January 11, 2012 by greenhouse04
We ate at the 11th Street McDonald’s in a town nearby last Monday. It was the four of us – Mr. and me, Eddie and Emma. While we were there, I had a sudden strong memory of eating in McDonald’s with the kids a year ago – in January of 2011.
At that time we’d had Eddie for about 3 months and Emma was only a little over 2 months old. She stayed in her baby carrier (which I sat on the table) while Eddie and I ate. Eddie was an even slower eater back then, so we were there for almost an hour. There were two elderly ladies at a table nearby who watched Eddie with interest. Of course they thought he was adorably cute, but I also heard one of them comment to the other that “he minds her very well!” This made me quite pleased, of course.
I also held Emma for a while and fed her, and if you have kids, you know how a baby suddenly makes you a noticeable person. Everyone has to catch a glimpse of the tiny new life and her mommy. (Whereas, if you’re in a public place without kids, you’re practically invisible.)
Being a mommy was still fairly new to me, and I was enjoying it fully that day. Eddie had finally warmed up to us, and was becoming a fun, bright, obedient little boy. Of course, I always relished being Emma’s mom – I don’t think I could’ve had more fun with any other baby (a biological one included). So it was a good day at McDonald’s, and I left feeling fulfilled as a mother and proud of my children.
But then reality hit. Either that day or sometime within the next few days we were told that Eddie would have his first overnight visit with his birth mom, and the overnights would continue every week and gradually increase to two, then three, then four nights a week over the next few months. That’s when I gave up hope of ever adopting Eddie, and had to again realize that this fun, fulfilling little family wouldn’t be a family forever. I grieved the loss of that dream after I heard about the overnight visits, and then put the dream behind me. I truly thought for many months that Eddie would go home to his birth mom. There was also many times when I deeply feared that we would lose Emma, too, which felt like I was losing my child to death.
Such is the nature of foster parenting, and we were warned of this and freely chose it when we signed up. But it’s still awfully hard!
So now, as you can imagine, I sometimes have to pinch myself to see if I’m living in a dream! After giving up on and even grieving the possibility, we’re actually adopting Eddie! And God has miraculously protected Emma and kept her in the arms of our family! In fact, there are absolutely no more visits with birth parents, no more seeing them at doctor visits, no more scary phone calls from their caseworkers. Praise the Lord, 2011 is OVER!!
[Things aren’t perfect, of course. Families who adopt have their own set of challenges, especially when a child was separated from a birth parent they love. And we’re not officially a forever family yet – it’ll be a couple of months before the adoptions are finalized.]
All of this came to me as we ate at McDonald’s the other day. Wow, what a change from when we ate there last January. I could never have imagined back then that, in a year, we’d be eating here again as a family. I’m lovin’ it!!