When we decided we were ready to tackle fostering a newborn we were told it would take months to get a call. This was perfect because we were still grieving the goodbye of our Little J. It took exactly three days to get a call that would change our family, forever.
I said yes to the call, then called my husband almost laughing while the words came out of my mouth, “We don’t even have a car seat,” I said. I stopped at the store and bought a car seat, no clothes, no diapers, no formula, no wipes, see where I’m going here?? Y’all, I was a nervous mess! I can only imagine what the nurses must have thought when I arrived with nothing more than a car seat. Whatever their thoughts, they did a good job hiding their judgement. They showed me to his little crib, and there he slept, this tiny 6.5 lb baby boy. I was overwhelmed and began to weep. I was thinking of the mom who should be standing over him, nervous to bring him home. The mom who should be rocking him to sleep that night. The mom who should be worried if he is eating enough, or making enough wet diapers. The mom who should be up all night with the baby she carried in her womb for nine months. The mom, what was her story?
Two months later his mother would call me. We had become her support system so it wasn’t abnormal for her to call. It was with this call that she asked us to adopt him. I actually tried to talk her out of it, telling her she could do this, she could parent him. It would have been hard, but she could do it. Besides, I loved him, but not like a mother. I couldn’t adopt. Yes, I just said that out loud.
You see, bonding with our son did not come easily. I was guarded because he would not be ours forever, and I was still grieving, not ready to fully allow myself to love. He made it easy for the bonding to be a slow process, you see, by no fault of his own he was a MISERABLE baby. For the first two months he literally screamed non-stop. He would projectile spit up multiple times a day. He didn’t and still doesn’t sleep. People would ask if we hoped to adopt (a question I could go on a soap box about but won’t) and it was an easy no, because he wasn’t easy, and I wasn’t ready. But God.
Few things in life prepare you for these moments. These moments where God just jumps in and changes your perfect plan. I drove and picked up his birth parents and we went to the meeting where they would sign their rights away. I sat next to his mother, holding her hand as she so bravely loved him enough to let him go. If she could love him that much, could I ever really love him more? I began to pray. BUT GOD. This has become the anthem of my heart. BUT GOD. I cried out to him, “Give me the love of a mother for him. Help me.” Oh, friends. He is so good. It was as if I could literally feel my heart change.
Now, 11 months later he is a forever member of the Bradley family. A missing piece we didn’t know we needed. He is BUSY, and funny. He loves all of HIS humans and not much of anyone else. He still is a fan of not sleeping and I spend my days fueled with caffeine. But, Oh, how I wouldn’t change one moment. He is the most beautiful and perfect gift, and he is now and will forever be, mine.