). She will also willing go into her room and play! She's definitely an extrovert because she's wired when we get home from church or outings.
Little sis is a doll baby. She's sleeping great and when she's awake, all she does is laugh or coo. It amazes me how beautiful she is (both girls)! The only time she's upset is when we do tummy time or when she's ready to eat. My absolute favorite about her is watching her with my husband. He adores both the girls so much!
It astounds me as to how much they've grown in three months!
Every text. Every conversation. Every meal. Every gift. Every prayer. They were heard, felt and made the difference as to how we've seen success these last three months. Every time I picked the girls up from the nursery and someone told me my girls are the sweetest. Every time you watched the youngest and said you loved her so much. Every time you told me something you learned about big sister's personality. Every time you asked to see pictures. Every time you took it upon yourself to send me a selfie of you snuggling my babies. All of these moments added together gave me the ability to take care of these precious girls!
I even remember the moment it hit me. The moment I knew that I loved these girls like any other parent loves their own biological child. This is what all the crazy days, all the sleepless nights, and all the tear-filled eyes were all about- these girls and giving them a safer life filled with countless people who love them- even if that's in our home and in our life for just a few months.