Recently On Life In My Tin Can I have written about conversations I have had with woman who were not ready for motherhood.
I believe some events in life set the sail for who we are and where were going.
I wrote this back in 2010 in a beginners writing class. I have been waiting to share it with you because I felt you needed to see some of my backlog leading up to why I became a Foster-Parent. The teacher asked us to pick a paragraph out of the book we were reading “Dead End In Norvelt” and tie it in with our own life. I choose page 196 paragraph two.
In such a fertile home devoted to beauty, love and understanding only one thing was missing-A child. My sister was a little too old for motherhood but in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor when Japanese Americans were being rounded up and sent to internment camps, a Japanese couple with a new baby arranged for their infant son to be adopted by my sister and her husband. This way the child would have a loving home and not have to be sent to prison camp and suffer the hardship and shame of that life. I remember that beautiful baby and the love my sister and her husband graced upon him. They had an angelic 6 months together until the federal government tracked that baby down and took him all because he was of Japanese origin An enemy of America in diapers.”
I can relate a bit to this part in the book because six or seven years ago I got my Foster Care license and fostered a little boy by the name of Jordan . He was around six weeks and weighed maybe a little over five pounds. I had only been a foster parent to one other little guy before Jordan his name was Thomas and I only had him for three or four weeks.
When I had gotten the call to see if I wanted an infant, I was so excited! Usually in foster care if you get a call for an infant seven times out of ten you will be able to adopt the child. So I made a few calls before picking him up. I called my mom for advice, did she think I was ready for this. I lined up a babysitter that I trusted for when I had to work. I wanted to be prepared.
When I went and got him at the State Office (DCFS) all by myself all he had with him was this plastic sack full of formula and diapers, and what looked like used stuff animals, and extra used clothing. I could not quit thinking of that plastic sack and how it spoke volumes of his abandonment and how very alone this child was. The things in that sack should have been his, picked out with him in mind new things to welcome him to a new place. He should not have to be checked out of a hospital into a state office, surrounded by strangers. In this moment I realized how sad I felt in a moment when I thought that I would only feel excitement. The fact that he didn’t realize any of this made the lump in my throat so much bigger.
At the time I did not have a child of my own, so this is the path I decided to take, because I so much wanted to be a mother. This is why, while in that state office I was so happy but so sad. Happy to have a baby to take care of but so sad about the cards he was dealt. I decided regardless of how scared I was to take him home, because of his medical history, addicted to crack and methadone, and born from an abruption because his mother decided she was going to do heroine one night which caused her to go into labor. I was just going to love him, spend my entire time holding, rocking, kissing and singing to him and I did throughout his entire detox, which would cause him to shiver and shake. I held him through two seizures. I took of work to stay and lay with him at the hospital. I just knew in my heart that love was the answer for him, and I gave him all of it for the six months that I spent with him.
Then the call came. There was a woman who wanted to step up and claim him. After the DNA testing was done she was his father’s mother. His grandmother had three of his brothers and she wanted him as well. I struggled with the fact that she decided to take him too. I felt that because she had three children already and because I didn’t have any; she should see that I would be the better choice for him. Why couldn’t she see that? Why was she so selfish? She had enough on her plate as it was with the three other boys, a full-time job, plus she was older and couldn’t keep up with his needs the way that I could. I know she felt that he should be there with her and with his brothers. They were his blood family.
Why is “flesh and blood” so important? Wouldn’t the whole process be much easier if they didn’t search for the “real” family? They could save a whole lot of time and money that way. Unfortunately children cannot just be distributed out to people just because they want a child so badly. I know morally that they shouldn’t be, but at the time those thoughts were a way that I could vent my frustration. If the world worked like that it would be better for people like me. In that fantasy, I found comfort.
The day they came to take him away, and drove away just like that, after all the heart that I put into this child, I cried in my mother’s arms like a baby. She just held me and let me cry, lost, powerless, helpless and empty, something you can’t feel unless you are there yourself. Children have a way no matter biological or not, if you let them in your heart you are never the same. The day he left I felt as if I gave him more than just a plastic sack. I gave him a stable place to live, a crib every night to sleep in, cloths that were fresh, food that was hot, and love to hopefully last that little guy a lifetime and with this said I too was also proud of what I gave him. Being a foster parent was bitter-sweet.