So much can happen in just a moment, an instant.
Today, my moment lasted 23 minutes and it changed everything inside of me.
At exactly, 3:32 PM, I received a text message asking if I’d be willing and able to pick up the biological newborn sister of one of my boys.
My immediate spoken answer: Yes.
My heart answer: Yes.
My head answer: that emoji with the squiggly line mouth and the worried eyebrows.
You see, I’ve already deliberated about this one.
Since I found out this birth mother was pregnant with another baby, I’d talked with the Lord about her. I wondered if she’d look like her brother since they don’t share the same paternal genetics. I’ve wondered if she’d be loved, fed, bathed, held… or if she’d fight hunger and filth like her brother clearly did.
We long ago decided that if this new baby came into care and if we were asked to care for her, we would say yes. It didn’t matter that I am not a baby person or that we had nothing for a baby yet. This baby was my baby’s sibling and we would say yes to her.
I prayed for this baby during her pregnancy. I asked that God not allow substances to damage her frail systems, that no matter Birth Mom’s, God would protect this baby.
I cried when I found out Birth Mom had been pushed down several stairs and had bleeding. Several weeks later, I sighed with relief when I found out that they had heard the baby’s heartbeat again.
I wondered if this was the baby God was forming to finish our family.
I wondered if I should even wonder that.
I wondered if she’d make me a permanent #girlmom.
I wondered if my heart was in the right place for this family.
I wondered about this linked-to-me baby that wasn’t mine at all, every day. And I had to push this baby out of my mind to keep worry at bay.
Then, one day, I received an email with pictures of this Baby Girl born a couple weeks before, weighing 6 lbs exactly. She was precious.
I asked the necessary questions:
Was she safe?
Was she healthy?
Would she be coming into care?
If so, would they allow her to come to our home to keep siblings together?
And I wondered the questions I could not ask…
Would we ever meet her?
What would have to happen to her first?
Would it be too late?
Would this sweet boy that I love, who lives in my home, be able to meet his sister?
I was told that since she had moved, our circuit had no jurisdiction. They would keep me in mind if they found out she did.
And that leads me to the 23 minutes that changed my life…
At 3:32 PM, I received a text asking me if I’d be able to pick up this tiny baby, if necessary.
Then, I got another text from a supervisor asking if I was busy?
She called. “Do you have one of the Smith children?…Would you be willing to take the sibling, if the need arises?”
I explained, yes, we’d like to keep siblings together.
The supervisor filled me in on the situation. They weren’t sure what would happen, but she would let me know.
I immediately called my husband, and we started formulating a plan.
What would we do with the rest of the week?
Will it even happen?
Can I handle this?
Isn’t this what we’ve been wanting?
Is this really what we want?
I just thought maybe I’d potty trained my last child?!
We shouldn’t get our hopes up.
We’re supposed to be on the family’s team.
How would they have any jurisdiction anyway? Seems kinda wonky.
I don’t know if I can do this. I’m not a baby person.
And we hung up as I assured him I would let him know what they told me.
Then, I whispered a short prayer, thankful that God knows the words I’m meaning to say.
I made sure my phone was turned on and the volume was up, then I waited.
I waited with butterflies in my stomach for another six minutes before the supervisor texted me back.
Her text was simple:
Two short words with no punctuation or explanation.
And I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted.
I wanted my son to know his sister.
I wanted his sister to never feel hungry, cold, dirty, or unloved.
I wanted her to know what a family feels like.
I wanted to meet her and hold her.
I wanted to help this family become a family again.
I wanted to mean my yes,
…to commit fully without hesitation,
…to look fear in the eyes and do the work anyway.
Before, I wasn’t sure.
This past year has made me question my capability.
But in just 23 minutes, everything changed, and now, I know.
I know my yes.
Do you have your own foster care experience? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.