Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whew. What a Day

Whew. Yesterday was quite . . . the day.
Heidi and I flew up to Utah that morning to say goodbye to my dear Grandma. It wasn't really what we'd hoped it would be, but it was good. We then turned around and flew home (spent all of eight hours in a real winter; Heidi even got to touch actual snow!).
By the time we got home, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. As I was relating to Brad the events of the day, the phone rang. It was my foster care agency, needing a home for a child. For those of you who have been dying of curiosity to know about the life of a foster parent, here's a recap of my last sixteen hours:
9:15 pm--phone rings. The social worker asks if we can take a child tonight. All they know about the child is that it's an eight-month-old girl, born April 20, and that Mom is 17 and currently being detained by police. Can we go to Phoenix and pick her up? Refer to my experiences earlier that day. So tired. But how can you say no to a little child, who did nothing wrong, whose parents are idiots? You can't. So we got ready to leave.
10:00--arrive in Phoenix. We walk into the store, where Mom is being held by police for shoplifting. And not just light shoplifting. I guess she and two other ladies with 8 kids had been casing and trashing the store for 3-4 hours. Everyone else got away. She was illegal and wouldn't give any family info. So we walked in and took baby (another Baby A, if you can believe it) from Mom's arms, as she sits there sobbing. Can't speak English, can't understand English, and can't comprehend what's happening to her son (oh, did I say girl earlier? Nope, he's a boy. This came as a shock to both me and CPS). So we took him, loaded him in the carseat, and drove home.
10:45--Baby A begins crying. Totally freaked out by what's happening. He cries the rest of the way home.
11:00--Change his diaper. This is literally one of the fattest babies I have ever seen in my life. Rolls on top of rolls. SOOOO big. I try to feed Baby A a bottle, try to comfort him, try to rock him, even just try to get him to lay down on my shoulder. No dice. I don't know what to do.
11:30--bedtime. I leave Baby A, crying, in the playpen in the guest room with the monitor on. Maybe he only needs to cry for a few minutes.
12 am--still whining a little. I decide to turn off the monitor so Brad can sleep and I'll check in 10 minutes.
12:30--dreaming that I forgot the baby in the basement and that he died. NOT a good dream.
1 am--coughing Rum-Diddy rousts me from my slumber. Scares the crap out of me (re:dream of 30 minutes ago), and I turn on the monitor. Baby A is sleeping peacefully while Hyrum is coughing non stop. So exhausted, I give Hy Dimetapp instead of Robitussin and clamber back into bed.
1:10--Mentally process medicine misdose, stumble back to Hyrum's room and fill him full of "Tussin."
6:10--alarm goes off. Time to be Mom to my other 7 kids. But I'm hammered, and I can't get up.
7 am--Brad gets up with all the kids, gets them out the door to school, and lets me stay in bed until 8 (I know. I'm spoiled. Let me enjoy it!)
8 am--get up to all the commotion that is my house with the little boys underfoot.
10 am--Wake up Baby A. I was worried he was ok. I tried and tried and tried to get that baby to take a bottle. There was no way. I tried cereal and applesauce. No more than 2 bites. He was crying and (I'm sure) hungry, and there was nothing I could do for him. (Re: reference to fatness of child) I wasn't too concerned about him missing meals, but . . . you know. Moms worry about these things.
10:45--call to CPS. My years of mothering led me to deduce that he must be a breastfed baby. After talking to CPS, discovered that Mom was being released from custody at 12:30, and Dad wanted his son back now. They agree with my conclusion about the possibility of being breastfed. (That they agreed with me in itself is miraculous.)
12:15--CPS calls. They will be taking Baby back to Mom. "Who would have thought this baby was breastfed?" (That is a direct CPS quote. Really? Is it that farfetched?) But, they're "really busy, and can I take him to Phoenix?" (Like I have nothing else to do with my day!) No. I have three other sleeping babies. "Oh. Then we'll come get him right now."
1 pm--Baby A is loaded into CPS car and driven back to his mom.

Moral of this story: I still don't know. If you're illegal and underage and commit a felony (she stole enough for it to be a felony, even hid a gold chain around the baby's neck, nestled safely between two fat rolls), then you can be discharged in the morning. Not really a moral, I guess. If it were me, methinks I'd still be in custody, fighting with all the crazies.

Question: Then why do I do this?

Answer: I don't really know that either. I just feel like I need to be doing this at this time in my life. It's hard. Really hard. But I have been so incredibly blessed by my Heavenly Father, that if I didn't give back somehow, . . . . Also. I truly feel that the most Christlike service I can give in this lifetime is to take some other woman's child, love it like my own, treat it like my own, dress it and feed it and bathe it like my own, and, when she's capable, give that child back to her waiting arms. It wasn't that hard today (in fact, it was a little bit of a relief, as hard as that is to admit), but I know it will be gut-wrenching when they take our Jell-o away. Until that day comes, he's mine.

Until the next time the phone rings . . . (once it was at 3:50 am), my extra bed is empty, waiting.


  1. for y'alls info...jello does not have a dash in it...the jiggly neon colored one has a dash. the jiggly hispanic / native american mix colored one has NO DASH! i have authority over the name, having made it up


  2. All I cna say is, you are a good woman. That is not something I think I could deal with, the stress, the uncertainy. OY! But, I admire and respect you muchly for all you're doing, with fosters AND your OWN children.