20 Mar All I Can Do
I had a frightening dream the other night.
It was a fairly normal setting for me:
While at a play date at the park, my son was playing on the playground, I was catching up with friends and my infant foster son was napping in my bassinet stroller. All seemed normal in the dream until I went to peek in on the baby and realized he wasn’t there. The stroller was empty, no baby, just a blanket and his toy. My heart stopped and suddenly I couldn’t breath. Where was the baby?! Did I leave him in the car? Was he at one of the many places I had run errands that morning? How do I find him as quickly as possible while still handling my 3-year-old son?
The emotions were overwhelming and intense – the task of finding him before he was harmed seemed impossible. I felt scared, panicked, alone and utterly defenseless. Suddenly, everything in my environment disappeared as I stood in a fuzzy sea of beige with nothing but this empty stroller, a debilitating anxiety and myself.
Of course I woke up, thank goodness, and my fears eased when I realized it was only a nightmare. After wiping the sweat from my forehead, I heavily contemplated what the dream meant-obviously it was formed by my subconscious. Was I secretly afraid I was going to leave the baby somewhere and forget him? No, I’m always hypersensitive to where my children are at all times, that thought has never even crossed my mind. Did I fear someone would kidnap my children? Sure, that’s an inescapable phobia that comes along with parenting.
When I described the dream to my husband, he immediately knew where it was coming from. “It’s the case surrounding this baby,” he explained. “At this point you have no idea where the system is going to take him, and ultimately you’re feeling the truth – that you have zero control.” Just like with Baby T, he was with you everyday, play dates, errands, appointments for over 300 days, and then- just like that-he vanished from our lives. Empty crib, empty stroller, unused toys and leftover diapers. Even though the outcome of that case has turned out great, we didn’t know that at the time-and we certainly couldn’t control it.”
My husband was absolutely right. We are at a point in our case that’s very unsettling. I’m feeling scared, uncertain and paralyzed about the future of this baby that we have all grown to love (these feelings resurface with every child that comes into our home). The case looks like it’s headed in one direction, but I’m well aware of how that road can veer off in a micro-second, sending us all into a tail-spin. Of course, I will do what I can on a daily basis to do right by this child: smother him with love, affection and stability. Regardless of how much I do, the core of me will always be afraid for him. Just as a parent has those instinctive fears for their children’s safety (pedophiles, car crashes, bullies), a foster parent always has the fear of the system harming their foster children. Many cases turn out wonderfully, you just don’t want yours to fall into the percentage that is less than wonderful.
So with all my fears I feel comforted in making this promise to all of my children, whether you’re with me or not:
I promise to always love you, hurt for you, and fight for you with everything in my power. I may be one person, but I’ll find the strength of 1,000 mommies to do everything I can for you. Because no matter what the courts, papers or agencies may decide- I will always, always be your Mommy.