Love Comes Softly

I’ll be honest, when the call came asking if we would foster Baby J. in fewer than five minutes I had said, “no.”  I had plenty of good reasons; there were numerous complications with his case.  Plus, we were busy.  We weren’t even in the state at the time.  I was already numb with grief and had five kids to care for, never mind two new puppies.  I had no time for one more thing.078

But, he stayed on my heart, I felt no peace, and they called again.  They didn’t have anyone else who could stay home with him.  They needed someone who could really care for his special needs. Yes, they could get someone else, but it wouldn’t be a good situation for the baby.  I said we would consider it.  Then, I hung up and asked God to send someone else.

He sent us.  Sometimes God says, “no.”  And that’s okay.  Because He knows better than I do what J. needs, what I need, what my family needs.  I’m not the first one to beg, “Oh, Lord please send someone else.”  These words are just an echo of Moses, who spent nearly an entire chapter of Exodus trying to convince God that He had the wrong man, his words uncannily like my own:  “But Moses said, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.’” (Ex 4:13)

Before we even brought him home I was determined to care for J. while holding firm the knowledge that he was leaving in just a few weeks.  I begged God to help me not to love him, feeling guilty for even asking it, because he deserved a mother’s love and I knew that if I didn’t love him, who would?

Weeks stretched quickly into months, and my prayers grew more urgent.  “Lord, please take him away soon. I know it’s better for him to be safe with us, but I just can’t go through this again. ”  I caught myself calling Matt “daddy” to him and myself “mommy.”  I heard my five year old singing to him, “I love you, baby brother.  I love you, and you are my favorite.”  I looked into the crib and saw his pudgy cheeks and thick lashes, and my heart lurched.  He straightened his weak legs, held his own weight for a moment, and I was ridiculously proud.  He rolled over for the first time, and the whole family cheered.  He cried in his crib, and I went running.  He saw me and broke into an enormous gummy grin, the tears still wet on his cheeks, and I scooped him up and cuddled him and blew raspberries into his neck.  Then we both laughed with abandon.  And tears welled and spilled from my eyes to his soft curly hair because I realized it had happened.   Softly creeping in over the days and weeks and months, love for this baby had blossomed and grown and was now firmly rooted.

What if he rolled over and no one cared? What if he cried in his crib and no one came?  What if he smiled and no one smiled back?  He deserves to be loved, especially if it’s only for this brief time.  And I thank God that he told me “No” yet again and has given me the privilege to be his instrument of love to this baby.

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