March 5, 2015 by greenhouse04
Last year when we received “Baby M.”, I began a series of posts chronicling our experiences as his foster parents. For ten months, I wrote about the ups and downs of caring for, loving, and eventually saying goodbye to the sweet little boy who was so much a part of our family.
We now have another foster baby boy, two-month-old “Toby.” I sometimes affectionately call him “Tobster,” so posts chronicling our foster journey with him will be titled “The Tobster Chronicles.”
We first heard of Toby’s existence two Friday’s ago at around 10:30 a.m. We got a call from our support worker, Joni, who said that there was a two-month-old baby boy who may need a home by the end of the day. She didn’t know much more. She didn’t even know his name.
We considered the little information she did give us, then told her that we’d love to take him.
We went to town for the afternoon, to do some errands and wait for news on the baby. We heard several times from Joni that the baby would still likely need a home, and where could his social worker bring him when the time came? Joni still didn’t know his name.
Finally, at 5:00 in the afternoon, Joni called to say that the social worker would bring him by (we were at my parents’ house) in about 45 minutes. And, she’d learned his name!
Over an hour later, a silver Dodge sedan (very government-ish) pulled in front of the house. I ran out in the cold and misting dusk and got my first glimpse of the baby. A little white, round face, big eyes, tiny nose… I bundled him in a blanket and hurriedly got him inside.
We spent the next 20 minutes talking to the worker and signing paperwork. Then, my mom and I packed Toby up in my van and drove to the ER.
We had to take him there right away because of a possible head injury that had been untreated. The ER was definitely the last place I wanted to go with my new foster son on that drizzly Friday evening!
The roads were pitch black and shiny with wetness as we drove. I began to feel very drowsy as we walked into the brightly lit waiting room, full of despondent-looking patients. Toby was wide awake, and start to protest the car seat as I signed him in. The receptionist was the typical taciturn, middle-aged woman who seemed impatient with the woes of those who walked in… until she saw Toby, that is.
As soon as the receptionist saw Toby’s tiny face and big, inquisitive eyes, she exclaimed, “Oh, what a cutie!! I can’t believe some people!!…” (referencing the parents). As she continued to complain about how “sick” some people are, I started to feel uncomfortable. I always feel uncomfortable when others, who know nothing of the situation, begin bad-mouthing and judging the parents. I just smiled at her sadly, and said “mmmm” non-committally.
Finally, I was able to join my mom in the waiting area. Soon, we were called back for triage, where a very rotund and friendly nurse weighed Toby and took his vitals. She just loved him, but was a little disgusted when she saw he was on reflux medication. “When I had babies, and they spit up, I’d just clean it up and give ’em some more.” But she was very nice, and once triage was over we were shown a room in very little time.
We waited in that sterile ER room for quite a while. We tried to turn the TV on, but it did nothing despite all our efforts. So, we watched little Toby. He took a cat-nap, then laid on the table and kicked his feet and smiled and talked. I’d hold him up, and he’d laugh and grin! Such a cutie! But mainly I looked at him and tried to figure out who he is. Here was this 2-month-old baby whom I’d never met, plopped in my arms… I just wanted to get to know him!
A very kind nurse came to test Toby’s vitals, then a very young nurse came to try to turn on the TV, and in the midst of this bustle the PA slipped in. He examined Toby carefully, and told us how he and his wife almost did foster care – they’d gone through the classes and everything, and intended to do respite for “sick” children, since they were both in the medical field. Sadly, however, they got divorced before taking any children.
Toby checked out just fine, and we finally got to go home. Bonding with a new foster baby in the ER was definitely a new experience for me!