From mourning to laughter: Birthday surprises

I had just finished packing up and moving our foster daughter, Marisol, out of our home so she and her family could move out of state. She had lived with us on two separate occasions over the past year and we loved her and her family so much. Watching her go left us bereft and the sadness seemed to hollow us out.

The following day was my Eddie’s birthday and we did our usual: skip school and do whatever he wants! So we did. But it never amounts to much because he just isn’t an idea man. After lunch, we headed home and I got a phone call from our foster care agency. It was a surprise since we were specifically on the “do NOT call list” since our lives were still on the epilepsy roller coaster at the time. Odd, since the placement desk person, Jeannie had called me the week before to just “chat.”

She didn’t even say hello. Jeannie just blurted out “Hey, has Marisol moved out with her mama yet?….Because Marisol’s social worker has a newborn she really wants placed in your family. She specifically asked for you. And by the way, can you pick her up from the hospital by about 6 pm?”

I was a little taken aback but admittedly intrigued. OK, let me think this through. So I got the details and told her I would call back after I talked to my husband. And my pitch was this: “I won’t be mad if you want to say no. We can say no. Or you can listen to your crazy wife who really wants to say yes. I don’t know why, I just want to say yes. But its ok if we say no.” So he listened to his crazy wife. Then I started laughing and I couldn’t stop. THIS IS CRAZY, but I LIKE IT! I wanted to say yes, because I COULD say yes.

I laughed all the way to Target because I had given away all the carseats, the baby clothes, the glider, the bottles, everything I had for babies because a month before we said we would never take another baby. And then I changed my mind. I am a woman, I have the right to change my mind. (This is what happens when I say “never”). I was in stitches when Eddie and I picked out just 2 new baby outfits and a carseat. And the basics we needed to get through the night. Then, I texted my cousin and said “Help! I need stuff for a baby girl!!” And she gathered the troops and supplied practically every need…alongside my mother in law. People I had never met gave us bags of beautiful clothes for this little person who needed a home. So amazing!

And I laughed for four hours straight until we showed up at the hospital with the new carseat and our driver’s licenses, signed a few documents, and then we were ushered into an empty room. With only a baby. She had hardly been held in the two days since she had been born and I felt the enormity of her solitude and smallness in that big, sterile hospital room devoid of love or warmth. I remember rushing over to her crib and scooping her up. My first words to her were, “Oh Little Baby, we will be your family!” And all the hollow places filled up inside me. But I didn’t intend to get attached since we had been told that she would only be with us a few months. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were quite literally carrying home our own bundle of joy. It felt like we were stealing and as we exited the hospital, I was afraid the buzzers would go off like we were taking unpaid for merchandise. It never happened.

Well, thosIMG_3204e few months turned into 2 years and today is her birthday. I can’t stop smiling because she truly is going to be ours forever someday soon. She has stolen all of our hearts and has refused to give them back. Sue is a whirling dervish of naughty joy. She is a licker (as opposed to a biter), she is bossy, she is goofy and she hath the motht irrithithtable lithp. Her first “feelings” word was happy. And when I picked her up from daycare after sitting in a courtroom in a long and difficult settlement conference where her birthmother would agree to relinquish her parental rights, I walked into her classroom and she looked up. Light filled her face as a smile meant just for me spread over it and she proclaimed in her sing-song voice, “Happy, Mama! I happy, Mama!!” And I would sit in 1,000 more courtrooms if I had to in hopes to keep it that way.

And it floors me every time I think, that on this day 2 years ago, I had no idea this little beauty, full of love and brimming with happiness was to enter my life on Eddie’s birthday. I cannot imagine my life without her these past two years, we needed her so much. I thank God every morning when I walk in to her smile and her cheery little voice says, “Hi Maaaw-muh!! It’th awethome, Maaaaw-muh!” Yes it is!




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