Love Carries On…



I have been wrestling in my mind with this blog post for a few months now and even as I begin writing I am unsure if I can share with you this part of fostering without offending anyone. Sal and I truly appreciate the support and encouragement we have received from friends, family, neighbors and even strangers. However with that being said I still feel compelled to share this part of the process. 

We decided 2 years ago to become foster parents it took about a year to go thru the training, prep our home and pass all inspections. We finally became foster parents and 3 babies later we are now closing in on a completed year of fostering babies. We knew this experience would bring significant life changes and stretch our love even more so. In the very beginning the special people in our lives were so happy for us and their excitement was palpable it made the leap to our first baby seamless. People stopped by, we were connected with long lost friends, we had such a flow of people it was amazing. We were high from excitement and slightly delirious from the baby and quite possibly from the complete lack of sleep! 

Then our placement left, as quickly as she came! Whoosh…it was over. Sal and I put on our best faces and moved forward; part of the forward motion was explaining to everyone she was gone. Each person we shared the news with reacted differently. We listened to them and we understood their shock of the suddenness, we tried to explain what this service actually requires and that sometimes the process ends with saying good-bye to these precious babies. 

When I would connect with a friend and/or family the first questions in order were: 

1. Do you still have baby? 
2. Are you going to be able keep him? 
3. When will you find out if you can keep him? 

And some time after they would ask how the baby was doing and also how we were doing? 

We try our best to explain the process… 

The second baby arrived within weeks of the first ones departure…we were so elated he was only 10 days old. He had stayed at the hospital longer than his bio mom and had no one to pick him up and even though we were still mending our hearts from our first placement we took the next giant leap of faith. We knew healing would come but we still needed to stay our course. Again family, friends, neighbors and even strangers encouraged us on. This baby was extremely difficult we slept 0 to none hours we were walking dead but we marched on and soon the support of people trickled in. I am sure one look at either one of us most likely scared people, walking by the mirror I shocked even myself the bags under my eyes came as far down as my neck, that was a scary and challenging time for us. Our placement cried and cried and I can’t remember when he was not in my arms and I am sure there were moments but my memory is filled with a baby in my arms 24-7. 

At almost 5 months our placement was to move on… the day had arrived for placement 2 to go join his family and be adopted by a loving family member.   We believe there was a reason for our placement to continue their journey. We knew this formidable change was going to really hurt and it did. The loss was so difficult to describe let alone having to share the news with our friends and family. After saying good-bye we both had to walk into the nursery, which seemed unusually quiet and empty just like our hearts. You see we have found each placement takes a piece our hearts with them, we will remember them and we will wish them nothing but love–always love.  

Yet again when I would connect with a friend and/or family the first questions in order were:
 1. Do you still have baby? 
 2. Are you going to be able keep him? 
 3. When will you find out if you can keep him? 

We do our best to try to explain our process… 

This is the part that is hard to convey, this journey we chose to be on is one of service, which requires us to walk into each experience with our hearts worn on the outside. We realized after the first placement that of course we could guard our emotions with each baby and as we spend each day with a new baby we could negotiate what we were willing to offer to them. 

Was that being authentic? 
Do we help these babies with conditions?  
Do we waiver our intent?  
Do we self protect in the name of guarding our emotions? 

The third placement arrives at 14 days old and we are filled with nervous energy and excitement. We take him in and we are quieter about this placement’s arrival as we embrace him in the comfort of our home. This time there an only a handful of people who come by. It seems that our journey is too much for some of our family and friends. 

I understand… 

Each loss is great. 

Each baby captures hearts. 

Each separation bruises. 

But here is what we have learned you don’t need to wait for the stars to align. You don’t need to wait until the situation fits into your expectations. You don’t need to give only when you know there is something coming right back.  All that is required is to show up and to allow the process to unfold. I think that has become difficult for some of our family and friends. I definitely do realize that each person is truly concerned and slightly protective of us.  For those who have chosen to not come around I don’t think they are being insensitive at all. I simply feel they are looking at this journey from a different perspective and this journey is unique and as a whole it can be treacherous with your emotions. You truly live each day in the present. I found a greeting I have adopted with each placement, each morning I wake them with this greeting “Good morning sunshine, we get to spend another day together!”  I find this greeting provides me with a gentle reminder that each moment is special. Choosing to live and breathe within each day I find the comfort and that comfort sustains me. 

If one of our placements end up becoming a permanent member of our family I want to know that we did not hold back, we did not do this work with conditions, we did not negotiate expectations, we did not waiver. 

We simply showed up. 

We did the work.

We stretched ourselves. 

We looked to our bundle of joy to remind us of our work and when we needed support we looked up to the stars believing that we on the right course. I hope sharing our experience, you will have a better understanding of our journey and maybe you will choose to do something simple, symbolic and inspirational. You don’t have to wait for something big… 

You show up. 

You do the work. 

You stretch yourself. 

You believe. 

You give. 

You receive. 

You understand your placement in life.

Planting Peace…Shelley