T minus 18 hours. This shit is about to get Real. About as Real as it Gets.
On the 13th, our amazing friends and family threw us a Fosterbaby shower. It was so lovely and precious and unusual and celebratory, I can’t believe it happened, and I can’t believe how enormously necessary it was. I didn’t even know we wanted one until a butt-kickingly cool girlfriend suggested it and then made it sound totally normal, like every foster parent should have one before they’re certified. I can tell you that they don’t, just on the basis of how stunned our certifier was when we told her we wanted to wait on the final walkthrough until after the shower because there was stuff on our registry that we were going to need to get certified. (Think about the last baby shower registry you had to engage with. Do you remember there being a fire extinguisher? A medication lock box? A crib AND a toddler bed? Probably not.) I don’t think she’d ever heard of such a thing. A sad commentary on the way people view foster parenting, but I’m deeply grateful that our little tribe felt it was a no-brainer. There were cupcakes that I’m still dreaming about, and a lovely cake with wee ducklings, and champagne (a decided benefit to not being pregnant at one’s own baby shower). My sister and my niece took time out of their incredibly hectic schedules to make yummy things and plan goofy shower games, including a brilliant personalized MadLib that will, without a doubt, be framed for posterity. My nephew accidentally diapered a doll’s head shortly before an 8 month old baby stomped on his crotch and my husband was made to spoon-feed baby food to our little hobbity dog, who had been stuffed into a onesie that said “Wild About Auntie” on the front. It was a banner day.
We figured it would happen quickly. We’re fairly desirable real estate – stay-at-home foster dad, trauma-oriented child-therapist foster mom, no other kids in the home. The agency where I worked for 3 years is a huge name in DHS circles, and just dropping it causes a Pavlovian salivation response in caseworkers looking for foster caregivers with basic literacy in child psychology. So we knew we were going to have to be combat-ready as soon as the papers were signed. But the call came on Friday, before we were even certified.
Two and a half year old girl. Can’t give much more detail than that, because of confidentiality stuff. Suffice it to say that she is little, and adorbs (they sent us a picture), and she will be arriving at approximately 6pm Tuesday evening.
It is 11:55 on Monday night, and I am feeling ALL the feels.
Our family and friends have gone into high alert awaiting instructions on how best to help us, and every time I contemplate that I immediately tear up in soppy gratitude. People far and wide across our whole sphere are standing by to provide physical, emotional, practical and philosophical aid, because they love us and they believe in us, and they are totally excited about the insane adventure upon which we are embarking. I never knew how loved we were until now.
Her room is ready. We didn’t know it was her room until Friday night, but from that point forward it was her room. We know a few things about her, but she is mostly a mystery – a shockingly blonde pig-tailed gap-toothed mystery. Her name is an unusual one, and it is the one we chose for the baby we lost two years ago. Hard not to feel a little messy about that.
Unlike most foster care cases, we actually have a fairly good idea of where this one is likely to go. We know that we will not be considered an adoptive resource due to other viable relatives being available and willing. That is both sad and a relief – we know that we will pour love and life into her and she will leave us, but we also know what to expect and won’t get our hopes up. All in all it’s a pretty good first case for us.
This time tomorrow night, I will have in my ears the echo of her stompy stompy feet up and down the hallway, and I will be hoping that she stays in her bed instead of sleeping on the floor as she is reportedly wont to do. Or maybe I will be asleep myself, overwhelmed and drowning in wonder and fear and love and mystery. There will be a little body in the room that has been lovingly and meticulously prepared for it, and in the morning there will be a world of new things to learn. For all of us.
Here we go.