Now to back up a bit! Yesterday was so much fun. The days we get new kids are so special! I remember the arrival date of most of the kids along with their birthday. And this year it's becoming easy to remember: January 16, February 16, September 16, and June 3 and July 3 we got kids. Plus other dates, including my sister Sarah's birthday.
It started yesterday when we were at social services office to meet with the new lady who will be working with us to start our foster family program. As we began to wait and wait and wait, I went over to the secretary of child protection department (who has changed out since I first let them know we'd take in a small baby). I said "I know that you called yesterday about a one year old and my staff said no, because we are out of cribs and highchairs, but we are willing to take in a very small baby." Her eyes grew big and she said "really?" I'm like REALLY. She said "We have a baby right now, today! The hospital has been calling constantly asking when we'll move the baby to a home."
She called over the head of the department who said "How good! It's a rather complicated situation..." and he started explaining about the mother while I realized that the secretary and a social worker were starting to make calls about getting the baby out of the hospital. Must be young, I thought. As I thought back later, I never exactly said yes, it all just happened.
The next minute, I had the entrance memo in hand and was signing. There I realized it was a GIRL!! Everyone had been saying "el bebe" so I wasn't sure before. I normally never care what it is, a baby is a baby, but this time 6 of our youngest 7 are boys, and if simply for reasons such as clothing I was secretly hoping the next would be a girl!
If they hadn't already reprinted the memo once (the baby was going to be sent automatically to the main way overcrowded baby home here) I think I might have requested a name. Only I have lots of Spanish boy names that I like, mainly from the Bible, but no girl name was coming to me.
As I prepared a text message "IT'S A GIRL!!!" to send to volunteers just because I had to tell someone and was nearly knocking Rosa over with my enthusiasm, I suddenly recalled that since we haven't had time to pay my last two cell phone bills, they had cut my outgoing service, oops. If I had had been able to, I might have called the staff to chose a name?? Anyway, now it is what it is and our youngest two babies both have F names!
Then it was back to waiting for the lady for our foster family meeting. As excited as I had been about this meeting, anxiously awaiting it for a week, all desire to be there had evaporated in a new baby induced haze. =) It had been decided that we would go pick up the baby from the hospital, a first for us, with the Child Defense psychologist on the case, and it took all my self-control to not say "Rosa, have fun with the meeting, I'm going to get my baby!"
The lady appeared at last and along with two other lawyers we had what was actually a very productive meeting regarding our foster family program. One of the lawyers is over all the children's homes and she in particular is in favor of foster families and pleased that we would be willing to launch a program. Now we're in constant coordination with her as well to get all the documents in order to be able to really and truly BEGIN, yeah!!
Finally we were on our way to the maternity hospital, just a few blocks away. Then began the long wait. We went to three places where the newborns are in the hospital and no one knew of the nameless abandoned baby girl. We found out there was an abandoned baby boy needing a home though. I said no, that's okay, I'll be perfectly content with one baby today!
For the next two hours we met with the Child Defense psychologist and social worker tending to this case, the hospital's social worker who had what seemed like 100 stories to tell us and questions to ask (and plenty of complaints about child social services...join the club!), and walking up and down and around the huge hospital multiple times just trying to locate the baby (I felt really suspicious asking the nurses "I'm here to pick up an abandoned baby", trying to act serious while flashing the official papers).
Meanwhile Rosa and I were getting multiple calls to our cell phones about visitors to the Baby Home and other things going on and we really needed to leave, but Rosa was also getting very anxious to meet the baby and didn't want to go. I was prepared to leave my car and come back for it later even though my day was packed (the big downside of having to drive is that you can't hold a baby at the same time).
But near mid-day, our new baby finally appeared at the door of the "dilating mothers" room in a nurse's arms. The hospital social worker carried her to a doctor to sign release papers, then handed her over to me. What bliss! I was nearly pinching myself to see if it was all a dream...seeing as I have recently dreamed twice of getting a baby girl but then woke up! Then I thought I truly have the best life in the world... In fact, if I weren't me, I'd be jealous of me! =)
Rosa went to meet the young mother, still hospitalized until the neurologist could see her, while I soaked in my new baby's tiny features. Amazing how quickly you can forget how precious a newborn baby is, and how little they weigh, even when you live with several a year! (In the picture above she's in a preemie outfit.)
Then we worked our way through terrible midday traffic to arrive back to the Baby Home near 1pm. I had only had a swig of water all day but was doing fine off adrenaline. It was fun to surprise the tias and kids since they had no idea we were coming home with a baby! We haven't received a small baby since March 26.
So that's the story of getting baby girl F! Each time a child arrives here, but particularly a rejected newborn, I feel so very privileged to get to be the one to rejoice that this baby exists. Sometimes I think that I'm the happiest person in the world that this baby is here...if that makes sense! It's a tragedy when babies are born to be burdens that no one wants.
Of course the flipside to this is that I now understand that loving deeply means that I can grieve deeply, too. Last night sleeping with her, if she moved I checked on her and if she didn't move, I checked on her! Her breathing is barely noticeable so I'd feel for her heartbeat. I don't think she would have ever woken for milk if I didn't finally just give it to her at 5am. So it's not her fault I slept just a couple hours, until the phone woke me prematurely.
Today she's been "working" with me in the office, doing a great job of distracting the others from their computers while she does cute things with her tiny mouth and hands. Right now she's curled up on me, stomach to stomach, ahhh...heavenly!
Well more news and pictures later I'm sure, but back to work for now.
Adios, Shana and Hillary - Thanks to Carla Booher for the blog! :) Wednesday night we had a "going away" party for two of our volunteers. Shana is from Texas and has been touring...
3 years ago