Picking Up Baby

Our experience of welcoming a child into our lives is so different from the images we see and the stories we hear that writing about it has been difficult for me.

Both boys that sleep peacefully in my home as I type came into the world in similar ways.

Their birth mothers did not know that they carried life for months as the tiny bodies developed.

Both boys were born in hospitals and then stayed in those hospitals for weeks.

They were cared for by doctors and dedicated nurses whose faces we have never seen.

They were rocked by arms that only held them for a short time.  And then when the day came for those babies to go home . . . they were placed into temporary care.

Our oldest lived in the city apartment of a 76-year-old woman and baby Cam was placed in an upstairs apartment of a 58-year-old nurse.  There was love, but there was no permanency.

We picked up Cole at the Department of Children and Families (DCF)  in the city.  He arrived in a cab with his foster-mother and a box of his belongings.  Business swirled around us, people smiled and moved on while our entire life shifted.  It felt dingy.  It felt uncertain.  It felt rushed.

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And then we put him in the car and drove home to our future uncertain.  It would be over a year before the adoption was finalized.

When it came time to pick up two month old Cam, we requested that we meet him at his foster mother’s.  I thought it would be more natural and less chaotic.

The truth is that is was still awkward and uncertain and it was hard.

We drove down an unfamiliar urban street.  People were hanging out in groups in front of houses and looked at us as we got out of our cars.  We followed an unknown DCF worker up stairs to a large white house I am unable to describe as I felt like I was walking through a tunnel of thoughts and emotions.  I remember he opened the door without knocking.  We entered a hallway and at the top of large wooden staircase he greeted a woman holding the a tiny baby.

I am sure she said hello, but I remember her greeting as being “He has colic!”

She placed the sweet-faced, cradle capped, little boy into my arms, bringing us into a living room while she bustled about gathering objects and telling us about the little one’s many medical issues.  She offered us a large medical book.  I declined, overwhelmed.

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The social worker sat.  Andrew collected the objects and put them into our car . . . a bouncy seat, a baby bathtub, bags of clothes and a large activity car for when he is much bigger.  And she talked.  She talked all about this little boy.  She was anxious.  He was sick.  He’d had a fever, tremors, seizures . . . and the words swirled and I tried to bring grace and peace.  I thanked her, reassured her.  And while we headed out the steepest back exit staircase, I handed the baby to Andrew and grabbed the handrail to steady myself.

The social worker spoke to me as Andrew placed the tiny baby in the cavernous car seat.  “The visits are on Mondays, so we will need to schedule that.”

I looked at him, overwhelmed by the whirlwind that was, and completely empty of understanding.  This baby has visits?  With whom?  “. . . Ok . . .”  I tried to say, tried to think.

“Maybe we will change that, I will call you . . . ”  He said more to himself than to me, and he was gone, waving and in his car.

And then we were in our car.  I have the same picture of Cam, in the car seat, but I cannot publish pictures of him.

And at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon I asked Andrew to please call our doctor.  We had a sick baby and a weekend ahead and I didn’t know what to do.

And the uncertainty began.

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Intentional Baby Items

10 Intentional Baby Items

In my last post I wrote about our debate as to whether or not to have an Adoption Registry.  Here are our top ten baby items to be thinking about when you may be having or receiving a baby.

Ergo Baby Carrier – This baby carrier is wonderful for so many reasons.  It keeps you close to baby and allows you to adventure with them for years (I carried our 3-year-old on my back in it).  Our baby falls asleep in it every time.  I sometimes moby our little guy at home, as it is softer, but if I had to pick one carrier, this would be it.  Intentional connection and adventuring.

Zutano Baby Booties – Babies do not need shoes, but as they grow having something that stays on their feet is ideal.  These booties stay on, they are snuggly and they are machine washable by a wonderful Vermont company.  Intentional clothing.

Swaddleme Swaddle Blankets – Newborns love to be swaddled.  We have found that our little guy falls asleep faster and stays asleep longer in a swaddle.  These swaddles are super easy and super-snuggly. Intentional sleeping.

Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base – We love this infant car seat.  It is highly rated and tremendously easy.  Intentional Safety.

Snap-and-Go Stroller These are two different purchases (making this list more than 10 items), but they go together.  If you need a stroller in those infant days then this snap and go is the way to go.  It is light and easy.  I like it better than the bulkier stroller that is part of the “travel system.”  Strollers are abundant.  This is best for shopping and small trips.  We move from this to an umbrella stroller.  You may want an additional jogging stroller.  Intentional travel.

Nursing Pillow – Though I am not breast-feeding, this pillow has still been very helpful for a baby who has had acid reflux and spits up a good deal.  It is easily portable and he can be propped up anywhere.  Intentional comfort.

Hape My First Gym – We absolutely love this little wooden “play gym.”  It has a mirror and a little bell.  I would choose it over a plastic one any day. Intentional play.

Side Snap Shirts – For early days these side snap shirts are ideal.  When baby spits up one does not have to take the wet and icky shirt up over baby’s head, instead it is easy on and off.  Diaper changing is easier.  These are a must.  Intentional dressing.

Sophie the Giraffe – Sophie is designed to “awaken baby’s senses.”  The design is intentional.  And the result is a beloved first toy and teether.  Intentional teething.

Cloth Diapers & Wash cloths – Maybe we are really unique to have two babies that spit up a lot, but these items have become central to our day-to-day.  We use the cloth diapers under the baby to protect whatever he is lying on and we use the wash cloths to wipe up spit ups throughout the day.  Intentional Clean Up.

Blankets – Having baby blankets around to lay down for tummy time or to bring along in the car is helpful.   Intentional stocking up.

An Adoption Registry?

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When Cole came to us we felt uncertain about everything.

Creating a registry just felt wrong.

We had a month to prepare.  This was not “our child.”  This was a child we had agreed to take care of . . . and so began my own journey of uncertainty about what really made me a mama (a story for another time).

Graciously friends and co-workers gave us boxes with clothes and gadgets and things.  We were independent and quietly walked forward into the unknown.

We knew more this time.  More about what we needed to gather.

We had five days this time.  I started searching Craigslist right away.  We were both working.  There was no weekend before baby would arrive.  So we decided to go ahead and go for it.  We would put a registry out there.

 

And we didn’t feel good about it.  It felt hard, to ask for other people to take their time, to use their money.

It felt worse when the story seemed to change in two ways . . . the baby had some real medical issues that we were not sure we could handle and the more we knew the greater the chance that this baby would return to his family of origin.

Honestly, we struggled with it.

Even as items began arriving at our door before the baby, it all felt hard.

 

But it did shift.

As friends and family purchased items and connected with us it started to feel like we were not alone.

As we came to feel sure that this baby would be with us for months, years, and hopefully, forever, we wanted more and more to share him and our adventures with him with others.  And even if it is not forever . . . he now enters the world with his first blankets and onesies from the people we love.  And that is a great beginning to a little life.

A humble and great heap of gratitude to our friends and family.

And for other foster-to-adopt-mamas, go for it, reach out and register.  It opens your hands to receive and isn’t that what adoption is about?