What a week it's been. Have you missed me? ;) First, if you don't know about how long we've been certified foster parents, waiting and praying to adopt, go read THIS.
So, there's big news in this house, in the form of one little lady. That's right, we have a New Girl Among these Boys, and we're smitten.
I can't tell you much about her, since we're fostering, which means that though we're madly in love with a 13 lb shining star, she's not long-term ours.
What I can tell you? Wow, there have been some CHANGES in this house, and I'm not just talking about the diapers. Well, those too. Brody's been trained for years now, but it's a lot like riding a horse, and once you've sniffed a baby butt, well, it's not so odd to go back to sniff-Yup-change.
First, I'll tell you that if you've ever been a foster parent, especially one who has prayed for adoption, you know that the minute you hold this tiny person in your arms, your life becomes entwined with theirs. There's no chance you're not going to lose your heart, not when you're up at 2 a.m. for feedings, watching them smile, helping them thrive, watching them grow and change. Little Miss has already put on 12 ounces in the week she's been here! Unless you're the Grinch, you're a goner. Heck, even the Grinch would be a goner for our little lady.
I'd like to introduce you to our Pumpkin.
I told the boys to pick out a nick-name for her. Why a nick-name? Because we always know there's a slight chance, a breath of possibility, no matter how thin or frail, that she could stay. So we do nicknames.
Because she was brought to us when it turned October, the boys chose "Pumpkin." Now, there are many variations of this. I usually refer to her as "Little Miss," when I'm talking about her. Aaron prefers "Pumpkin." Aidan prefers "Pumpkin-head." Chase prefers, "Pumpkin-girl." But Brody... Brody takes the cake. You see, he wanted "Princess," but got outvoted by his big brothers, so now he rebels, and calls her "Princess Pumpkin." If she's awake, chances are they're fighting over who gets to hold her, to talk to her, to give her a toy, or they're just watching her. Oh yeah, don't try to come near her in this house, that little Princess Pumpkin is guarded by 4 fire-breathing dragons. I'm pretty sure that youngest one bites, too.
Lord help her if she stays long enough to try to date.
So yes, there's a 13 lb, 5 month-old slice of heaven asleep upstairs in that perfect, pink, Parisian room (say that 4 times fast). We don't know how long she'll stay. After all, the goal of this program is to get parents healthy and reunite families, and we're here to take care of her and keep her safe. Oh, and buy her hairbows. That too.
There's been so much fun already, watching her smile, hearing her giggle, seeing her smear bananas all over her face and then some. The boys are head over heels, and I'm right there with them, watching our world open up around us through her eyes. I'm sure she thinks we're all insane. Well, we are, really, and nuts about her. The first thing I hear from a sleepy-eyed boy at 6 am is usually, "Can I have breakfast?" Now it's: "She's awake! Can I hold her?"
I just wish Jason could be here to meet her. I have no doubt there'd be a 5th fire-breathing dragon on guard.
She's small, and perfect, and LOUD. She's throwing our world into upheaval in the most delicious of ways, causing us to all take pause, savor, and adjust our ways to accommodate our Little Miss. It's little things for me, really, like remembering how to pack lunches one-handed as I hold her, or remembering to pack an extra outfit in the diaper bag. It was also FINDING the diaper bag... and the three matchbox cars left in there from Brody. It's remembering to cram as much in as I can during nap time, because there are books to be read to her when she's awake, and bottles to be fed, and giggles to be had. She has the most intoxicating laugh. It's also reminding myself to get my work done (which hasn't happened in a week, I'M SO SORRY!), and stop looking at Gymboree and hairbows. But hey, I've waited forever to shop for dainty, pink clothes. Besides, can she really have too many hairbows? Yeah, I think not.
Oh, and one of the first headbands she wore? A beautiful gift from one of you readers, who wanted to show a much-appreciated act of kindness with me. Sometimes I forget that you guys are out there, reading the antics of our little life, but the way you touch me is unbelievable. Don't ever doubt it.
We've been waiting so long for this, for the chance to love a tiny new girl, even if it's only short-term. Will it break my heart when she goes home? Of course. But the joy is in the living (Oh, you wise Running Woman), the smile, the experience, the memories and the love. So I choose not to think about the day I'll pack her to leave, and instead hold on to every grasp of her tiny little hand, every smile she gifts me with. When she inevitably goes home, I'll hold onto that.
That doesn't mean that I'm not scared. Oh no, this is terrifying on so many levels, because I have no control. I like control, and plans, and certainty, and here, there is none. There is chaos fear, mixed with joy and love. So I take the fear, because the inevitability of losing her is worth it for the tiniest smidgen of the chance that... well... we won't.
I truly believe that foster parents are some of the bravest people I know. I've never known fear like waiting for a call from your social worker the day of a court hearing, wondering if she's about to depart for a home unknown, knowing there's nothing about her future that's in your hands.
But there is. I can control her environment in the direct future. I can read to her, feed her, sing to her, watch her kick up a storm in the bath tub (yes, it's pink, I couldn't help it). I can love her so much and so deeply that she'll feel it, even if she can't understand the words I babble back to her. I can give her brothers, even if for a short time. I can cuddle her when she cries, arch an eyebrow when she's rocking the drama, and give her blubbery kisses on her neck. I can be her temporary Mama with no problem.
So yes, I'm frightened, and stressed, and so blissed out with this insane little ride we're taking. Never in my life have I felt as incredibly blessed as I have this week. For every one thing I think I'm showing her, she's teaching me so much more. She's teaching me balance, letting go, patience, joy, love, and patience... wait, I already said that. Yeah. She's reminding me to draw my focus inward, on where it matters, my family, and let the concerns outside this house drift away like they mean nothing, because in the scheme of things, it's what goes on between these walls (and the walls in a little room in Afghanistan,) that means the most in this life.
She's reminding me that it's love that makes this life worth while.
So welcome, Little Miss Pumpkin-head-girl-princess.
We've been waiting such a long time to meet you, and we're going to love the heck out of you every minute we can!!!