One of the perks of being a teacher is summer break. I jokingly tell people it’s what keeps all the teachers out of prison. A couple of months to recuperate and relax or catch up on all the things you let go during the year.
I was looking forward to my break, even with three little ones. I had days at the pool and park all imagined in my head. We got a couple of weeks of that, and then our littlest got sick. So sick, in fact, she ended up in the hospital for 12 days. It was a hard time, but we got through it. I stayed 8 of the nights, my husband 3, and our UMCH caseworker 1. One of our DFCS caseworkers asked if we HAD to stay at the hospital. It wasn’t even a question in our head. Maybe we didn’t have to, but we were. Can you imagine leaving a two-month-old alone in the hospital?
One day I walked up to the baby’s crib as a nurse was getting vital signs. The baby turned towards my voice, and the nurse commented as if she was speaking for the baby, “There’s the lady who had me.” I explained that I didn’t have her, I was her foster mom. She said, “Well, she doesn’t know that.” No, she doesn’t know. Even though it was a trying time for our family, it was a sweet time of bonding with the baby. Our life at home is hectic with two other little ones, and this one was so young and easy and slept so much, we hadn’t spent that much one-on-one time together.
We made it through and got discharged two days before our beach trip. We left the two babies with foster friends and took our daughter, her friend, and our three-year-old to the beach. It was a wonderful vacation. Relaxing and restful! Just what we needed!
We came home, and five days later we were back in the hospital for the same reason. Another eight days then home with a PICC line for another six days. When we were on the way back to the hospital, I wanted to cry. I was so frustrated and worried. Then I was just at peace. I was learning about being faithful. Faithful to our commitment to this baby. This baby who doesn’t know I didn’t have her. Faithful to this baby who fully depends on us to meet all her needs. The old hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” was in my head all night. A great reminder of my Father who is faithful to meet all my needs.
I’ve needed repeated reminders. I’m quick to forget. I’m quick to worry. Another false alarm trip to the ER about sent me over the edge. This journey is not easy. I’ll be honest; I have moments that I think it’s too much. I think about how easy my life could be if we weren’t fostering. Then I think back to that hospital room. One day I was holding our baby and next door a 22-month-old woke up from a nap and started to cry. She was alone. She was also in DFCS custody and had been there a few days. She didn’t have a family yet. The nurses often kept her with them behind their station, but it’s not the same. The comparison of one baby who was loved and one who was alone had me in tears. If we weren’t fostering, I wonder who would have my baby. I wonder if she would be loved. I wonder if they would have stayed?
I have no idea what the future holds for her or for how long we will be able to care for her. While we have her, she will be loved and cared for. Her needs will be met. We will be faithful.
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!