As I stepped up to the desk at NICU to meet our new foster baby, I tried to look like a pro. I showed my photo ID and was taken into a dimly lit room full of bassinets and nurses who were charting on the computers scattered about.
“Here she is,” the nurse said before hurrying off, “don’t pick her up until I go find her paperwork.”
I looked eagerly into the bassinette and beheld perhaps the ugliest baby I’d ever seen. Bug eyed, skinny, bald.
I guess they can’t all be cute, I thought with a grin, I really can’t wait to hear what Matt will say when he sees her, though. Then I noticed a blue card on the crib, declaring the baby a boy. I was looking into the wrong bed. I turned and found her behind me, much more normal looking. She was small and as bundled as could be in her swaddle and hat with a pacifier taking up most of her face. About all I could make out were her round cheeks and the fact that she was white, a detail we hadn’t known until then.
After an hour of standing there awkwardly, talking to her but not touching her, the nurse informed me that the paperwork hadn’t come through and I needed to leave. The social worker had told them about us and given all of our …
“We had another baby to place the day after Megan,” The licensing worker tells me over the phone, “But we thought we’d give you a few days to settle in before giving you another baby.”
“My boys keep complaining that we don’t have enough babies to go around,” I tell her, laughing, “They think we need three more so that they can each have one to hold all the time.”
Less than a week later the phone rings again.
“It’s DHS! It’s DHS!” Joey calls excitedly, handing me the phone, “Say, ‘yes,’ Mom! Say, ‘yes!’” He’s literally jumping up and down, a standard response from him. DHS could call and ask us to take five ax murders and my boys would enthusiastically beg me to say yes. I shush him and go hide in the laundry room to take the call.
“We have a 4 month old baby girl who may need a new placement,” The worker tells me, “I know you already have Megan, but was wondering if your boys really wanted another baby to hold?”
I tell her I’ll talk to Matt and call her back. I call Matt. We talk and pray together. I pray alone. I pray for hours as I go about my day. I call Matt again. We talk some more. Finally, I call her back.
“If you really need us to take her we will, but if …