20 Mar It’s A Boy
It had been a couple of weeks since our home was officially certified by Angels. Our training was complete and all necessary hoops were jumped through. “Supportive Husband” and I had thoroughly explained fostering to our 5 year old son and prepared him as best we could for what lay ahead. (He had long wished for another kiddo in our home.) After several false starts of potential placements the call finally came. A three month old baby boy needed our home.
There was one problem, however. As my Angels Clinical Case Manager explained, the authorities could not actually find him. So goes the reality of parenthood: as soon as you know of a child’s existence the worries begin. (And I am a worrier!) We went on stand-by for the next 24 hours, eagerly hoping for the safety and swift location of this innocent baby.
The next morning I was volunteering in my son’s classroom when I received the news we were waiting for: “baby boy has been found and can you pick him up in the next couple of hours?” Given the productivity of our stand-by time – installing the car seat, putting the final age-appropriate touches on the nursery, laundering the itty bitty baby clothes, and everything else anticipation prompted – WE WERE READY.
An hour and a half later I was at the shelter being handed an infant whose world had just been turned upside down. BUT he was safe. He was also fortunate enough to be placed in an Angels home where he would be loved by a family who was committed to his care until permanency, whether that be reunification with the bio-parent(s) or adoption. My Angels Clinical Case Manager accompanied me through this surreal experience and in what totaled no more than 30 minutes I left the shelter an actual foster momma.
When we arrived home I quickly realized I had a tired and hungry guy on my hands, one who had been through a very tumultuous 48 hours (…and who knows what before that). My momma mode kicked into gear. I fed him a bottle and got out a large, square swaddle blanket.
One of the many critical things that I learned in caring for my son when he was 0-4 months old was the art of swaddling. I do not mean the pre-fabricated wrap and velcro variety. I mean a serious womb-mimicking “is-this-TOO-tight?” swaddle, complements of the Happiest Baby on the Block. So, I dusted off the cob webs and retrieved from my brain the swaddling technique that had helped soothe my son so long ago. After wrapping Sweet Baby Boy snuggly in the blanket, I rocked him to sleep in my arms and carefully laid him down in the crib. I stood there for a minute or two smiling and watching him sleep. A wave of pride came over me as I congratulated myself as “master swaddler and foster mother extraordinaire”. I took a quick picture of him for Supportive Husband and left the room.
He slept for three hours that afternoon, his longest nap to date.