This was a very nice academic post. Unfortunately I have found that when I see the foster baby (because she was announced at my house the day of a wake), I see my son dead.
So I am seperating myself from his family. I need to do what I have to do to keep walking this earth.
So yes, it is not bright n' shiney.
God is softening my heart. Everywhere I look I see articles and books on adoption.
It hit me today that this may not be because an adoption is in store for us.
I have written that I do not resent babies as I did after my previous miscarriages, that I do not deliberately try to avoid them. But if I were to be completely honest, this is not true. There is one little girl that I did not want to meet.
Not because of who she is, but of what she should be. What she is not now.
We were considering going to Disneyland with my sister and brother in law. This meant figuring out how to balance rides with the needs of a baby. While Chris wasn't sure (we were still trying to keep a business going), I had deliberately picked a couple groups of dates off in the summer. In the past we had gone on vacation with Laura and Mike, and I really enjoyed seeing them without anyone being locked into going to Lovington or Nashville. I worried about it being fair to ask them to hold Perry or watch Emily to go on some of the more advanced rides.
What I did not know, and what is part of the should have beens, is that Madison was in the works. Madison was about the same age as Perry, and is in foster care with Laura and Mike now, with the hope of adopting.
I knew the background of most of Laura and Mike's struggles to complete their family, and they knew it wasn't always easy for us either. Maybe it was a huge struggle for them to hold Emily and Perry when they were little, I do not know. But I love them for it. I laughed at Perry in his button up shorts and plaid pants, he reminded me of Uncle Mike, both with more laid back personalities. Emily and Perry both seemed at ease with them, and frequently napped, snuggling into curves of their chest in the way only a young baby can do.
Madison stings so much because we would have definitely gone to Disneyland. It might have been the start of a long string of visits with two cousins to play with (and annoy) each other. It would have suddenly seemed that the world was right again, that all things work towards good. We would have taken turns with the kids, and quite frankly the 'advanced rides' wouldn't have mattered. It would have been a celebration. The first time for Emily, Perry, and Madison. The first to go as complete families.
Now I envision well meaning church ladies telling my Mother in law that God took away Perry but gave them Madison. I see it in my mind and I become furious. I wish I could say that in reality this isn't going to happen. Unfortunately people do not get that every person, even little ones, create a space in this world, and when they leave it, nothing fills it because nobody else will ever fit the contours they carved.
Madison and Perry should have been playmates. The children should have played together, slobbered on shared toys as the adults foolishy worried about germs. Cried about toys, blankets, and parents they did not want to share. Tugged on each others hair and squalled at imagined slights. Been fascinated at another person who was their size in their worlds that were largely populated by big people.
So here is the message I got- It is important to accept her as I would any other smiling baby. That the most important background, beyond culture or genes is that we are all in the family of God. To take and accept her wholeheartedly for whatever time we are given.
I guess I was struggling to fit her in my new world context where Perry isn't physically here, because of how happy we should have all been together. I also struggled with how to fit a child in who can be taken in the blink of an eye.
Yes any baby can be taken from SIDS or by accident... but the odds are in your favor. However, the amount of hoped for adoptions that fall through in the public relm of 'the system' is frightening. Adoption is as precarious as any high risk pregnancy. There are no guarantees, especially in a society that is set on maintaining parental rights to the extent that children are often half grown and bounced through a series of foster homes before action is finally taken. I have realized that we need to value and enjoy her with the understanding that our time together can stretch through a lifetime or be cut short from workings beyong our control. Would we have loved Perry any less if we realized our time together was short? No. The time with Madison, whether measured in months, like Perry, or in years should be valued. If they are to take her away, her time with our family should be no less meaningful than if she is to spend her life with all of us. This time, whether short or long, is important to her.
I still can't say if my rule of no baby holding will stand firm. Perhaps it is a little childish, but my maturity has been stretched thin. In a way it is like saying I am going to hold my breath until God gives me another child, but the other option means facing that Emily may be an only child (here) again permanently.
And I'm not ready for that.