Finally in October 2010 I got the courage to tell Kent that I wanted to do foster-care. "I want to foster babies. Through our county's Department of Social Services. And I know it's crazy, but I just feel this calling to it and I've researched a lot and I just..." I was a nervous wreck. Not because I was afraid of Kent shooting down the idea, but because I was afraid he would love it and then I'd have to follow through. Oh and boy did he Love it. He agreed that we were a bit crazy, but he loved it as much as I did.
We started making phone calls the next day. I had a million reasons for why it just wouldn't work- they probably don't need anymore help with babies, we work full-time, we like to travel some, we have no kids of our own, we live in an apartment, we have limited childhood babysitting experience... No dice. DSS needs foster parents for all ages and was willing to train us, help with childcare, and figure out the rest.
It was the most interesting experience of my life and Kent would probably agree. Unlike most moms, I helped Kent put the crib together while I sipping wine. We scoured yard sales for baby clothes of every size and gender, not knowing what to expect. No one offered us a baby shower. And I'm not sure how I would have felt about it at the time, even if some one had offered. Although sometimes I now joke that my friends are going to pay up on the good stuff if I ever do have one. :)
One Friday in January, before our license had even made it to our doorstep (it was complete but not mailed yet), we both had the start of colds and were recovering from a very long week of chaperoning teenagers to Washington, DC. It was 5pm and I was headed to my car. Kent and I had big plans to sleep the weekend away. Of course, that is when I got the call.
"We have a seven month old baby boy. Can you take him?"
Everything in my sinuses screamed NOOO. But my heart and mouth said, "umm... let me ask my husband real quick..." We had agreed to not accept a placement without talking first.
And just like that Kent was recovered from his cold and we were rushing home to get the car seat.
He was 7 months old and 14lbs. He was adorable and his laugh sounded like a dolphin. He was a baby!
My best-friend's mom came by that night (they lived within walking distance), fed him his first jar of peas, and rocked him to sleep. Kent and I were shell-shocked.
No one sent flowers or filled our freezer with casseroles. In three months time we had become parents, but there was no stork sign or "He's a Boy!" announcements to send out. We weren't even sure what names to go by for each other and it's not like the baby was going to tell us.
The following weekend my cold was even worse and Kent had to leave for National Guard drill. When I got home from work that Friday (exactly one week as parents), I placed our sleeping baby down, still nestled in his car seat from the ride home, and I looked at that beautiful, sweet child who had just rocked my world... and I cried. I bawled like a baby.
We made it through those first few crazy weekends and we've been having the time of our lives on this foster-care adventure that has turned from a "one year trial adventure" into 3 years of the happiest, saddest, most anxiety filled, wonderful moments of our lives.
Our baby is 3 years old now and we've finally made it to the adoption battleground. No matter how the events of these upcoming months play out, I wouldn't trade these past 3 years for anything. I have a son who I love more than I thought was ever possible. A hug or a simple "I love you, Mommy" continue to rock my world every day. Life is beautiful.
South Carolina foster-care statistics show that there are for more foster-children of all age groups needing homes, than there are available homes for them.